The Wenatchee Wild organization has made a solid commitment to the long-term stability of the franchise by signing General Manager Bliss Littler to a ten-year extension of his contract.
Littler arrived in Wenatchee for the 2012-13 season and when the Wild franchise relocated to Hidalgo, TX at the end of his first season, Littler was asked to remain at the helm of the new Wild franchise, the former Fresno Monsters owned by David and Lisa White.
David White is pleased with the agreement. “Lisa and I are so proud to have extended our relationship with Bliss for the next 10 years. The success we have achieved as an organization is due to the vision and dedication of Bliss and his team of professionals. His family is very close to our hearts, and we love that they are an important part of the Wild success as well.”
He added, “We couldn’t be prouder of our staff and our community, and look forward to many more years of great hockey.”
Littler states, “I have worked for many good owners over the last thirty years. It is easy to recognize that the Whites are very special and caring people that have made this an easy decision for my family and me. We couldn’t be more excited to continue the work that we have been part of for the last nine years.”
In seven-plus years on the bench in Wenatchee, Littler amassed a regular season record of 259-136-49 for a winning pct. of .639. He added to his already impressive resume with a Ron Boileau Memorial Trophy for the BCHL’s top record in 2016-17, a BCHL Fred Page Cup and a CJHL Doyle Cup in 2017-18, and a pair of Joe Tennant Memorial Trophies as BCHL Coach of the Year in each of those two seasons.
Littler’s coaching career launched in Billings, MT with the Billings Bulls of the AFHL in 1993. He would guide the club to five Borne Cup Championships over seven seasons while being named AFHL Coach of the Year in 1995. He helped form the expansion Topeka Scarecrows in the USHL, then guided the Tri-City Storm to an Anderson Cup during his five years in Kearney, NE while also earning GM of the Year in 2004. He then spent three plus seasons with the Omaha Lancers before joining the Wild. He stepped away from the bench as the winningest US junior hockey coach in history with an impressive record of 836-450-144 for a career win pct. of .635.
Running the Wild business operations has become a family affair, as Bliss’ wife Gretchen has moved from selling group tickets to the position of Director of Sales and Marketing. “Gretchen and I know how fortunate we are to work for David and Lisa White. We know how lucky we are to have a business and hockey staff that care and are so grateful to live in this beautiful community with such a caring and rabid fan base.”
Littler has turned his focus to the GM position, with 12-year Wild Coach Chris Clark being named Head Coach ahead of the eventually scrubbed 2020-21 season. “Having more time to help Gretchen and David Rayfield with the day-to-day operations of the business is something that excites me. I am excited to help with the growth of the Wild’s business as well as the hockey team.”
Bliss added, “I also am excited to be able to help Ryan McKelvie our Wenatchee Wild Development Team Director and Head Coach in any way I can to help make our Development teams stronger.”
Extending Littler’s contract wasn’t the only good news shared by David White. “Bliss and I are also very proud to announce that after years of trying, we finally will have our first girls team take the ice. We are about providing elite opportunity and developing athletes for the next level.” The girls team will be a 14U Showcase team that will operate under the umbrella of the Development Teams.
Settling into a long-term deal provides a measure of assurance and stability for years to come. For Bliss and his family, it’s the perfect fit. “We love the people that we are fortunate to come to work with every day in the Wild office, and I look forward to helping Head Coach Chris Clark and staff put together Wild teams that Wenatchee Wild fans will be proud of. We would like to thank Wenatchee Wild owners David and Lisa White for the confidence they have put in me to lead the Wild program for another ten years.”
David White closed with, “Thank you Wenatchee and surrounding areas for allowing us to continue to do what we do.”