KENNEWICK — A knighted piano man, a youth wrestling tournament and an Amway convention have put a wrinkle in the second-round playoff series between the Tri-City Americans and Spokane Chiefs.
Event schedules at Spokane Arena and Toyota Center have turned the series into a 2-3-2 format, with Spokane playing host to the first two days Saturday and Sunday, after Elton John takes center stage at Spokane Arena on Friday.
Games 3, 4 and 5 will be at Toyota Center on April 12, 14 and 17. The April 17 game, if necessary, would begin at 7:30 p.m. after Toyota Center is converted from a two-day youth wrestling tournament -- Games of Rome -- back to a hockey rink.
The final two games, if necessary, would be April 19 and 20 in Spokane.
"There's no other way to do it; we have no building," said Tri-City general manager Bob Tory. "It's unfortunate that both are filled in Spokane and Tri-City and we are losing key dates with no Fridays. It's the second round with two of the best draws in the league playing each other. It's one thing to be locked out one day, but not two days in a row."
The Chiefs, who had home-ice advantage against Chilliwack in the first round, were forced to start that series on the road in a 2-3-1-1 format because of the women's NCAA tournament. The series finished in five games.
"This time, we both have the same problem," said Spokane GM Tim Speltz. "We are short on dates. We have a multi-purpose facility, and we understand that and we make do. We know come playoff time this can happen. We make no excuses about when or where we play or worry about revenue. The what ifs could drive you nuts."
While Speltz is tolerant of event dates at Spokane Arena, Tory is not.
"It's bad management," Tory said. "When you have Spokane and Tri-City and we can't have a weekend date, that is unacceptable. We are the anchor tenant with a history of playoff success the last five years."
But, Tory added, "We'll make the best of it."
This will be the fifth time the teams have met in the playoffs. Tri-City beat Spokane 4-3 in 1995, while the Chiefs swept the Americans in 2000 and beat them 4-1 in 2002.
In 2008, the Chiefs won an exciting seven-game series in the Western Conference finals that saw two games go into overtime and three to double overtime, en route to winning the Memorial Cup.
"It will be a great series," Tory said. "It doesn't get better than this. The fans will be the winners."
Note: Kelowna Rockets forward Shane McColgan was named WHL player of the week after scoring three goals with two assists in two games. The WHL nominated Tri-City goalie Drew Owsley for CHL goaltender of the week after posting a 2-0-0-0 record with a .50 goals against average and a .975 save percentage in wins over Vancouver.