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Spruce Kings in May … a wonderful treat

Hands up all of those who figured the Spruce Kings would still be playing hockey in the middle of May.

About 90 per cent of the people with their hands up are lying.

I’m not complaining, mind you, but I don’t think anybody figured the Spruce Kings would be in Brooks, Alberta for the Junior A National Championships starting this weekend. And before anybody complains, no, it isn’t the RBC Cup or anything else. There is no title sponsor this year, so it’s a generic name.

This is a Spruce Kings team which started the season well, headed into the Christmas break on a good note, then dropped five of six games in early January. That may have had some fans starting to question how well this team was going to hold together.

Well, they sure showed us. They fell short of repeating as Mainland Division champions (which still sounds weird) by one point to Chilliwack.

Then came the playoffs.

If you had told someone who had followed the team all season they would beat Coquitlam in five games, they probably would have figured that sounded about right.

After that series, if you had told that same person the Spruce Kings were going to sweep Chilliwack, they would have given you a strange look.

But they did get the sweep.

If you told that same person the Spruce Kings were now going to sweep Victoria, you would have gotten the same strange look.

But they did get the sweep.

Guess what happened in the BCHL championship series against Vernon for the Fred Page Cup?

Yes, another sweep, and a 16-1 record in winning their first BCHL playoff championship.

Their reward for that was a date with the Alberta champion Brooks Bandits for the Doyle Cup. The Spruce Kings won the first game in Brooks, then dropped two in a row.

They came back to Rolling Mix Concrete Arena and won three straight to claim the title.

They knew going into the series they would be going to the National Championship, since Brooks had already qualified as the host team. But it was still a great series the two teams played.

I’ve had close to a rinkside seat for the entire playoff run, since I’m on the team at CFIS-FM, which has been carrying weekly Spruce Kings games for the past three seasons, and all the playoff games the past two seasons.

That means I will be in the studio Sunday afternoon when the Spruce Kings start the round-robin portion of the National Championships against Oakville. Pre-game show is 12:45 p.m., the puck drops around 1.

The other three round-robin games are all 6 p.m. starts, on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, with Thursday being the rematch with Brooks.

After that, it’s the playoffs, and who knows when the team will be playing.

It’s been a great ride so far. Jump on board.

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