BY BILL PHILLIPS
It was a playoff run the likes of which hasn’t been seen in this for quite some time, if ever.
It was a run we’d like to see again … with just one more win.
The Prince George Spruce Kings came up one goal short in the final game of the National Junior A Hockey Championships, but they didn’t come up short in the hearts of Prince George residents, several hundred of whom showed their appreciation Tuesday afternoon at the Civic Centre.
With the Fred Page Cup, emblematic of their BCHL championship, and the Doyle Cup, emblematic of their their B.C./Alberta championship, on display, fans got to cheer on their favourite team one last time for the season.
Team captain Ben Poisson thanked everyone who came out to show their support.
“We want to thank the whole Spruce Kings organization,” he said. “They’ve been awesome for us. Secondly, I want to thank all the volunteers, anyone whose done anything for us. We appreciate it a lot. We want to thank the fans, they are a big part of our success. We want to thank the coaches and the trainers. They were the biggest part of everything this year. Finally want to thank all the players for making my last year of junior incredible.”
Spruce Kings board of directors member Rick Turgeon pointed out that the Spruce Kings are the first community-owned team to win the B.C. Hockey League championship, and that wasn’t the only first.
“For the first time in your team’s history, we are the B.C. Hockey League champions,” said Turgeon. “And, like everything this team did, they did it with style. The 16-win, one loss playoff record, with sweeping the last three series, was previously unheard of in the B.C. Hockey League.”
He said he always wanted the Spruce Kings are a source of pride for Prince George.
“Today, I’m very proud of this team,” he said. “We hope the 2019 playoff run will be something you remember forever and we promise to, once again, offer exciting games in the upcoming season.”
However, he said, that doesn’t happen without the support of the community.
“Everything about this Spruce Kings team is special,” he said. “The players, the coaches, general manager, the trainers, the equipment manager, the billets, our amazing volunteers, and especially you, the fans.”
Coach Adam Maglio said the hometown crowd was a great help throughout the playoffs and the regular season.
“The support, the fan base we had all through the playoffs, it energized our group,” said Maglio. “Our home record all year is indicative of the everyone of this room. The real credit goes to the players, without great, character kids, the work the put in the entire year, they’re very deserving of these accomplishments.”
He said the team will lose a number of players next year and they will be missed.
“This is amazing and it caps off a great year,” Maglio said.