Team spirit has been at the forefront of this season’s success as the River Kings captured the Central Interior Hockey League championship and it’ll be that same spirit taking the team to Fort Nelson for the Coy Cup tournament beginning March 24.
“This team from the coaches down to the newest rookie all worked together as a team. There was great camaraderie in the dressing room and on the ice. This was not a team of superstars but rather a team where everybody made the maximum effort,” said River Kings president Ray Hallock. The bench benefited from a healthy mix of veteran Kings and younger Terrace minor hockey graduates returning to town after stints elsewhere.
The team got used to winning this year, with 14 wins and 28 points in 16 games to finish first in the western division, then playoff wins over the Smithers Steelheads and Williams Lake Stampeders, and they anticipate that streak will continue to the Coy Cup.
“We do expect to win it,” said Hallock. “And so far it looks like a full squad to Fort Nelson.”
He hopes that winning the Coy Cup might help build the River Kings fanbase, noting the team still had a hard time filling the stands this year. But “our fans in Terrace have been very supportive of the team,” he said.
Those fans and others have a chance to show the same spirit that propelled the team to victory this year by taking part in a pep rally to be held March 21 at Terrace Totem Ford beginning at 10 a.m. and lasting until 2 p.m. before the team heads off to the Coy Cup.
Terrace mayor Carol Leclerc will be on hand as will Mr. Mikes which will be selling hamburgers, the proceeds of which will be going to a charity. Drinks will be provided by Terrace Totem Ford.
Fans will have a chance to have their photos taken with the players – including CIHL playoff MVP Jordan Peddle and CIHL top goalie Patrick Leal – and they’ll get copies afterward.
The Coy Cup is the pinnacle of men’s Senior AA championship hockey in B.C. and dates back to the 1920s when it was first awarded to the Enderby hockey club. The trophy takes its name Colonel Coy of the 50th Gordon Highlanders in Victoria.
The River Kings defeated two-time Coy Cup winners the Williams Lake Stampeders for the Central Interior Hockey League title. But they’ll see the Stamps again at the Coy Cup – the team qualified by defeating Powell River in a special playoff. The Fort Nelson Yeti and the Fort St. John Senior Flyers round out the four-team round robin tournament.