The Terrace River Kings will not be playing for the Coy Cup this year, but it’s not because they haven’t qualified.
For the first time in the team’s known history, the Terrace River Kings decided not to register for the Coy Cup tournament in Fort St. John from Mar. 26-30 as they try to manage time commitments, extra travel costs and volunteer support.
“We had to bail out because we don’t have any coaching staff, management staff or trainers that can go this year. And players were either at work or school,” says River Kings’ general manager Ross Smith. “No one can get the time off work.”
“Some of the kids only get a full week of holidays during the year and if they have to take a whole week off to just play three or four games of hockey up in Fort St. John, that’s not always their first choice of a holiday.”
The Kings have played for the Coy Cup in the last six years, medalled in the last four, and even hosted it in 2016.
Smith says that the management team decided against putting their name in as potential competitors as there were added costs associated with moving forward in the tournament. Now, if they win the playoffs then the second-place team will default to play for the cup instead.
Steve Cullis, player on the River Kings, says he was disappointed to find out.
“I know a lot of guys were looking forward to having the opportunity to go, but we’re still going to try and win the playoffs anyway,” says Cullis. “Once you step on the ice, you still want to beat whoever you’re playing against.”
Smith says that although he knows a few players are discouraged, especially the veterans, they’re still going to play for another playoff banner and continue to have a good time on the ice.
“The season has gone well in every game, we win some and we lose some, and we’re all very close.”
But he adds that their success is dependent on who shows up as they need more volunteers and extra staff to help with the River Kings’ games.
“We’re going to need coaches, managers, trainers, and treasurers — we need everybody, ” says Smith. “It’s too bad we couldn’t get the commitment this year to compete, but that’s how it goes.”
Although they’ve had enough people to keep playing, it’s been the same group helping out for years. Smith says that some people are getting tired and that they’re looking to have a few new people on board.
“This shows that we need help, we need volunteers.”
The Terrace River Kings will be playing against the Kitimat Ice Demons on Feb. 7-8.
The winner will then proceed to play against the Prince Rupert Rampages the following weekend.