Prince George Spruce Kings
For any sports team, there are bound to be moments of triumph and moments of heartbreak. For the Prince George Spruce Kings, a Junior A hockey team based in Prince George, British Columbia, their history is filled with both. From historic upsets to exhilarating wins, this team has had its fair share of memorable moments throughout its long and storied past.
Founded in 1972, the Spruce Kings originally played in the British Columbia Junior Hockey League (BCJHL), but in 1996, they joined the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL). After a brief stint in the AJHL, the team returned to the BCJHL in 2011, where they continue to play to this day. Over the years, the Spruce Kings have built a strong reputation as a competitive and talented team, making their mark on the world of hockey.
Let’s take a trip down memory lane and relive some of the most historic upsets and wins in Prince George Spruce Kings history.
1966-67: The Birth of the Spruce Kings
It all began in 1966, when the Prince George Midgets team won the British Columbia Provincial Championships. This victory sparked the interest of local businessman Ed McLachlan, who saw an opportunity to bring junior hockey to the city. With his support and guidance, the Prince George Spruce Kings were born.
The team made its debut in the Cariboo Junior Hockey League in 1972, and they quickly made a name for themselves, winning six league championships in the span of just ten years. They also made three appearances in the BC Junior A Hockey Championship, coming in as the runner-up twice.
1998: The Miracle on the Prairies
After the Spruce Kings joined the AJHL in 1996, they quickly became a force to be reckoned with. In the 1997-98 season, the team was ranked fourth in the South Division and not expected to make much noise in the playoffs. But they had other plans.
In a stunning upset, the Spruce Kings defeated the first-place Calgary Canucks in the first round of the playoffs, followed by another upset against the second-place Fort McMurray Oil Barons in the second round. They went on to the championship, where they faced off against the heavily favored Camrose Kodiaks. In an epic seven-game series, the Spruce Kings pulled off what is now known as the miracle on the Prairies, winning the AJHL Championship and securing a spot in the Royal Bank Cup.
2007: A Run for the National After returning to the BCJHL in 2011, the Spruce Kings continued to build on their legacy of success. In the 2006-07 season, led by head coach and former NHL player Dave Dupas, the team had a historic run, winning the BCJHL Championship and earning a spot in the 2007 RBC Cup, the national Junior A hockey championship.
In a pool with the host team, the Prince George team fought hard and made their way to the final, where they faced off against the powerhouse Aurora Tigers. In a thrilling game, the Spruce Kings defeated the Tigers 5-3 and became the first team from British Columbia to win the RBC Cup since 1981, cementing their place in Prince George Spruce Kings history.
2019: The Year of Redemption
In recent years, the Prince George Spruce Kings have continued to make their mark, with players like Tyler Ho, Nick Poisson, and Chong Min Lee leading the charge. However, it was the 2018-19 season that truly stood out.
After a heartbreaking loss in the BCHL Championship the year before, the 2018-19 season was all about redemption for the Spruce Kings. In an exciting and hard-fought series, they faced off against the Vernon Vipers, who had won the BCHL Championship the previous year. In a dramatic Game 7, the Spruce Kings emerged victorious with a 3-1 win, claiming their second BCHL championship in franchise history.
Jumping ahead to the National Junior A Championship, the Spruce Kings once again had a successful run, making it to the final against the Brooks Bandits. In a close game, the Bandits came out on top with a 4-3 victory, but the Spruce Kings proved that they were a true force to be reckoned with on the national stage.