Alberni Valley Bulldogs
The sport of hockey has been an integral part of Canadian culture for decades. It is a sport that brings people together, and creates unforgettable memories on and off the ice. In the small town of Port Alberni, British Columbia, the Alberni Valley Bulldogs have been providing the community with exceptional hockey and unforgettable moments since 2002.
The Alberni Valley Bulldogs are a Junior A hockey team that plays in the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL). The BCHL is a member of the Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL), an association of 10 Junior A leagues across Canada that feed into the National Hockey League (NHL). The Bulldogs have a rich history filled with historic upsets, surprising wins, and remarkable achievements that have solidified their spot as a top team in the BCHL.
Let’s take a trip down memory lane and revisit some of the most memorable moments in Alberni Valley Bulldogs history.
The Beginning: Inception of the Bulldogs
In 2002, the city of Port Alberni welcomed the expansion of the BCHL with open arms and founded the Alberni Valley Bulldogs. The team was named after the nickname of the city: Bulldogs. The franchise was initially struggling to find its footing in the league, but they made a breakthrough in the 2009-2010 season where they clinched their first-ever playoff berth.
The Historic Upset: Bulldogs Eliminate Nanaimo Clippers
In the 2010-2011 season, the Bulldogs were the underdogs going into the playoffs against their division rivals, the Nanaimo Clippers. The Clippers had a strong team that season and were expected to easily defeat the Bulldogs. However, the Bulldogs had other plans. They fought relentlessly and pulled off a shocking upset by sweeping the Clippers in four games, securing their spot in the second round of the playoffs for the first time in franchise history.
The Bulldogs continued their winning streak in the next round by defeating the Powell River Kings, but ultimately fell short in the league finals against the Vernon Vipers. This historic upset not only put the Bulldogs on the map, but it also gave the city of Port Alberni an unforgettable moment to cherish for years to come.
From Underdogs to Champions: The 2010-2011 Season
The 2010-2011 season was a turning point for the Bulldogs, as they not only secured their first-ever playoff berth but also made it all the way to the league finals. Led by head coach Kevin Hasselberg, the team displayed character, resilience, and determination as they battled through each round of the playoffs.
Although they fell short in the final round, the Bulldogs put on a remarkable performance and earned the respect of the entire league. This season proved to be a milestone for the franchise and paved the way for many future successes.
The Golden Season: Bulldogs Win the BCHL Championship
In the 2018-2019 season, the Bulldogs rewrote history by winning their first-ever BCHL Championship. The team had a powerhouse season, finishing with a record of 39-14-0-5, which was the best in the league. They continued their dominant performance in the playoffs, defeating strong teams like the Victoria Grizzlies and the Wenatchee Wild on their way to the finals.
In the championship series, the Bulldogs faced the Prince George Spruce Kings, who had an impressive season as well. The series went to a dramatic game seven, where the Bulldogs emerged victorious with a 4-2 win, securing the championship and etching their name in the history books.
Making History Again: Bulldogs’ First-Ever Appearance at the National Junior A Championship
With their big win in the BCHL, the Bulldogs earned themselves a spot in the National Junior A Championship, also known as the RBC Cup. This was the first time in franchise history that they had qualified for the national championship, and they made the most of it by giving a strong performance in each game.
The Bulldogs made it all the way to the semi-finals, where they faced the powerhouse Brooks Bandits. Although they were ultimately eliminated in this round, their journey to the RBC Cup was a historic moment for the franchise and the city of Port Alberni.
Looking Ahead: The Future of the Bulldogs
The Alberni Valley Bulldogs have come a long way since their inception in 2002. From struggling to even qualify for the playoffs to winning their first-ever BCHL Championship, the franchise has had its share of ups and downs. However, they have proven to be a resilient and determined team, never backing down from challenges and always giving their best on the ice.
As the Bulldogs continue to make their mark in the BCHL and the Canadian Junior Hockey League, their future looks promising. With a dedicated fan base, a strong coaching staff, and talented players, the Bulldogs are sure to create many more historic moments that will be remembered for years to come.