The Coquitlam Express, a junior ice hockey team based in Coquitlam, British Columbia, has a storied history dating back to its inception in 1971. The team has had its fair share of ups and downs, but through it all, they have provided fans with countless moments of excitement and pride. From underdog victories to championship wins, the Coquitlam Express has solidified its place in the hearts of hockey fans everywhere.
Founded in 1971, the Coquitlam Express first gained recognition during the 1973-74 season when they won the Pacific Junior A Hockey League Championship. Led by head coach and general manager Bill Strachan, the team achieved a 22-4-6 record and went on to win the playoff finals in a nail-biting game against the Kelowna Buckaroos.
But perhaps the most historic upset in Coquitlam Express history came during the 1994-95 season. The team faced off against the heavily favored Richmond Sockeyes, who had previously won three consecutive league championships. Despite the odds, the Express managed to defeat the Sockeyes in a thrilling seven-game series, securing their second Pacific Junior A Hockey League Championship.
However, it wouldn’t be until 2000 that the team would experience its first taste of national success. Under the leadership of head coach and general manager Scott White, the Express won the Royal Bank Cup, considered to be Canada’s Junior A National Championship. The team entered the playoffs as the underdogs, but with determination and unwavering teamwork, they emerged victorious, defeating the Fort McMurray Oil Barons 4-3 in the finals.
The Coquitlam Express continued to make a name for themselves in the following years, consistently making it to the playoffs and even reaching the Royal Bank Cup finals in both 2008 and 2009, though they ultimately fell short of the championship title.
In 2014, the Coquitlam Express made history once again when they became the first team to win the BCHL Mainland Division Championship in back-to-back seasons. Led by head coach Barry Wolff, the team had a remarkable record of 47-9-2 and swept the Nanaimo Clippers in the finals. The Express went on to compete in the Western Canada Cup, where they secured a spot in the Royal Bank Cup but were unfortunately eliminated in the semifinals.
One of the most recent and memorable moments in Coquitlam Express history came during the 2018-19 season, when the team was captained by 20-year-old Alex Ambrosio. The Express had a strong showing in the regular season, finishing second in the Mainland Division. In the playoffs, they faced off against the Surrey Eagles, whom they had yet to defeat in the current season. However, the Express rose to the occasion and won the series 4-2, moving on to the next round.
In the BCHL semifinals, the Express met the Prince George Spruce Kings, who were heavily favored to win the series. In a remarkable display of determination and skill, the Express managed to defeat the Spruce Kings in a thrilling seven-game series, securing their spot in the league finals.
The finals saw the Coquitlam Express facing off against the team that had become their ultimate rival over the years, the Prince George Spruce Kings. In front of a packed home crowd at the Poirier Sport & Leisure Complex, the Express battled it out with the Spruce Kings in a game for the ages. In the end, it was the Coquitlam Express who emerged victorious, winning the Ron Boileau Memorial Trophy as BCHL champions for the third time in their history.
The Coquitlam Express is a team that has been through it all. They have faced numerous challenges and overcome seemingly insurmountable odds, but through it all, they have remained a force to be reckoned with. From their humble beginnings as a junior ice hockey team to their status as three-time BCHL champions, the Coquitlam Express has captured the hearts of hockey fans everywhere and continues to add to their historic legacy with every season.