The sound of skates scraping against the ice, the cheers of devoted fans, and the thrill of a last-minute goal – these are all moments that have made the game of hockey one of the most beloved and exciting sports in the world. And for the Merritt Centennials, a junior hockey team based in Merritt, British Columbia, these moments have come in the form of historic upsets and unforgettable wins.
Founded in 1961, the Merritt Centennials have a rich history filled with memorable moments and achievements. From winning league championships to producing talented players who have gone on to play in the National Hockey League (NHL), the Centennials have cemented themselves as a force to be reckoned with in the world of hockey.
In this article, we will take a trip down memory lane and revisit some of the most iconic moments in Merritt Centennials history, from historic upsets to unforgettable wins.
The Miracle of the 1999-2000 Season
It was a historic season for the Merritt Centennials as they went on a miraculous run, clinching their first ever league championship. Led by head coach and general manager Joey Bouchard, the Centennials had a standout roster that included notable players such as future NHL player Jason Jaffray.
Despite facing tough opponents in the playoffs, the Centennials emerged victorious, defying all odds and winning the Fred Page Cup as the BCHL league champions. This win not only put Merritt on the map as a top hockey town, but it also solidified the Centennials’ reputation as a powerhouse team.
The Upset of 2007-2008: Centennials Take on the Giants
In the 2007-2008 season, the Centennials faced one of their biggest challenges yet – taking on the defending Western Hockey League (WHL) champions, the Vancouver Giants, in a pre-season exhibition game.
While the Centennials were a junior hockey team, the Giants were a professional team with a roster full of future NHL players. Despite the odds being stacked against them, the Centennials fought hard and pulled off an incredible upset, winning the game 5-3.
This monumental win served as a reminder that in hockey, anything can happen, and that the underdog can come out on top.
From the Rink to the NHL: Centennials’ Alumni in the Big Leagues
Over the years, the Merritt Centennials have been a breeding ground for talented hockey players, with many of their alumni going on to play in the NHL.
One notable success story is that of Minnesota Wild forward and former Centennial, Mikael Granlund. Granlund played for the Centennials during the 2009-2010 season and was drafted 9th overall in the 2010 NHL draft. He has since established himself as a top player in the NHL, with multiple All-Star appearances and impressive scoring records to his name.
Other notable Centennials’ alumni who have gone on to play in the NHL include current New Jersey Devils defenseman Damon Severson and former Colorado Avalanche defenseman Kyle Quincey.
The Centennials’ Impact on the Community
Aside from their on-ice achievements, the Merritt Centennials have also had a great impact on their local community. The team has been actively involved in various initiatives that give back to the community, such as hosting charity events and volunteering at local schools and hospitals.
One event in particular that has become a beloved tradition in Merritt is the Centennials’ annual Pink in the Rink game. This game raises funds and awareness for breast cancer research and has become a highly anticipated event in the community, showcasing the Centennials’ dedication not only to the sport, but also to making a difference in the lives of others.
The Merritt Centennials are more than just a junior hockey team – they are a symbol of perseverance, passion, and community. From historic upsets to producing NHL players, the Centennials have solidified their place in the world of hockey and continue to make a lasting impact on their community.
As we look back on their memorable moments and achievements, one thing is for sure – the Merritt Centennials will always hold a special place in the hearts of their fans and the history of hockey.