Hockey royalty: Prince George Spruce Kings celebrate winning 1st ever BCHL championship
Spruce Kings sweep Vernon Vipers to win Fred Page Cup and are now headed for nationals
Sports fans in Prince George are celebrating a long-awaited victory after the Junior "A" Spruce Kings became champions of the B.C. Hockey League for the first time in franchise history.
The Kings swept the Vernon Vipers in four games to take home the Fred Page Cup on Wednesday, capping off a dominant playoff run that saw the team win 16 of its last 17 games.
The Spruce Kings have been in Prince George for 47 seasons, and have played in the BCHL since 1996.
"It is a long, long deserved championship," said longtime fan Brandan Spyker, who said he has been cheering for the Kings all his life.
The <a href="https://twitter.com/SpruceKings?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@SpruceKings</a> have done it! 🏆<br><br>In what will go down as one of the most dominant playoff runs in BCHL history, the Prince George Spruce Kings are your 2019 Fred Page Cup champions! <a href="https://t.co/ZBce7Pp8at">pic.twitter.com/ZBce7Pp8at</a>—@GoBCHL
Speaking with CBC Daybreak North host Carolina de Ryk, Spyker said some of his earliest memories are of Spruce Kings games, and that the first two words he spoke as a child were "Spruce" and "Kings."
"I am feeling over the moon," he said.
Fellow fan Monica Peacock was similarly elated. As a billet mom and a member of the team's board of directors, she feels a deep connection to the players when she watches them on the ice.
"It has been extremely powerful to know these young men ... have become B.C. champions," she said.
"It is just overwhelming. I can't say anything, it's overwhelming."
Fans talk about what the Spruce Kings' victory means to them:
After playing two sold-out games at home, the Kings were on the road when they sealed their BCHL championship victory.
However, a large community gathering is expected at the Rolling Mix Concrete Arena on Thursday afternoon, when the Kings are scheduled to arrive home from Vernon.
Fans now have more chances to cheer for the champions, as the BCHL title has earned the team a berth in the national RBC Cup, slated to begin May 11 in Brooks, Alta.
Prior to that, the team will compete against the Brooks Bandits in the Doyle Cup, starting April 26, with at least two of those games set for Prince George.