|Paul De Jersey (8) looking for the shot or the setup|
In training camp De Jersey impressed everyone who watched, but even the Spruce Kings personnel didn't know what was about to follow. Through Paul De Jersey's first 93 BCHL games, he amassed 11 goals and 23 points. The potential was always known, it just hadn't hit the surface yet. It didn't take long though; just 9 games in he ended up surpassing his overall goal total from the previous seasons. De Jersey had 13 goals through those 9 games, and was quickly letting fans and players know he had hit his stride. The fun didn't stop there as De Jersey continued to pile on the goals and points. With his line mates, Jujhar Khaira and Michael Colantone, he helped elevate the Spruce Kings both in the standings and in the public eye. The "big three' gelled immediately and instantly became one of the most feared lines in the League. Every night, when they hit the ice, you knew something special was about to happen.
De Jersey headed into the final game of the season tied for the league lead in points with Vees forward Joey Benik. It looked as though Paul may be about to lose his number 1 spot that he'd been holding for most of the season. But, the Spruce Kings forward had one more magical game left in the tank. In an adrenaline filled arena with fans and players feeding off each other, De Jersey set up team mates three times to help his team end Penticton's epic win streak. The assists were all that was needed to edge Benik out and earn himself his first ever Brett Hull trophy. Conveniently, it was the first time a Spruce Kings player had ever taken home the historical title as well. De Jersey ended the season with 41 goals and 57 assists.
As if that hardware wasn't good enough, later on in the week De Jersey was honoured by being named the top player in the Interior Conference for the 2011/2012 season. This would be only the second time that a player with the Prince George Spruce Kings would be awarded the Vern Dye Memorial Trophy, the other being Tyler Loney (2005). The fun didn't stop there as De Jersey was then voted to the BCHL First Team of All-Stars along side Penticton Vees forwards Wade Murphy and Joey Benik. Vees defenceman Mike Reilly and Vipers Brett Corkey along with Prince George native goaltender Michael Garteig were also named to the team.
As we said, De Jersey had a dream regular season with the Spruce Kings as he surpassed his career totals, won the Brett Hull trophy, collected a scholarship to Providence and helped his team get back to the playoffs for the first time after missing out two years in a row. He out did all the expectations and maybe even surprised himself. He was a force while working with Jujhar Khaira and Michael Colantone, and he'll need to continue to be going forward. His work is far from over, as the team gets ready to embark on what everyone hopes is a lengthy post season run. If De Jersey is on his game and continues his offensive dominance, the Spruce Kings will be a stern test for any foe going forward.
To read the announcement of all the Trophies awarded this season, and to see who made the all star teams, check out the BCHL website (click here).
The Spruce Kings have had many stellar players come through the Castle and many solid performances through their 40 year history. Is Paul De Jersey's 2011/2012 season the best we've ever seen? That is question best left unanswered and there is still lots of hockey left to determine that, but it is safe to say at this point, it most definitely deserves to be in the discussion.
Don't forget, the Spruce Kings will broadcasting playoff games, both home and away games on CFIS FM. Check back to this blog for all the updates prior to Friday night's Game 1! Prior to the game be sure to test your computer to make sure you can hear the broadcast and not miss a minute of the action. Tune your radio to 93.1 CFIS-FM or click on the "Listen Live" link on the radio station's website at www.cfisfm.com.