Tonight marks the start of the 41st season for the Spruce Kings in Prince George and the 17th season in the British Columbia Hockey League. The season itself has already started with a pair of wins in the two games played at the BCHL Showcase in Chilliwack.
In their first game, played against the Merritt Centennials, the Spruce Kings got goals from Coltyn Hansen, Cam Lawson, Lyndon Martell and Tyson Witala while getting timely stops from Kirk Thompson to post a 4-1 win. The second game was a little more tense but showed off the Spruce Kings will to win as they erased a 3-0 deficit and a 5-3 deficit to force overtime before Martell scored his second of the season in the extra frame.
Tonight playing on their home ice, the Spruce Kings will be looking to go 3-0 to start the season against a familiar rival in the Trail Smoke Eaters. The Smokies have had a tough start to their season and have already made some player moves to try and bolster their offense.
The Spruce Kings have had to bring a player in for tonight's game too but due to a different reason. Injuries have thinned out the Spruce Kings roster sidelining a total of four players including two local players in Tanner Fjellstrom and Sean Landrey. Also out of the lineup tonight will be Latrell Charleson and David London both blueliners.
The absence of Charleson and London will have the biggest effect on the Spruce Kings remaining defencemen as only five will suit up for the game tonight. Trevor Esau, Brad Ryan, Skylar Pacheco, Mitch Eden and Karan Toor will have to be on their game tasked with the assignment of making it difficult on the Smokies offense to allow Liam McLeod to do his job as he makes his BCHL debut in goal tonight.
Up front the Spruce Kings were able to bring in Justin Rai from the Richmond Sockeyes to keep all four lines topped up. Rai is expected to play with the young dynamos from Washington state in Jeremiah Luedtke and Chad Staley.
With eleven points to their credit in two games, the top line of Lyndon Martell, Cam Lawson and Coltyn Hansen will stay together with Liam Board, Tyson Witala and Alec Butcher making up the second line leaving Ryan Keis, Bryant Christian and Jake LeBrun to round out the forwards for the game tonight.
The evening will get underway with a tailgate party dubbed a Shaker and put on by the four Save On Foods stores in Prince George. There will be a hot dog bar-b-que with chips and drinks available for $3.00 with 100% of the proceeds going to the Big Brothers Big Sisters in Prince George.
As well as the bar-b-que, fans are being encouraged to purchase a box of Western Family Mac & Cheese to use as noisemakers at the game. Following the game the boxes will be collected for the Salvation Army to be distributed here in Prince George. It doesn't stop there either with a $10,000 Shoot-Out happening in the first intermission.
The Save On Foods group in Prince George will be awarding two eligible fans a chance to shoot for $10,000 in Save On Foods Gift Cards with each shooter guaranteed a prize. There are a few rules to be eligible to be a shooter with the biggest being in attendance early as the names will be drawn before the five minute mark of the first period. Eligible shooters can't be registered or recent hockey players also one other thing to note is that you have to take the shot without any aids.
In the second intermission there will be a $200 prize of Save On Foods Gift Cards for the first night of the Frisbee Fling and somebody will also win a pair of tickets to go see the Stone Temple Pilots in concert Saturday night in Prince George. All that and the game as well!
It is sure to be an exciting and entertaining game with the Spruce Kings debuting their 41st edition of the team and the young men that have come from near and far to wear the Crown and play hockey in the great city of Prince George.