Thursday, January 17, 2013

On The Eve

After a long time, a very long time, the Prince George Spruce Kings and their fans will finally have the game of hockey back in the Coliseum. The last time the Spruce Kings played was back on December 9th - 40 days ago. The Spruce Kings weren't idle during that time, playing a total of eight games in three big road trips.

After completing a weekend sweep of their opponents during their last home weekend (3-1 win over Cowichan Valley Capitals, 6-4 and 4-1 wins over Coquitlam Express) the Spruce Kings started on Vancouver Island with games against the Victoria Grizzlies and Cowichan Valley Capitals before wrapping up before Christmas with a game against the Surrey Eagles. Prince George went 2-1 on that weekend outscoring their opposition 6-0 in the final five periods of play including a 2-0 win over the Surrey Eagles.

After Christmas the players did return to Prince George for practice opportunities ahead of their longest road trip of the season. On Thursday January 3, the team left on a sixteen hour journey that included two ferries to get to Powell River. The trip proved to be too much to overcome as the Spruce Kings suffered their first lost of 2013. The following night the Spruce Kings shifted their attention to the Bulldogs of Alberni Valley and were able to tame them before losing to the Nanaimo Clippers.

After a disappointing 1-2 start in the new calendar year, the Spruce Kings found themselves up against a pair of their rivals from the Mainland Division. On the Friday night game the Spruce Kings lost in overtime but fully redeemed themselves the next night with a big 7-2 win over the Coquitlam Express. This gave Prince George a 4-3-0-1 record in their eight road games placing them solidly in the middle of the Division behind the Surrey Eagles and the Chilliwack Chiefs but nicely in front of the Langley Rivermen and Coquitlam Express.

During this time there was also the trade deadline to deal with which the Spruce Kings quietly refrained from, electing to go with the essentially the team that has gotten them to this point in the season. The lone exception happened prior to the trade deadline after Tanner Fjellstrom informed the Spruce Kings that he was leaving the team to pursue his education. This opened the door for David Stephens to join the team.

The arrival of Stephens has proven to be an insurgence of energy for the Spruce Kings especially with his two new linemates - Coltyn Hansen and Lyndon Martell. In the game against the Coquitlam Express last weekend, the three combined for four goals and four points each (Martell 2G-2A, Stephens 1G-3A and Hansen 1G-3A). The three look to be a line to contend with for any opposition and certainly something that the fans will be able to appreciate this weekend.

This weekend will feature a double header against Mainland Divisional rivals, the Chilliwack Chiefs, starting with the "Help Hunger Disappear" game on Friday night. Fans are being asked to bring non-perishable food items to the game to be donated to the St. Vincent de Paul Society. Everybody in attendance will also get a chance to win a three night stay for two in Las Vegas (fans also bringing additional food donations will be given extra chances to win). There are also other prizes including an iPad and Blu-Ray Surround Sound system. All prizes are generously donated by the four Save-On-Foods locations in Prince George and their partners.

If everything goes as it did last year when Save-On-Foods had their big corporate night, this game will be sold out! Last year fans were actually turned away once the Coliseum was filled to its capacity of 2112 spectators. Save-On-Foods has been a model corporate sponsor for the Prince George Spruce Kings taking the reins to promote this game with the big winners being the St. Vincent de Paul Society who help feed the homeless in our community.

Please bring as many food donations as you can and come early to avoid any disappointment. As a side note, the four Save-On-Foods locations will be honoured for their initiatives with the Spruce Kings last year by the national Canadian Grocers after they handed out multiple awards to the Prince George stores for their community involvement.

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