Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Thoughts from the BCHL AGM

This past weekend saw the various governors and team representatives meet up in Richmond for the BCHL Annual General Meeting. For Mike Hawes this was his first time at the meetings as the Spruce Kings General Manager, although he has attended in previous years as the assistant general manager and as a team representative.

The AGM is the unofficial wrap-up of the previous season and kickoff for the new season with the league and the teams looking back at their accomplishments, successes and identifying areas of improvement. This particular off-season has already had its fair share of newsworthy stories with the relocation of the Quesnel franchise and the introduction of significant rule changes.

I had an opportunity to sit down with General Manager Mike Hawes and get his thoughts on the coming season following his return to Prince George from the BCHL AGM. I started the interview by asking him how the meetings went for the newest GM in the BCHL.

download audio file

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Fan Favourite Player

With the Spruce Kings entering their 40th season, it is the time to start thinking back over the years at the history of the team. The banners that hang in the rafters all bring back fond memories of the times, teams and players that worked so hard to achieve success.

The British Columbia Hockey League is also celebrating a milestone this year as they enter their 50th season. The Spruce Kings first season in the BCHL was 1996-97 after purchasing the Royal City Outlaws franchise and taking up residency in the Junior A League.

Looking back over those 15 seasons I can't help but see a long list of player's names flash through the memory bank. Whether you were there for day one or your first day with the Spruce Kings was a little more recent, there's no denying that you have a favourite player or more.

Any short form list will inevitably miss an influential player but to include all 450 players that have suited up for the Spruce Kings in the BCHL would just leave far too many favourites to chose from. Currently on the Spruce Kings Facebook page I'm asking fans to identify at least one of their favourites with the option of adding a missing name to the list.

Looking through the years I find myself pulling out names and wondering if this is the one, or maybe that one ... I encourage you to look through the alumni list on the Spruce Kings website yourself and see if you can keep your list to under forty names.

The Spruce Kings have a great history in the city of Prince George and in this 40th anniversary of the team I hope you will get to relive the joy of the games played but more importantly to enjoy the games still to be played.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Names on the Player's List

With the BCHL AGM going on this weekend it is safe to say that it is now officially time to start thinking in terms of the 2011-12 season. The fortieth season of the Prince George Spruce Kings is sure to be an interesting one with a new coach and a new general manager icing a new edition of the team.

Some new rules introduced as the previous season was winding down will impact on the Spruce Kings specifically with numbers. With a list of players eligible to return and another short list of players that have provided their commitments to the team, I thought I would put them together and give you a look at the list as it exists today.

Player Name No. Pos. Sh. Ht. Wt. Born Hometown
LARGE, Cameron 35 Goal Right 6' 01" 190 lbs November 15, 1992 Nanaimo, BC
THOMPSON, Kirk 1 Goal Left 5' 11" 165 lbs March 1, 1992 Surrey, BC
BARDOCK, Cody Defence Right 6' 04" 210 lbs July 26, 1993 Lethbridge, AB
BRYAN, Josh Defence Left 6' 02" 195 lbs March 31, 1993 Sidney, BC
CROSSAN, Jared Defence Left 5' 11" 185 lbs April 20, 1993 Prince George, BC
DAVIES, Isaac 24 Defence Left 6' 04" 190 lbs February 14, 1993 Smithers, BC
ESAU, Trevor 6 Defence Left 6' 04" 210 lbs May 23, 1992 Abbotsford, BC
GOLIGHTLY, Chase 3 Defence Right 5' 10" 180 lbs June 6, 1992 Temecula, CA
HAMBROOK, Bennett 22 Defence Right 6' 00" 185 lbs March 18, 1992 Kimberley, BC
PACHECO, Skylar Defence Left 5' 09" 160 lbs August 1, 1994 Kitimat, BC
WATERFIELD, Sam 7 Defence Right 6' 03" 205 lbs August 27, 1991 Victoria, BC
WOODLEY, Ben 10 Defence Right 6' 07" 230 lbs December 6, 1991 London, ON
BEAIRSTO, Dustin 25 Forward Right 6' 00" 180 lbs May 31, 1992 Spruce Grove, AB
FITZGERALD, Trevor Forward Right 6' 00" 180 lbs December 28, 1992 Vernon, BC
KHAIRA, Jujhar 16 Forward Left 6' 01" 180 lbs August 13, 1994 Surrey, BC
KLONARAKIS, Michael Forward Left 5' 09" 160 lbs March 6, 1995 Kitimat, BC
LANDREY, Sean Forward Left 6' 03" 210 lbs January 8, 1993 Prince George, BC
MANLOW, Kyle 11 Forward Left 5' 10" 165 lbs June 28, 1991 Murrieta, CA
McHAFFIE, Scott Forward Left 5' 09" 175 lbs March 8, 1994 Victoria, BC
McHAFFIE, Spencer Forward Left 5' 09" 175 lbs March 8, 1994 Chilliwack, BC
MURDOCH, Trent 15 Forward Left 5' 11" 160 lbs July 31, 1991 Nanaimo, BC
RYAN, Stephen 8 Forward Left 6' 00" 180 lbs September 9, 1994 Langley, BC
SKIRVING, Todd 21 Forward Left 6' 02" 170 lbs April 30, 1992 Thunder Bay, ON
TAPPE, Dylan Forward Right 5' 10" 175 lbs October 8, 1992 Spokane, WA
TIECHKO, Connor 14 Forward Left 6' 00" 175 lbs April 22, 1992 Chilliwack, BC
WATSON, Brandon 26 Forward Right 6' 00" 180 lbs February 24, 1992 Keremeos, BC

Taking the recent rule changes into consideration there are still tweaks coming to this list. The rule that will have the biggest impact on this list is the rule that now limits the roster to 21 players. Currently there are 26 players on this list, which means that at least five names will have to come off it.

Another rule that impacts the roster is the rule that states every team must have a minimum of one 16 year old and a minimum of one 17 year old. Along with that rule is the limitation of a maximum of two 16 year olds. The list above shows one 16 year old player with Michael Klonarakis filling the spot. From Kitimat, Klonarakis finds himself playing a little closer to home after skating last season with the Pursuit of Excellence Hockey Academy in Kelowna.

With a minimum but no maximum on the number of 17 year olds, the Spruce Kings roster currently shows five players in this age bracket. Jujhar Khaira and Stephen Ryan are on the list as returning players while the twins, Scott and Spencer McHaffie, along with Skylar Pacheco are players that have committed to the team since the April Spring Camp.

Khaira had a great rookie season that saw the then 16 year old secure a scholarship to Michigan Tech that is expected to start in the Fall of 2012. Ryan and Khaira were friends on and off the ice and pushed each other to be as good as they could be.

The McHaffie twins were the first out of town players to commit to the Spruce Kings at the Spring Camp and showed they have the type of chemistry that is seen with Henrik and Daniel Sedin. Pacheco is the only defenceman in the list of 17 year old players and is another product to come out of Kitimat.

There are no rules regarding 18 or 19 year old players, so it stands to reason that the majority of players fall in to this age bracket. A total of sixteen players including two goaltenders, seven defenceman and another seven forwards are on the Spruce Kings current list of players.

Kirk Thompson and Cameron Large not only split duties between the pipes last season, they also billeted together. Both netminders enter the 2011-12 season as 19 year olds. Eighteen year old Isaac Davies along with three nineteen year olds in Trevor Esau, Chase Golightly and Bennett Hambrook are all on the list as players eligible to return from last season. Up front is a set of four nineteen year old returning veterans - Dustin Beairsto, Todd Skirving, Connor Tiechko and Brandon Watson.

New additions to the Spruce Kings list that are either 18 or 19 years old include 18 year old defenceman Josh Bryan who was acquired from the Victoria Grizzlies. Jared Crossan and Cody Bardock are also a pair of 18 year old defenceman that committed to the team at or just before the Spring Camp.

Nineteen year olds, Trevor Fitzgerald and Dylan Tappe are two forwards that were acquired as future considerations in trade deadline deals made with the Vernon Vipers and Trail Smoke Eaters respectfully. Sean Landrey rounds out this age bracket up front as an eighteen year old that played games last season as an affiliate player (AP) with the Spruce Kings.

The last age category is that of the overagers or those that celebrate their 20th birthday somewhere in the 2011 calendar year. Teams are limited to a total of six 20 year old players. The Spruce Kings current list shows four of them being and all of them being returning players. Sam Waterfield and Ben Woodley on the back end, Kyle Manlow and Trent Murdoch up front.

As already mentioned this list is going to be tweaked and it wouldn't surprise me to see additional names added to the list before the team's main camp starts up in late August. The camp will be highly competitive with players battling to retain their spot and many more looking to take over a roster spot for the team's 40th season.