Story and images by Erich Eichhorn (ISN)
April 6th, 2016 Victoria, BC (ISN) – The host Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League Victoria Cougars welcomed B.C.’s best 2016 Junior “B” hockey teams at a dinner gala in Victoria Wednesday night on the eve of the 2016 Cyclone Taylor Cup hockey championship.
The Cyclone Taylor Cup is up for grabs as BC’s four best teams square off for the Provincial Junior “B” Championship – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
Players, coaches, volunteers and dignataries were regailed on the evening with hockey stories from BCHL executives, keynote and guest speakers including local hockey notable and ex-team Canada Junior and NHLer Matt Pettinger. Pettinger, now a local commercial real estate agent after a career with the Vancouver Canucks, Washington Capitals and Tampa Bay Lightning, would have the ears of all junior players, listening to his words of wisdom on work ethic on the ice and how it can open doors after a hockey career has ended. Also in attendance was ex-NHLer Mel Bridgeman (1975-1989) who also played locally for both the Victoria Racquet Club, and the Victoria Cougars.
Ex-NHLer Matt Pettinger recounts for the audience his experiences with the likes of Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin, and lessons learned from his experience on and off the ice – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
The Cyclone Taylor Cup, held annually in rotation throughout the BC Hockey League, pits the best of the best from each of the four leagues within British Columbia Junior Hockey League to decide the provincial championship. The Victora Cougars, successful in their bid to bring the championship to the South Island, will play host to 100 Mile House Wranglers (KIJHL), Campbell River Storm (VIJHL), and the Mission City Outlaws (PJHL) starting Thursday evening at Archie Browning Arena. The Cougars will play one game each night at 7:30 pm over the next three days, culminating with a hopeful gold medal match Sunday afternoon at 2:00 pm.
Image by Erich Eichhorn (www.allsportmedia.ca)
With tickets sales brisk, it is expected that Archie Browning Arena will be packed most games as local hockey fans get a chance to see the cream of the BC Junior “B” crop and possible future NHL players. “Ticket sales have been very good. In addition to our supporters, many fans from 100 Mile House, Campbell River, and Mission City have also purchased tickets,” Cougars president Gary Boyer said. “Those who took advantage of the presale will save time at the arena on Thursday. We will have a priority line for them to pick up their passes and head straight in.”