The Powell River Regals franchise has reached a significant milestone this season.
The B.C. hockey club, founded in 1955, is celebrating its 60th year on the ice.
The Nuway Crushing Whitehorse Huskies have the perfect birthday gift: hard-knock hockey.
The Huskies will host the Regals this weekend for a two-game series.
“We’ve been up there numerous times. I think we started coming up in the late ‘80s and they’ve been really good hosts, we’ve always had competitive games and it’s been great,” said Regals president and coach Tod English.
It won’t be the first time the two senior men AA teams play and surely won’t be the last. The two clubs, who will both compete this season for the Coy Cup – B.C.‘s AA men’s title – played last season with the Huskies winning 10-3 and 7-3.
The previous encounter, in AAA play in 2010, was quite a different story. The Regals swept the Huskies in a best-of-five series, eliminating them from a run for the Allan Cup – Canada’s AAA men’s championship.
One thing the teams have in common this season is wins over the Port Hardy North Island Capitals.
The Huskies beat the Caps 9-6 and 5-1 in a two-game series the weekend before last. This season the Regals have won four out of five against Port Hardy. This tells English it could be a tight series this weekend.
“We’re coming up with a fairly mixed roster. We’ve got some veterans with us, which is nice. We do allow our younger kids to play who are either just out of midget or junior,” said English.
“We beat North Island (Capitals), who were competitive with Whitehorse. So at the end of the day, we expect it to be fairly close.”
The Regals club, who won the Coy Cup in 2010 but lost in the first round last year, has often had both AAA and AA teams, but has gone one or the other in other years.
“We’ve primarily been a AA franchise for the majority of the team’s history,” said English.
The Powell River team won the Hardy Cup – Canada’s intermediate A hockey championship – in 1970.
The B.C. team has won three Allan Cup titles, in 1997, 2000 and 2006. (The Huskies won one of their own in 1993.)
Twice following their national AAA tiles the Regals went on to play as Team Canada at major international competitions. They competed for Canada at the IIHF sanctioned Polese Cup in Belarus in 2007 and the Nagano Cup in Japan in 2001.
With this weekend’s series against the Regals, the Huskies will reach the magic number of six games recognized by B.C. Hockey and will therefore qualify for the Coy Cup.
The Huskies, who currently have a season record of 3-1, split a two-game series against Alberta’s Whitecourt Wild in December. The last series in Whitehorse, against Port Hardy, saw almost 1,300 fans attend.
This weekend’s games start at 7 p.m. Friday and 6:30 p.m. Saturday at Takhini Arena. Ticket information can be found at the Huskies’ Facebook page.
Contact Tom Patrick at