Keystone Cup, final quest for Nitehawks

The Beaver Valley Nitehawks begin the final leg of an already incredible odyssey today in Abbotsford.

The Beaver Valley Nitehawks begin the final leg of an already incredible odyssey today in Abbotsford, as they get set for their first two matches in the Western Canada Keystone Cup.

The Keystone Cup is the only piece of hardware that has eluded the Nitehawks over its 30-odd years of Junior B hockey.

“We are going there to win it, and I think the fact that no Nitehawk team has ever won it, I think these guys want to separate themselves,” said Nitehawks coach and GM Terry Jones.

The Abbotsford Pilots host the five top junior teams in Western Canada, including: from B.C.-the Nitehawks, Alberta -Blackfalds Wranglers, Saskatchewan- Saskatoon Quakers, Manitoba-Selkirk Fisherman, and Northern Ontario-the Thunder Bay Northern Hawks.

Beaver Valley opens the tournament with two games today, the first against the host Pilots at 9 a.m. and the second match at 5:15 p.m. versus the Quakers in what will be a gruelling five games in three-days round robin, culminating in the final and bronze-medal games on Sunday.

“Every year the teams vary in Junior B,” said Jones. “When we went (in 2001) a team from Saskatchewan won it, so I think it varies, but it is our backyard. I think the first day is huge and getting the first one out of the way is a big one.”

The Pilots have enjoyed a long layoff since losing to the Aldergrove Kodiaks in the semifinal of the Pacific Junior Hockey League Playoffs in five games.

The Hawks’ meanwhile are coming off victories in two intense and emotionally draining Cyclone Taylor and KIJHL championships.

Winning the Cyclone Taylor is an enormous accomplishment, and there is very little time in between this, but in some ways it can be good and some ways it can be bad,” Jones added.

“We are still coming off it, and I know I’m feeling it. It was just an incredible amount of emotion and energy played out there. But I really think once we get down there and get going, our guys they want to win, so we’re going down there to win it, but there will be a lot of challenges.”

The Nitehawks are still a little sore from the Cyclone, particularly veteran defenceman Walker Sidoni who has been battling a high-ankle sprain all season, and was forced to sit out of the Cyclone Taylor final against Aldergrove after re-injuring it against Victoria.

The Nitehawks played Abbotsford in the 2012 Cyclone, the last time they won the KIJHL title, and lost to the Pilots 4-3. It is the only team the Hawks have played, the rest are a mystery, says Jones.

“Everybody is in the same boat and that is the only thing that we can say. We might be playing six games in four days and you know it’s ridiculous and I’d like to see the format changed but I guess it is the same for everybody, and everybody plays everybody else, but there’s not a lot of room for errors.”

Go to keystonecup.ca for more on the Western Canada Junior B championship or to fasthockey.com to purchase webcast.

Just Posted

Area A Director Ali Grieve (right), Village of Fruitvale Mayor Steve Morissette (front), and Village of Montrose Mayor Mike Walsh (left) held a congratulatory ceremony for Beaver Valley students who are part of the Class of 2021 graduates of J. L. Crowe Secondary at Beaver Creek Park on Thursday. Photo: Jim Bailey
Beaver Valley Grads of 2021

Beaver Valley mayors, RDKB Area A director celebrate their 2021 graduates with gift ceremony

Adrian Moyls is the Selkirk College Class of 2021 valedictorian and graduate of the School of Health and Human Services. Photo: Submitted
Selkirk College valedictorian proves mettle in accomplishment

Adrian Moyls is a graduate of the School of Health and Human Services

A volunteer delivers food to families as part of a West Kootenay EcoSociety program. Photo: Submitted
Farms to Friends delivers 2,500th bag of food to families in need

The program services communities in the Nelson, Trail and Castlegar areas

Selkirk College has begun its search in earnest for a leader to replace president Angus Graeme who is set to retire from his position in May 2022. Photo: Submitted
Selkirk College seeks community input for president search

Current president Angus Graeme retires next year

A report shows nine West Kootenay communities are have more low-income persons than the provincial average. File photo
Study casts new light on poverty in the West Kootenay

Nine communities in region have more low-income residents than provincial average

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Patrick O’Brien, a 75-year-old fisherman, went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search for lost fisherman near Victoria suspended, U.S. Coast Guard says

The 75-year-old man was reported missing Thursday evening

Most Read