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

Rossland group builds hiking trail FORR everyone

The project will allow people with mobility issues to enjoy the trails in the summer

2019 Colombo Lodge executives

The 2019 men and ladies executives were sworn in at the installation ceremonies earlier this month

Mounties warn about open liquor at Rossland Carnival

They’ll be out there watching for illegal drinking

The Trail Smoke Eaters win in a shootout over Wenatchee Wild

The Trail Smoke Eaters split its two-game series against the Wenatchee Wild on weekend

River rising in Trail

For up-to-date reservoir elevation and river flow information, visit BC Hydro’s website bchydro.com

UPDATE: B.C. legislature managers accused of excessive travel, personal expense claims

Clerk Craig James, security chief Gary Lenz call allegations ‘completely false’

China demands US drop Huawei extradition request with Canada

China detained two Canadians on Dec. 10 in an apparent attempt to pressure Canada to release Meng

9 brains, 3 hearts: Some wild facts about octopuses

Things to know about the giant Pacific octopus, which is naturally found in the waters of the U.S. West coast, the Aleutian Islands and Japan

Hollywood announces 2019 Oscar nominations

Netflix has scored its first best picture nomination, something the streaming giant has dearly sought

B.C. man fined $10,000 after leaving moose to suffer before death

Surrey man was convicted last week on three Wildlife Act charges

‘Blue Monday’ isn’t real, but depression can be

CMHA encourages people to prioritize their mental health

Anti-pipeline group wants NEB to consider impact of emissions, climate change

Stand.earth filed NEB motion asking to apply same standard to the project as it did with Energy East pipeline

B.C. man charged in 2014 snake venom death of toddler

Henry Thomas was taking care of the North Vancouver girl the day before she died

Parole granted for drunk driver who killed B.C. RCMP officer

Kenneth Jacob Fenton will be able to attend alcohol abuse treatment, nearly three years after crash that killed Const. Sarah Beckett

Most Read