Provincials on Horizon
Well its been an exciting past week for the Grande Prairie JDA Kings but now the real test begins as the club gets prepared to face it’s biggest challenge to date.
For the first time ever in JDA Kings history (and second in Grande Prairie Junior B) the hockey club will take part in the Alberta Junior B provincial tournament taking place in Wainwright Alberta.
The players are excited, the coaches are excited, the staff is excited and the fans are excited as the team embarks on a trip taking them into the great unknown.
In their way is only the seven other best Junior B teams scattered across the province of Alberta. Teams from the Heritage, Capital Junior, Northeast and Calgary along with the Kings make up the eight team, two division tournament. The clubs are split into two divisions and the top two from each will cross over and meet in the semi finals to determine who plays for Provincial gold.
Grande Prairie will be seeded in Pool A which consists of the Northeast Alberta Junior B champions, the Cold Lake Ice, the runners up in the Capital league, the Wetaskiwin Icemen and the Red Deer Vipers who finished second in the Heritage League. Grande Prairie will be featured in the first game of the tournament against the Vipers as things get underway early Thursday afternoon at 1:00pm.
Eager would be an understatement. The Kings know full well they will need to try and put their first league championship in the rear view as they focus on taking another step towards another title. Ask anyone though, winning at any level is never easy and winning a tournament between the best is that much harder.
Last season the Northwest Junior Hockey League finally captured their first provincial title as the Whitecourt Wolverines ended a four year drought at the tournament and claimed stake finally to a provincial crown. Connor Tetlock and Adam Hodge who were late pickups for Grande Prairie are members from that championship Wolverine team and both have helped endlessly throughout the season. This weekend will be no different.
Experience goes along way, of the eight teams attending half have been here already and in some cases three years in a row.
An unknown and being a little inexperienced in a setting like this could provide some nerves but since capturing their first NWJHL title the JDA Kings are confident they can repeat the same feat Hodge and Tetlock did one year ago.
They better…in a tournament like this you have to be at your best and you have to be that way quickly as one loss can potentially have you sent packing and missing out on making the medal round.
The team is looking forward to the challenge.
Notes: Not much to be said about the tournament other then WIN! Grande Prairie will have the tough task of an early morning schedule.
The Kings open the tournament against the Red Deer Vipers at 1:00pm on Thursday.
Game 2 will be at 10:00am Friday against the Wetaskiwin Icemen.
Game 3 takes place Saturday afternoon at 12:30pm against the Cold Lake Ice.
If Grande Prairie finishes first or second in Pool A they move onto the semi-finals Saturday night.
8:00PM (rink 1) Pool A 1st vs Pool B 2nd
8:30PM (rink 2) Pool B 1st vs Pool A 2nd
The bronze medal game takes place Sunday at 10:00 am with the Gold starting at 2.
JDA County Kings vs Fort St. John Huskies
JDA County Kings vs North Peace Navigators