School in session for Kings
The future is now for the Prince George Spruce Kings.
Coming off the shortest off-season in the team’s 23-year B.C. Hockey League history, the Kings officially begin training camp today with fitness testing followed by practice sessions at 1 and 2:45 p.m. at Rolling Mix Concrete Arena.
Just three months have passed since the Spruce Kings played their last game of 2018-19 when they lost 4-3 to the Brooks Bandits in the National Junior A Championship final in Brooks, Alta.
The 32 players invited to camp will be play for either Team White and Team Blue in an intrasquad game at 7 p.m. tonight.
The Kings will gather for practices Saturday at 10 and 11:15 a.m., then play intrasquad games at 6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. Sunday.
A round of cuts will follow Sunday’s game and the remaining players will be around for the first exhibition game Tuesday at 7 p.m. when they face the Merritt Centennials at RMCA.
The same two teams meet again next Friday in Merritt to wrap up the brief exhibition schedule.
After sending 15 players to college hockey teams, just eight players are left from the team that won its first Fred Page Cup BCHL championship and Doyle Cup Pacific region championship last spring.
The eight returning players are: defencemen Jason Chu and Nick Bochen, and forwards Corey Cunningham, Nolan Welsh, Craig MacDonald, Fin Williams, Nick Poisson and Chong Min Lee.
Nine on the Spruce Kings’ training camp roster already have NCAA Division 1 scholarships lined up, including Bochen (Michigan), Williams (Michigan), Poisson (Providence), and new recruits D Nolan Barrett (Merrimack), D Brendan Hill (Lake Superior State), F Thomas Richter (Union), F Andrew Seaman (Union), F Henry Wagner (Yale) and F Ryan McAllister (Western Michigan).
Kings fans will get their first look at 20-year-old goalie Jett Alexander, selected last season as the country’s top junior A netminder after backing the North York Rangers to the Ontario Junior Hockey League conference finals. The native of Bloomfield, Ont., was also a national junior A MVP finalist.
The Kings open their 24th BCHL season on Friday, Sept. 6 at home against the Surrey Eagles.