While the Coy Cup still sits in North Peace Arena as a proud reminder of senior hockey dominance for the Fort St. John Flyers, it won’t be handed out in front of the hometown fans this season.
The Flyers found out last week they wouldn’t get to host the Senior Men's AA BC Provincial hockey championship, as BC Hockey awarded that honour to the Whitehorse Huskies.
“We are looking forward to Whitehorse hosting the Coy Cup in March,” BC Hockey Adult Male Coordinator, Trevor Bast said in a press release. “The Huskies have reignited senior hockey in the community over the past year, and we know they will put on a great event.”
For the Flyers, an organization that has been committed to BC Hockey for decades, along with detailed bid package, it was a disappointing to not have the opportunity host the championship this year.
“We’re disappointed in the fact that we put everything in our bid that needs to be in our bid,” Flyers general manager Lee Hartman said.
“We think we have been good solid citizens with BC Hockey, always have been and always will be, but for us it will be four years before we put another bid in.”
Hartman added that he is happy for the Huskies and will no doubt be ready to take the Flyers to whatever lengths to compete for their third straight Coy Cup. He does, however, feel for a few veterans who were looking forward to potentially hoisting the trophy in front on family and friends.
“I feel really bad for some of our veteran guys that were looking to maybe end their playing time with the Flyers by hosting it at home in front of their families and friends,” Hartman said.
“When we host, and we will host, we’ve got a fair amount of younger guys who will be here and be ready to be veteran guys (then).”
Hartman also hoped that by hosting the provincial championship, the team might be able to move past how the playoffs ended last season.
“Would have taken the sting out of the playoff thing from last year too,” Hartman noted. “Would have been completely gone if we had of hosted.”
The question mark for the Flyers is similar to the last several seasons, with a 24-game North Peace Hockey League schedule, including 12 road trips plus playoffs, there isn’t a lot of time to play a qualifier for the Coy Cup.
“We’re perfectly fine with Whitehorse getting it, we’re O.K. with that,” Hartman said. “For the Flyers it’s difficult to find that balance to be able to get to a play down… So BC Hockey last year gave us a bye and if that’s what their intentions are again this year, then we really don’t have any issue. We’ll go. To try and fit any kind of play down with a Powell River or a Kelowna or anybody into our season is going to be very hard.”
Hartman and team president Paul Van Nostrand are expected to meet with BC Hockey later this week to go over their bid in more detail.
The Coy Cup will be played in Whitehorse from March 21-25, 2017.
The Flyers will wrap up training camp this week, and will kick off pre-season action against the Dawson Creek Canucks on Oct. 21.