The Kimberley Dynamiters have already proved their worth as the best Junior B team in the Kootenays and Interior of British Columbia.
Beginning Friday night, head coach Jerry Bancks and his boys get to test their mettle against the best Junior B teams in British Columbia when they open play at the 2015 Cyclone Taylor Cup in Mission.
“You do have to take one thing at a time,” said Kimberley Dynamiters playoff MVP, goaltender Tyson Brouwer. “You can’t go to Cyclone unless you win the league. You can’t go to Keystone unless you win the Cyclone. But it’s been in the back of our mind. We definitely wanted to take care of the KI first — that hasn’t been done in a while.
“I think we’re all just really excited to experience it and for this town [of Kimberley] to experience it as well. Hopefully we can bring it back.”
For Kimberley Junior B hockey, the last team to win the Cyclone Taylor Cup was the 1980 Kimberley Knights.
The present-day Nitros have already broken a 35-year Kimberley KIJHL championship drought. If history is to repeat itself, perhaps the Nitros will break a 35-year Kimberley Cyclone Taylor Cup drought as well.
As far as Dynamiters captain Jason Richter is concerned, sticking together with his teammates for a few more games is one of the most exciting parts of heading to the Lower Mainland this weekend.
“Throughout playoffs, whenever we get down in the playoffs we just look at each other and we don’t want to leave this group,” Richter said following his team’s KIJHL championship win over the Kamloops Storm Sunday. “I have 21 best friends in there that I’m going to remember for the rest of my life. I’m going to invite them to my wedding. Their memories are going to stay with me. I’ll remember all these guys.
“Just that thought that we don’t want to leave each other…We’re going into Cyclone and you can’t lose or everyone’s going home. You’ve got to win to stay together.”
The Cyclone Taylor Cup brings together the best Junior B teams from across the province. A total of four teams compete for the B.C. provincial championship, earning entry upon winning their respective league title or committing to host the event.
Vying for the 2015 provincial championship will be the Campbell River Storm (Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League champions), North Vancouver Wolf Pack (Pacific Junior Hockey League champions), Mission City Outlaws (Pacific Junior Hockey League hosts) and Kimberley Dynamiters (Kootenay International Junior Hockey League champions).
“You’ve just got to stick to your game plan,” Brouwer said of preparing for relatively unknown opponents. “The CHL is kind of the same thing. The Western Hockey League plays against the OHL and Quebec. They don’t get to see them either.
“All you have to do is stay positive, play your game and have fun. That’s really all you can do.”
When asked what will make the Dynamiters stiff competition at the Cyclone Taylor Cup, Brouwer’s response was lightning quick, just like his glove hand.
“Character, resiliency, hard work. Pretty much everything we’ve done all year,” Brouwer said. “But I think character is the main thing.”
The Dynamiters previously hosted the 2008 Cyclone Taylor Cup, with the Grandview Steelers (PJHL) claiming the title.
The Cyclone Taylor Cup is named in honour of Fred “Cyclone” Taylor, a Vancouver native and professional hockey player who was renowned for his speed during the blossoming days of professional hockey.
Cyclone Taylor suited up for the Vancouver Millionaires from 1912 through 1921.
Here’s a quick look at the vitals for each team competing for the 2015 Cyclone Taylor Cup:
Campbell River StormRegular season record: 39-4-1-4Leading scorer: Gage Colpron – 42 G – 42 A – 84 Pts (46 GP)Leading goaltender: Riley Welyk – 15-8-1, 3.28 GAA, .876 SP.Playoffs: Defeated Victoria Cougars (4-0) in VIJHL finalPlayoff leading scorer: Dane Feeney – 10-9-19 (13 GP)Playoff leading goaltender: Riley Welyk – 9-1, 1.47 GAA, .932 SP
Kimberley DynamitersRegular season record: 32-15-2-3Leading scorer: Jason Richter – 39-31-70 (52 GP)Leading goaltender: Tyson Brouwer – 25-9-2, 2.37 GAA, .912 SP.Playoffs: Defeated Kamloops Storm (4-2) in KIJHL finalPlayoff leading scorer: Braden Saretsky – 18-11-29 (22 games)Playoff leading goaltender: Tyson Brouwer – 16-4, 1.78 GAA, .940 SP
Mission City OutlawsRegular season record: 22-20-1-2Leading scorer: Bryce Pisiak – 43-21-64 (42 GP)Leading goaltender: Bryce Phenix – 13-14-1, 3.31 GAA, .898 SP.Playoffs: Lost to North Vancouver Wolf Pack (4-2) in PJHL finalPlayoff leading scorer: Bryce Pisiak – 15-11-26 (17 games)Playoff leading goaltender: Bryce Phenix – 6-4, 3.76 GAA, .899 SP
North Vancouver Wolf PackRegular season record: 32-9-1-2Leading scorer: Mitchell Crisanti – 33-30-63 (41 GP)Leading goaltender: Trevor Withers – 16-6-1, 2.53 GAA, .915 SP.Playoffs: Defeated Mission City Outlaws (4-2) in PJHL finalPlayoff leading scorer: Mitchell Cristanti – 19-17-36 (15 games)Playoff leading goaltender: Trevor Withers – 12-3, 2.56 GAA, .913 SP
Cyclone Taylor Cup schedule:April 3 (3:30) – Campbell River Storm vs. North Vancouver Wolf PackApril 3 (8:30) – Kimberley Dynamiters vs. Mission City OutlawsApril 4 (4:00) – Campbell River Storm vs. Kimberley DynamitersApril 4 (8:00) – Mission City Outlaws vs. North Vancouver Wolf PackApril 5 (4:00) – North Vancouver Wolf Pack vs. Kimberley DynamitersApril 5 (8:30) – Mission City Outlaws vs. Campbell River StormApril 6 (12:00) – Bronze Medal GameApril 6 (4:00) – Gold Medal Game
The Townsman/Bulletin has you covered for the entire 2015 Cyclone Taylor Cup as sports editor Taylor Rocca joins the Kimberley Dynamiters in Mission. For full coverage of the Cyclone Taylor Cup, follow Taylor on Twitter (@taylorrocca) and watch dailytownsman.com/kijhl/ and dailybulletin.ca/kijhl/ for daily game stories.