The Williams Lake Stampeders will begin their quest for a fourth Coy Cup Senior Men’s AA Hockey Championship tonight in the lakecity.
The Central Interior Hockey League Stamps will host the CIHL playoff champions, the Terrace River Kings, the Dawson Creek Canucks and the Kelowna Sparta in the tournament, which begins tonight at 5 p.m. at the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex with the opener between the Sparta and the Canucks.
An elaborate opening ceremonies will follow at 7:30 p.m., followed by a CIHL final rematch between the Stamps and the River Kings at 8 p.m. to kick things off for the hometown team.
“Everyone’s ready to rock,” said Stampeders head coach Dave Lauzon. “We’ve got our whole lineup for opening night.”
Heading in, Lauzon said they know what to expect from the River Kings, however, the Canucks and the Sparta are unknowns as the two teams play in different leagues. The Stamps did face the Sparta in two exhibition games in Williams Lake during Rogers Hometown Hockey, however, Lauzon said their roster could have changed dramatically since then.
As for tonight’s opener against the River Kings, Lauzon said the Stamps will be seeking revenge after they were defeated in two straight games in the CIHL playoff final in February — both by one-goal deficits.
“We’ve had so many good games against them, and they’ve all been one-goal games, so I’m looking forward to a good battle in that opening night game,” he said.
The players, meanwhile, are hungry for a Coy Cup title, Lauzon said.
“I’ve done this for two years now, and this is the reason I’m doing it — to play in the Coy,” he said.
“I’m hoping we get huge crowd support. The volunteers have put in so much time and effort into this, and we’re stoked to go.”
Following tonight’s openers, the schedule is as follows:
Wednesday, March 28
• Sparta vs. River Kings (5 p.m.)
• Stampeders vs Canucks ( 8p.m.)
Thursday, March 29
• Canucks vs. River Kigns (5 p.m.)
• Stampeders vs. Sparta ( 8 p.m.)
Friday, March 30
• Semifinal game (second-place round robin vs. first-place round robin): 8 p.m.
Saturday, March 31
• Championship: First-place round robin vs. semifinal winner
The Stampeders won its first Coy Cup in 2009, followed by back-to-back victories of the storied trophy in 2013 and 2014.