After finishing second in the Interior Conference last season, the Prince George Spruce Kings will be in for a battle this season.
With 12 players moving on from last season’s team the Spruce Kings will have their work cut out for them.
The Spruce Kings strength will be with their goaltending.
Brad Thiessen, 19, will see plenty of action in the crease with the departure of starter Mike-Lee Teslak. Thiessen will be joined by 17-year-old rookie Patrick Sullivan from Chase.
The Spruce Kings defence took a hit with three players graduating from the junior ranks in Derek May, Jeff Herman and Brett Butterwick.
“It’s definitely one of the positions where we’ve got major concerns. We have Ryan deVries and Brody Mott back from last year. I’m kind of excited about some of the guys we’ve scouted and brought in. They are all good players in their own right and it’s time to see if they can become big contributors to our team,” said Dempsey. Look for Clay Goodall from Maple Ridge and PG minor hockey product Tanner Shaw (who was a Spruce Kings affiliate last season), and Ryan Hill to add depth to the Spruce Kings blue line.
Up front the Spruce Kings will have a lot of holes to fill with their top line of Tyler Loney, Leath Gare and Chris Stevens all moving on.
“We definitely have a lot of positions to fill. But it’s a chance for us to start fresh. We’re looking to take a more prominant role in the scheme of things. It’s going to be a exciting year for the Spruce Kings,” said Dempsey. “Anytime you have to replace your top line it’s tough. We’ve worked hard in the off season we’ve signed Erick Ruud [from the North Delta Flyers] and John Dewer [from Summerland Sting]. Then we’ve got in a couple of other guys from junior B and midget who will be able to chip in. They will give us more depth.”
The Spruce Kings will be looking for more from the returning players including Curt Morrison, Vinny Muchalla, Steven Little, Matt Shuya and Darcy Prince up front.
The Kings also welcome back Luke Hewitt, 20. After playing the last three seasons in the WHL for the Tri-City Americans Hewitt returns to the Spruce Kings.