The BCHL-champion Prince George Spruce Kings face off against the AJHL-champion Brooks Bandits in the Doyle Cup.

Is this series really needed since both teams have already earned a berth in the Canadian Junior A Championship tournament (formerly known as the RBC Cup)?

The Spruce Kings and Bandits have a guaranteed spot since Brooks is hosting nationals this year (May 11-19).

Winning a Pacific Region title is a bonus but would not carry the same weight as a provincial or national title, especially this year.

However, Spruce Kings general manager Mike Hawes is pleased the series will be in Prince George for the first time.

“Teams in both the BCHL and AJHL strive to get to the Doyle Cup every season. Some teams don’t ever get the opportunity to play in it and it certainly took us (Spruce Kings) a lot of years of trying before we were successful in getting to it,” said Hawes in an interview with MyPGnow.

“We are going to embrace it and play as hard as we always do in an attempt to win it. The last thing our organization wants is to watch another team hoist the Doyle Cup in our building. For the integrity of the game and the playoff process, the Doyle Cup is necessary despite the unique situation this year where both teams are already in the National Junior A Championship.”

The Spruce Kings and Bandits have a decision to make.

Go all out in an attempt to win the series or try to win the series while resting some of their top players for part of the action?

“Our group only knows how to play one way. We have a tremendous group of young men who are competitors. We are approaching the Doyle Cup exactly the same way we have approached every playoff series to this point. We will be playing the best lineup that we can,” said Hawes.

Is winning the Doyle Cup more important than preserving health?

“Both of these things are always a goal in every series we play in. To have playoff success you need to be good, lucky and healthy,” added Hawes.

It is safe to assume the Spruce Kings will be facing their toughest test to date.

Prince George went 39-13-1-5 in the regular season and a BCHL record 16-1 in the playoffs.

The Spruce Kings enter the series on a 13-game win streak and a 17-game home win streak.

Brooks dominated the AJHL, finishing with a record of 57-3-0 and 114 points, 24 more than their closest competition.

After getting a first-round bye, the Bandits went 12-3 in the playoffs, capped off with a four-game sweep over Spruce Grove in the league finals.

The Spruce Kings won 13 playoff games in 2018 and have exceeded that this year with their first Fred Page Cup title.

What makes them better this year than last?

“I think the experience that our guys gained from last season’s playoffs has played a huge factor in our success this playoff season. I also feel that this years team is a slightly tighter group which is an integral part of any successful playoff team at any level of the sport. I also think that the extra depth that we have through the lineup this season has played a major factor. We have four lines and six defencemen that can play in all situations,” stated Hawes.

The Spruce Kings will have anywhere from two to five home games in this series.

Their fans, in a sold-out building, will be able to give them a proper send-off before heading to Nationals.




  • The Spruce Kings have 12 players committed to NCAA Division I programs, while the Bandits have an AJHL-high 17.
  • Spruce Kings defenceman Dylan Anhorn is a Calgary native and played as an affiliate with the AJHL Olds Grizzlies in 2015-16 and 2016-17.
  • Bandits forward Taylor Makar is the younger brother of Colorado Avalanche defenceman Cale Makar.
  • Spruce Kings defenceman Layton Ahac is the highest-rated player from the latest NHL Central Scouting list in the Doyle Cup, having been slated No. 62 among North American skaters in the April 15 list.


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*Contributor Bill Littlejohn of South Lake Tahoe, California

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*Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times

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*Canadian comedy writer RJ Currie


Hartley Miller is the sports director and morning news anchor for 94.3 the GOAT.
He also is the 94.3 radio colour commentator for P.G. Cougars home games.
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