The Senior Flyers have lost one of their best rivals.
Flyers GM Rob Larson confirmed on Wednesday that the Spirit River Rangers will not be playing in the North Peace Hockey League this year, predominantly due to a lack of players.
The Rangers were one of the Flyers best challenges over the past few seasons, playing a physical, edgy game that helped the Flyers elevate their game for ‘AAA’ play. Spirit River also hosted the Alberta Senior A/AA Provincial Championships last season, and took the title as ‘AA’ champs.
Larson is unsure at this point what that will mean for the already-underway NPHL season (he says another meeting early next week will determine if ice times can be rescheduled to allow more games against other teams).
The Flyers head to Alberta and Saskatchewan this weekend for ‘AAA’ exhibition games. On Saturday night (7:30 MST/6:30 PST) the Flyers will visit the Stony Plain Eagles. On Sunday afternoon, the Flyers play the Lloydminster Border Kings in Onion Lake, Saskatchewan (3:00 MST/2:00 PST).
The Flyers took on Stony Plain in a pair of exhibition games in Stony Plain last November. Both games were closely fought, with the Flyers winning the first game 6-5 in a shootout, and the Eagles winning the second game 4-2. The Eagles then visited Dawson Creek for a rematch in Dawson Creek in January. This time, the Eagles won both contests, a 4-3 shootout win, and a 4-3 regulation win.
It will be the first time in history the Flyers have faced the Border Kings.
The Flyers are expecting to have several of their outside players in the lineup this weekend, including Ryan Carter and Tyler Brough. Rob Larson says he expects Troy Hunt to start both games in goal.