Morinville – After ending their inaugural season in the North Central Hockey League (NCHL) in second place, the Morinville Senior AA Kings are looking forward to hosting provincials Mar. 28 to 30. The event will feature eight Alberta Double-A teams, including four currently confirmed: The Okotoks Drillers, Dewberry Mustangs, Two Hills Longhorns, and the Morinville Kings. Remaining teams are yet to be determined by some remaining Senior AA hockey series in the province.
Kings Coach and NCHL Coach of the Year Wayne Gatza said he believed bringing provincials to town was a major accomplishment for the team and the community. “It gives us a chance to get our name out there to draw more attention to us,” Gatza said, adding it may act as a recruitment tool for the team. “Financially, it is going to be a great help because we started this year off with zero dollars and zero cents and this will help us have some money in the bank to start off our year next year.
Gatza also sees a benefit to the community because the event is expected to draw approximately 1,000 people to Morinville from outside the community, a number Gatza believes will patronize Morinville’s gas stations, restaurants and bars. “All those places will be busy so that’s going to bring economic value,” he said.
High-energy game play
Beyond the economic excitement, Gatza is confident hockey fans will also get their money’s worth.
The provincial championships are a double knockout event, but the schedule cannot be created until all the teams are determined for inclusion. “Hockey Alberta and their council is going to rank the Senior Double-A teams based on their win percentage for the year,” Gatza explained. “Right now as it currently stands we’re ranked fourth overall for the province. That’s pretty good kudos for the first year.” What Gatza knows for sure is the Kings are set to play their first game of the weekend Mar. 28 at 8 p.m.
“The hockey is going to be of high calibre,” he said. “It’s going to be exciting. It’s going to be energy. It’s going to be very good hockey.”
Admission to the event is $7 per game or $40 for a pass that covers admission to all games. A family pass is also available for $60. Children under 12 are admitted free. MorinvilleKings.com for info.