Morinville Kings take provincial banner

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by Stephen Dafoe

The Morinville Senior AA Kings were crowned Hockey Alberta Provincial Senior A Champions Sunday afternoon after a 4-3 victory over the Devon Barons, the culmination of a strong inaugural season for the hockey club.

After a tough defeat at the hands of the Okotoks Drillers, a Triple-A club, Friday night, the Kings came back with a solid 8-4 victory over the Two Hills Longhorns Saturday afternoon to earn a spot in the Senior A pool gold-medal game Sunday. That contest put the Kings on the opposite side of the ice to the Devon Barons, a fellow NCHL club that finished in first spot during the regular season and went on to take the league championship for the second consecutive year.

Kings Captain Braden Arcand was well pleased with the outcome. “Beating our arch rivals in the finals is crazy,” Arcand said moments after hoisting the Marsh Cup above his head. “We’ve come a long way. We’ve come from a thrown-together group of guys to a team ending up second in the league. [We had] disappointing playoffs but we worked hard after playoffs to come here.”

Morinville Kings President Wayne Gatza had difficulty holding back tears of joy after the game, seeing a dream he had for the community become reality – a Senior AA club for Morinville and a banner to hoist to the rafters of the community’s arena. “I’m stoked. It’s a great way to finish our year with the provincial championships,” he said, adding although the team got off to a 2-0 deficit to end the first period Sunday, everyone worked hard to right the ship and push forward to a win. “Once we got it going there was no shutting it down. The boys all worked hard. That was the difference in our game last night [Saturday] – all four lines – and again tonight all four lines [contributed]. Everybody contributed from top to bottom. It’s what it’s all about. Being a team.”

With a provincial championship under their skates, Gatza is already looking to next season. “We’ll win the league next year and repeat as champions,” he said. “That’s the goal. Come back and win her all over again.”

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