Yeesssss!!! 2016 Royal Bank Cup Canadian Champions!
How rewarding has this winding Warriors playoff journey been? Here are a few twists and turns along the way…. After 58 games, this club ended up in second place in the BCHL Interior Division, with 79 points, 22 fewer than the first place Penticton Vees, and third in BCHL points behind Penticton and Chilliwack. The 2016 playoffs began on March 4th and ended 35 games later on May 22nd. The Warriors played 93 regular season and playoff games, far more than any other Jr. A club in Canada. (And that does not include exhibition games.)
By the end of this winding road, all the players were sore, bruised and banged up, with a few nursing more serious injuries, one playing the Championship game with a broken hand. I believe that I head the phrase, “Just tape my hand to my stick and get me out there.” Now that’s a true Canadian hockey player!
Personally as the Warriors chaplain, I was able to travel with the team for all 27 final days on the road. We left on April 27th for Estevan, SK and the Western Canada Cup and returned as Canadian Champions from Lloydminster, AB with the Royal Bank Cup late at night after a 13 hour drive on May 23rd. During that time, I was pleased to hold a playoff chapel in Estevan and also one in Lloydminster. All together, we had 15 Warriors chapel sessions this year – 10 during the regular season plus 5 during the playoffs.. I am so honoured and thankful to be trusted to give some guidance and spiritual direction to the players and personnel within this wonderful Warriors club. I want to take a minute here to thank Mark and Janelle Cheyne and Head Coach Rylan Ferster for setting me free to operate as the team chaplain.
Well, the parade and the initial celebrations are now over…. and I am increasingly aware of how weary I am. (and I am assuming the entire organization is, including our enduring fans…) It is time to relax for a few moments as the summer rolls into the valley, and enjoy the beautiful place that God has made for us. It’s flip-flop time…. for beaches, boats, wineries, patios, and the like.
May God richly bless you all as, like the Warriors players, you take a bit of time to relax and rest. May we all realize and appreciate the tremendous times we have experienced together and be truly thankful. We are family! And… to the players moving on to college scholarships and other places, may the Lord be your strength. I know that you will always remember that this has been a year that none of us will ever, ever forget!
In Christian Faith,