KIJHL Notebook: Cyclone Taylor Cup


After winning the KIJHL championship five years ago, winning it a second time on Monday reminded Kimberley Dynamiters Head Coach-GM Derek Stuart of “how great it feels.”

“For me to watch the kids celebrate, and watch their reaction, that’s one of the reasons I do what I do,” said Stuart, on Wednesday morning prior to leaving for Revelstoke for the Cyclone Taylor Cup. “That was one of the happiest moments of the season for me.”

They had a great celebration, but Stuart said they were also exhausted after their series with the Princeton Posse.

“It was a seven-game war,” he said.

Not only is the feeling of winning the Teck Cup great, its impact will be noticed down the road. Stuart has seen how it helps with recruiting and having a very successful program consistently does a lot in helping in that area.

“The majority of players that are coming into this league would rather be on a winner,” he said. “They would rather be on a team that has a chance to win every year. I think it’s probably the biggest recruiting tool that you can have, the chance to win a championship year after year.”

This is Stuart’s second Cyclone Taylor Cup and the Dynamiters bench boss is bringing a different mentality. After being happy with winning the league in 2017-18, this year is about winning the CTC.

“We are going to represent the KIJHL as best we can,” he said. “We are going to try and win the Cyclone Taylor Cup for the Eddie Mountain division.”

A key aspect about the CTC that Stuart understands is that it’s different from playing for the league championship.

“We don’t have the ability to wear a team down over the course of a seven-game series. You need to focus on the one game,” he said. “It’s definitely a different mentality and our team was built for a KIJHL playoff run. I’m very confident in our abilities and our chances.”

The message he gives his players is that it goes quick, but it’s a fun time.

“We need to be ready to go as well and enjoy the moment,” he said. “It’s a pretty prestigious event and we’re going there to win. We need to make sure that is our primary focus.”

Stuart likes that his players are focused and don’t let anything get to them.

“They haven’t quit all year and their resiliency is phenomenal. A perfect summation was the fact that Princeton tied it up with 1:18 left in Game 7 and it didn’t phase them,” he said. “It didn’t bother them and they were able to focus on their next shift.”

Another key part for the Dynamiters in their play of late is their ability of late to execute the roles they have accepted.

The host Revelstoke Grizzlies used their time off to heal and reset mentally, which Head Coach-GM Ryan Parent said has been good for his group.

“We learned a lot about our group going through three rounds of playoffs. We’re excited,” he said. 

After winning bronze at the CTC in Delta last year, Parent said what they learned that they keep in mind is that it’s a mentality with the tournament.

“We went in last year and I don’t think that our group was mentally in the space we needed to be in,” he said. “We’ve had talks about that. It’s a learning experience.”

When it came to building a team this year, it was about having the right players and people.

“It’s a lot about character, and we’re believers at this level there are a lot of good hockey players that we more or less want to have,” he said.

It’s also about having players who thrive under the pressure in a short tournament. 

“Yeah, it’s unique because all year we gear up to play seven games,” he said. “We’ve used the time appropriately to prepare mentally and physically. We’re facing three very good hockey teams.”

As for the level of excitement for the CTC, Parent says Revelstoke is excited.

“It’s going to be a great event locally. A lot of the businesses, everybody in town, there is kind of a buzz about it now. I think it’s going to be a really special event.”