History of the Regals
history goes as far back as hockey’s beginnings in Powell
River. Just after the
Willingdon Civic Arena was completed in
1955, a three-team local league was comprised of Home Gas, Rodmays and Wilshire’s Variety Store. George Whyte and Vic Lupul, who later played
for the Regals, were members of these
teams as were the three Hildebrand brothers. A traveling team called
the Powell River Luckies was then formed. Coached by Johnny Gorman, the Luckies played in a league with Coquitlam,
Nanaimo and New
the Rodmay Hotel, under the management
of Al Mantoani, acquired the sponsorship of the team in 1957 a “name
the team” contest was held with Powell River Rodmay
Regals as the winning entry. Regal
spelled backwards being “lager,” a type of beer. This began
an association that was to last for more than a decade. Under
multiple sponsorship since 1972, the team is now known as
the Powell River Regals.
of the Luckies players joined the Regals including, Gene Strueby,
George Whyte, Dave Kineshanko,
Jim Raisbeck, Wally Anderson, Don Alsop
and Wally Hretchka. Many of these men
contributed to hockey in Powell
River through their coaching
and involvement with minor hockey and added a great deal to the
development and training of young hockey players in this community.
the direction of their first three coaches, —Jim Raisbeck,
Mike Shabaga and Bob Bergeron, —the team
was unable to get past the Nanaimo Clippers. The Clippers, who were
Hardy Cup finalists during one of those seasons, turned out to be
archrivals for the Regals for many years to come.
the 1961-62 season, guided by coach Andy
McCallum, the Regals finally advanced
up the play-off ladder into the Coy Cup finals for the first time.
They lost that series to the powerhouse Twin City Macs from the
made their second and third consecutive trips to the Coy Cup finals
in the following two seasons but came up short in both series, falling
on each occasion to the Kamloops Chiefs.
Beset by insurmountable problems and without a league to play in,
the Regals hung up their gear for the 1964-65 season.
following year the Regals again reached
the Coy Cup finals, emblematic of intermediate hockey supremacy
in British Columbia.
Playing in Quesnel against the Kangaroos,
the Regals lost a bitterly fought series
that had the Powell River
fans glued to their radios. It was the first year of operation for
CHQB 1280 AM and what a following they had. Walking down any street in
town the game could be heard as radios were turned way up. Many
people, who had been with the club for years, including Hap Parker,
say that the series was the making of the Regal Club. Down to nine
players due to injuries, the team fought for two and a half periods
of overtime before bowing out to the Kangaroos.
Regals became Coy Cup champions for the
first of four times in 1966-67 as they beat the jinx and disposed
of the Prince George Mohawks in two straight games. Their next opponents,
the Lloydminster Borderkings, were a
team that was to become very familiar to the Regals.
Although the Borderkings prevented any
further playoff action for the Green and Gold that season, they
didn’t remove the satisfaction of being provincial champions.
recaptured the Coy Cup the following season, stopping the Regals’
drive for a second-straight provincial title.
1968-69, a serious incident in a game against the Shmyr
Flyers forced Andy McCallum to retire and Bob Crawford took up the
coaching reins. Crawford led
the Regals to their second Coy Cup title but the Lloydminster Borderkings once again
put an end to further playoff hopes.
CINDERELLA SEASON OF 1969-70
Regals finished the longest and most grueling
season ever in mid-April of 1970 as Canadian Hardy Cup Champions
of Canada. The year did not start well with players
being scarce and the team seeming unable to jell. The addition of
Dave Parenteau was a great help and after Christmas things started
to happen. The Regals finished second
in the regular season standings and faced, and then defeated, Comox
in the first round of the playoffs.
Port Alberni Labatts
were the next opponents and as usual were no pushovers but the Regals
did eventually prevail. The Chemanius
Blues did not put up much of a fight as the Regals
swept the series in high scoring, one-sided affairs.
Regals and Shmyr Flyers split the
first two games of their series forcing a third and deciding game. The evenly matched teams were tied at the end
of regulation play and the Regals advanced
with two goals in the 10 minute overtime period.
The Prince George Mohawks were unable to score in the next
series as the Regals rode strong goaltending
performances to win in two straight. Kimberley
was all that stood in the way of a third Coy Cup title and after
the series victory, the Regals hosted
Lloydminster in the next round. The
third time was the charm against the Borderkings
and with the win hockey fever gripped all of Powell
Red Wings came to town full of rumours
about the Regals and their toughness. They left with the same impression
at the end of the hard-hitting series won by the home team. Unbelievably
the next step was the Canadian finals. With the luck of the draw all games were to be
played in the western most point. Val D’our,
Quebec, came to Powell
River for a best-of-five
series to determine the Hardy Cup champions of Canada.
The teams split the first four games forcing a fifth and deciding
game. “We’re number one” reverberated through the Civic Arena rafters
as the final seconds of Game 5 wound down in the 5-3 contest much
to the jubilation of the fans and relief of the players who had
gone through 26 playoff games to reach the pinnacle of Canadian
members of the team retired in the years following the Hardy Cup
championship leaving the club to undertake a rebuilding program.
Regals defeated Port Alberni in the 1970-71 league final but the following year Labatts
ended a 10-year domination of the league by the Regals.
1972-73 many of the old-time players suited up for a game to boost
the injured players fund. They included
Rudy Pantuso, Andy McCallum, Barry Lang, George Whyte, Doug Lessor, Gene Strueby, Al Small, Wally Anderson, Bob Keil,
Desi Lever, Orris
Sage, Ev Henderson and Mel Waldron. Russell
Sage joined the Regals becoming the first
son to follow in his father’s footsteps.
team moved to the new Powell River Recreation Complex for the 1975-76
season and dominated the Pacific Coast Amateur Hockey League.
Even with Len Pepper, the league’s top scorer, the team was unable
to put together a lengthy playoff run.
Regals joined the North West Hockey League
in 1976-77 and played in the North Island Intermediate Hockey league
the following season before rejoining the PCAHL for the final two
years of the decade. These years were full of promise and high expectations
but a single Coy Cup semi-final appearance was all the team had
to show for it.
ceasing operations in 1980-81, the Regals
once again played in the PCAHL in 1981-82 but struggled, winning
just two games all year. Current Regals
defenseman John Vanderkemp made his impressive debut during that season and
has been a regular winner or contender for the club’s best defenseman
award every year since. Randy Casparie
was also a rookie and would go on to become one of only four players
to score over 200 career goals in a Regal
uniform. Mike Andrews, also a member of the 200 goal club, was in
his second season with the club and along with Vanderkemp and Casparie, would form
the core of a team in the ‘80s that, with the additions of players
like Pierre Roy, Gary Pierce, Verne Kinley,
Tod English, Darren Clark and Brian Inkster, would climb up
the rankings and quickly become one of the top teams in both the
league and the province.
fortunes turned quickly in the 1982-83 season, as they became one
of the top teams in the league and earned a trip to the league finals.
The Chilliwack Royals would deny the Regals
of the league title that season and in each of the three seasons
that followed. The 1985 series was the only time the Regals pushed the Royals to a seventh and deciding game. Trailing
three games to two and playing game six at home, Brian Inkster scored
the winner on a penalty shot late in regulation to send the series
back to Chilliwack. Game seven was perhaps
the most dramatic and remembered contest involving the Regals
in the eighties. With goaltender Irv Stoddart pulled, Regals defenseman Tod Semenuk notched his fourth goal of the game and sent it to
overtime. The teams battled into two periods of overtime before
the Royals prevailed.
1986-87, the Regals finally made it back
to the Coy Cup final for the first time since the Canadian championship
season of 1969-70. Facing the Kangaroos in Quesnel,
a 7-3 third period lead in the deciding game was not enough as the
Kangaroos stormed back to win the game, the series, and their sixth
straight Coy Cup. The same two teams faced off for the title the
following season, this time in Powell
River. The home crowd
wasn’t enough and the powerful Kangaroos took the series in two
straight games. Quesnel’s seven-year hold
on the Coy Cup ended in 1988-89 but it was the Abbotsford Blues
who claimed it by defeating the Regals in Powell
River, handing the local
team its third-straight finals defeat.
BC Amateur Hockey Association adopted a four-team tournament format
for the 1989-90 season to determine the
Coy Cup champion. After downing Quesnel
during the round-robin portion of the tournament, the Regals
suffered a heartbreaking loss at the hands of the Kangaroos in overtime
of the semi-final game.
marked the first occasion in
which the Regals played for the AAA
Savage Cup provincial title. Not having a league to play in was
the main reason for the step up. The most talented team in many
years breezed through the round-robin, received a bye to the final,
and were able to rest and watch the host
Whitehorse Canadians fall to Abbotsford in the semi-final. Full
of confidence, the Regals got into early
penalty trouble in the championship game, fell behind, and were
never able to recover.
joined the Royal City Hockey league in 1991-92 and would again play
for the Coy Cup. With just 16 players on the score sheet, the green
and gold fought their way to a 4-3 semi-final victory over Sicamous and set-up a final match-up with the host Penticton Silver Bullets. Despite a heroic goaltending performance
by Tyler Findlater, two timely second
period goals by Verne Kinley and a third
period marker by Russ Simmons, Penticton
put an end to the Regals Cup quest for another year with an empty-net goal late
in the third.
23-year drought would finally end in 1992-93. The acquisition of
high-scoring defenseman Jim Smith was a big boost to the team’s
offense. After taking both the league and playoff titles in the
RCHL, the Regals hosted the Coy Cup tournament
and received the bye to the final after round-robin wins over Sicamous
and Fort St.
John, and a tie with the New Westminster
Beavers. The Beavers would make their way to the final as well and
face the Regals for the ninth time that
season. The game would end the same way as the first seven matches,
a Regal victory. Many members of the championship
team had been around for the many disappointing outcomes during
the previous years and it was a great relief to them to finally
be able to sip from the coveted Coy Cup.
team once again moved up to the AAA level in 1993-94 and dominated
the RCHL losing just two games all year and was considered the favorite
to win the four-team Savage Cup tournament held in Prince
George. As it turned out they were the first
team ousted after losses to the host club and similar outcomes against
Quesnel and the eventual champions from
Important additions that year were Scott Mastrodonato
and Trevor Forsythe who combined with Vanderkemp
and Smith to form a solid core on defence
for years to come.
RCHL became the West Coast Senior Hockey League in 1994-95 but the
new name was the only change. The Regals
once again finished atop the standings just ahead of vastly improving
New Westminster. In
April of 1995 the Regals hosted the Savage
Cup tournament and earned the bye to the final with wins over Prince
and Quesnel. The Kangaroos fought their
way to the final and the two old foes put on a thrilling show with
the Regals coming out with a 5-4 double
overtime victory on a goal by Jim Smith. The following weekend the
Regals travelled to Stony Plain, Alberta,
to play for a national championship for the first time in 25 years.
After losing the first game to the defending champions from Warroad,
defeated Truro, Nova
Scotia 6-1 before being eliminated from
further action by the host team after a 5-3 loss. Shortly after the end of the season, the club
submitted a successful bid to host the 1997 Allan Cup tournament.
defended their Savage Cup title in 1995-96 with a three games to
one series win over the Prince George Lumber Kings. The Kings earned
a split of the first two games in Powell
River making the win
even more impressive as the remainder of the series would be played
in the northern BC city. After taking Game 3, Regals
trailed by two goals after 40 minutes of game four until Mark Bogoslowski
scored twice in the third to complete his hat-trick and lead his
team to victory. Next on the agenda was Stony Plain in the BC/Alberta
finals. All games in the best-of-five series were to be held in
the town just outside of Edmonton.
The home team would only need three of them to secure the win and
move on to the Allan Cup, edging the Regals
by scores of 7-5, 5-3 and 4-2.
two years of planning and preparation, the Allan Cup tournament
took place in Powell River
from April 8 to
12, 1997. Regional champions from Stony Plain (West),
Truro, Nova Scotia
(East) and Warroad, Minnesota
(Central) joined the host Regals to battle for the Canadian Senior AAA title. Regals downed Truro
and Warroad, then skated to a 3-3 tie with
Stony Plain to finish atop the round-robin and secure a birth in
the final. Third-place finisher and three-time defending Allan Cup
champion Warroad upset second place Truro
in the semi-final and joined the Regals
in the championship game. Trailing 2-1, Regals scored two late second period goals and never looked
back. Bob Moon scored the eventual winner early in the third followed
by Rick McLaren’s insurance marker, the second of the game for the
team’s rookie of the year. Warroad answered once more but tournament
MVP Scott Mastrodonato’s goal into an empty net sealed a 7-3 victory
for the home team in front of a packed recreation complex arena.
1997-98 season once again resulted in Stony
Plain representing Alberta
and the Regals doing the same for British
Columbia. The best-of-five series was played
in Powell River
with the Regals winning games 1, 2 and
4 backed by strong goaltending from Chad Vizzutti. The team would travel right across the country to
Nova Scotia to attempt
to defend their title. Competition was stiff and the Regals
finished the round-robin in fourth and would advance no further
after losses to Truro
and London, Ontario,
and a win over Ile des Chenes,
Plain hosted the 1999 Allan Cup tournament and finished first after
edging the Regals by a goal in the final
game of the round-robin. Regals got past
Lloydminster in the semi-final and
advanced to the final where they played their fifth game in five
days. The well-rested host team took advantage of the weary Regals
with three early goals and eventually built a 5-0 lead. Rick McLaren finally got the Regals on
the board in the second with a short-handed goal, building momentum
for his team. Regals would get as close
as 5-3 and dominated the third period but time ran out and the home
team hoisted the Allan Cup.
1999-2000 season started off on a positive note as the Regals hosted a Russian Elite Division team in a pair of exhibition
games. The teams skated to a 6-6 tie in the first game, which included
a thrilling last minute goal by the home team to even things up.
The visitors managed a 5-3 win the following day but despite the
loss, fans and players were equally delighted to witness, and take
part in, the high-level hockey action.
the playoffs, Stony Plain and the Regals
met in the BC/Alberta final for the third time. Bill MacGillvrey
and Stanley Cup winner Ken Preistlay were
key additions for the green and gold’s playoff run. The Eagles were able to pick up one win in the best-of-five held
in Powell River
but series MVP Chad Vizzutti was nearly
unbeatable in games one, three and four enabling the home team to
take the series in four games. Next up was the Allan Cup tournament
in Lloydminster. Regals
skated to an impressive 10-2 win over Regina
in the first game then fell to Saint Georges,
Quebec and the host club from
in their next two outings. With Regina
losing their final two games, Regals secured
third place in the round-robin and a spot in the semi-final against
Saint Georges. Strong goaltending, an excellent game plan from coach
Kent Lewis, and timely scoring allowed the Regals
to defeat the talented team from Quebec
and move on to the final. With a sold-out crowd behind them and
confidence from a round-robin win over the Regals
under their belt, Lloydminster came out strong in the
first period. Regals all-time leading
scorer Tod English quieted the crowd with a first period goal and
Chad Vizzutti weathered the storm turning
away each shot he faced. Lloydminster
tied the game in the second but third period goals by tournament
MVP Trent Kaese and right-winger Mike Hassman
gave the Regals a two-goal cushion. An
empty net goal and a 37-save performance by Vizzutti
resulted in the Regals claiming the Allan
Cup for the second time in four seasons.
2000-2001, the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association rewarded the
Regals for their Allan Cup victory by sending the team to
at the Nagano Cup tournament in Japan.
A 3-2 win over Japan
for Canada/Regals was the highlight of
the trip for most involved. With
both Chad Vizzutti and Scott Peters hurt, Canada/Regals
went with Jamie Ram in goal in the final game and after a couple
unfortunate bounces, Poland
was able to eke out a 6-5 win to claim the Nagano Cup. What was
a trip of a lifetime seemed to take its toll on the Regals
come playoff time.
fourth BC/Alberta final between the Regals
and Stony Plain had something in common with the first three series.
The home team was again victorious. The Eagles prevented the Regals
from defending their title with a three game series sweep.
hosted the Allan Cup for the second time in April of 2002. Familiar
foes won their way to Powell
River as Stony Plain,
Saint Georges and Warroad were the regional representatives. The
six game round-robin ended with Warroad
winless and eliminated. The three remaining teams all had 2-1 records
with Stony Plain getting the bye to the final because of goal differential.
The semi-final was an emotional roller coaster ride for the players
and fans as each team took turns holding the lead only to see their
opponent fight back and tie the score. The crowd erupted in the
final minute when Jim Smith’s shot from the point found its way
into the net to send the game into overtime. Minutes later, Saint
Georges quieted the crowd with the overtime winner on a breakaway.
The Quebec champions
went on to defeat Stony Plain in the final and become the first
visiting team to celebrate a national title on Powell
2002-2003 the club decided to ice both a
AA team to play for the Coy Cup provincial title and a AAA squad
to continue the quest for another Savage and Allan Cup. The AA team’s
season ended in heartbreak. After advancing to the Coy Cup final
game in Trail, the team fell 2-1 in overtime. The AAA squad hosted
the Savage Cup best-of-five final against Dawson Creek Canucks.
The series was a sweep but the scores were far from lopsided. The
home team took the first game 6-3 followed by a 6-5 win in game
two. The third and final game went into overtime where Kent Lewis
set-up Mike Hassman for the winner, sending the Regals
on to the BC/Alberta final. The
team was full of confidence heading into Stony Plain but managed
only one goal in a three-game sweep at the hands of the Eagles.
Regals traveled to Dawson
Creek for the 2003-2004 Savage Cup tournament
and fell in marathon semi-final match against the host club in the
fourth-overtime period. The loss ended the Regals
reign as AAA champions of British Columbia,
which had begun in 1995.
rebuilt 2004-2005 squad breezed through the Savage Cup tournament
in Trail with a convincing win over the East Kootenay
Royals and two equally impressive victories over the host club.
Awaiting the Regals in the next round, not
the perennial Alberta Champion Stony Plain Eagles, but Theoren
Fleury, Gino Odjick,
and the Horse Lake Thunder. The visiting Regals
fought gallantly but were unable to win a game in the best-of-five
Powell River Regals Hockey Club hosted the Allan Cup for the third
time in April 2006. The tournament has grown to include five regional
champions along with the host club. The team started off the year
with a pair of exhibition games at home versus the Victoria Salmon
Kings of the East Coast Hockey League. The visitors won both games
by scores of 7-3 and 6-2. Despite the losses, playing a professional
team was a great experience for the Regal players as they prepared
for the high level of competition at Allan Cup 2006. The Regals
then went seven wins to four losses the rest of their schedule.
Next up was a best of five series with the Trail Smokeaters for
the provincial championship the Savage Cup. The teams split the
first two games in Trail, before the Regals captured their 12th
BC title on home ice outscoring their opponent 42-13 in the four
game series. Next up was the Allan Cup. In their first game Powell
River took on the Alberta Champion Fort Hotel Chiefs defeating them
4-2. The final round robin game was against the Quebec Champion
Shawinigan Extreme. With Shawinigan defeating the Chiefs 8-2 and
the tie breaker being a goals for and against formula, the Regals
needed to win to earn the bye to the semi-final. It was a tight
battle for 60 minutes with each team scoring just once. The format
called for a five minute sudden victory overtime period after which
if there was no scoring it would remain a tie and the Quebec champs
would earn the automatic berth into the semi-final. Wanting the
win and the extra day off the Regals pulled their goaltender with
just over a minute remaining. Keeping the play in the zone the Extreme
iced the puck giving the Regals one last chance to score with 6.4
seconds remaining. The face-off ended up in the corner and it looked
to be over. But Jamie Leach dug the puck out and threw it into the
high slot and onto the stick of Mike MacKay who’s one timer
found the back of the net for the winner with just 1.7 seconds left.
The Regals won the game 2-1 and had the bye. The day off helped
the hosts immensely. In their semi final they faced the Trail Smokeaters
for the first time since the Savage cup. The Regals handed them
another lopsided defeat, this time 7-1. The final had the green
and gold taking on the two time Allan Cup Champion Whitby Dunlops.
The result was the same as the semi final with the Regals cruising
to a 7-1 victory and their 3rd Allan Cup in nine years.
The following season Hockey Canada once again rewarded the Regals
for their Allan Cup victory by sending them to the IIHF sanctioned
Polese Cup in Gomel, Belarus. Along with Canada the tournament included
the Russian Super League’s Salavat Yulaev and the National
Teams from Latvia and Belarus. Although Canada lost all its games,
they kept every game close until running out of gas in each of the
3rd periods. Not bad considering they were playing against full
time professional players. Goaltender Chad Vizzutti shone once again
internationally earning goaltender of the tournament honors. A month
after representing their country the Regals hosted the Savage Cup.
Also vying for the title were the Trail Smokeaters and the upstart
Fort St John Flyers. The one game final had the Regals taking on
the Flyers. Without their full line up due to injuries and other commitments,
the Regals lost the game and a chance to repeat as Savage Cup champions.
The 2007-08 season had the Savage Cup hosted by the Flyers in Fort
St John. It was a best of 5 between the Regals and Flyers. Once
again due to other commitments and injuries the Regals were only
able to bring 14 skaters. But outstanding goaltending from Chad
Vizzutti and timely scoring the Regals took the first two games
and were half a period away from taking back the Savage trophy.
But with a lack of bodies and fatigue setting in the Regals couldn’t
sustain and ended up losing game three. The Flyers had swung the
momentum and took the final two games to retain the provincial crown
and their second ever Savage Cup.
The Regals began a rebuilding mode at the start of the 2008-09 campaign by returning full-time
to the AA circuit and not icing a AAA squad for the first time since 1992/93. The club operated separate AAA and AA clubs in 2002/2003.
After qualifying for the Coy Cup in Terrace, BC, Regals went undefeated during the round-robin portion of the tournament and advanced
directly to the final. A young Regals team almost pulled off an upset, but ultimately fell to the Williams Lake Stampeders 5-4 in overtime.
Although the end result left a bitter taste in the mouths of the young players, veteran Scott Mastrodonato said, “It was a good lesson,
whether it was a life lesson or a hockey lesson, you learn from your mistakes. “It was heartbreaking to lose the way we did,” he said,
“but in some small way it was a good thing because since we didn’t win, we still have something to shoot for.”
Experienced coaches and players are wary of the pitfalls when things come too easy and Mastrodonato warned “that if they had won in their
first year then everyone would have thought we’re good enough and the truth is, we’re not.”
On a sad note: one of the founding members of the Powell River Minor Hockey Association and a driving force in the creation of the Regals,
Powell River’s own Mr. Hockey, Hap Parker, passed away in September, 2008, at the age of 94.