There were a lot of emotions on display Saturday night at the Complex as the Castlegar Rebels suffered a rather cruel defeat in Game 6 of the KIJHL finals.
In front of the largest crowd they had seen all year, in the final home game of the season, the Rebels were blown out 7-1 by the Osoyoos Coyotes.
Understandably, there were a few tears when it was all over, both in the crowd and on the ice. It was a frustrating way to be defeated and this is a team that isn’t accustomed to defeat. The Rebels had won 42 out of their 50 regular season games this year and had a realistic chance to go all the way in the playoffs.
But their opponents, the Osoyoos Coyotes, had won just as many regular season games. And, due to a couple of ties and some losses in overtime, finished ahead of the Rebels in total points and atop the entire league.
All year long, it seemed that the upstart Coyotes would likely end up battling either Castlegar or the Fernie Ghostriders (also with 42 wins on the season) for the league championship, depending on which team emerged from the Kootenay Conference final.
Though Fernie put up an excellent fight, the Rebels ultimately dispatched the ‘Riders in a convincing fashion. The irony now is that Castlegar can only sit and watch as the Fernie squad plays in the Cyclone Taylor Cup, simply by virtue of being the host team this year. But such is junior hockey.
Many of the members of this outstanding Rebels team won’t be back next year, as they move on to play with U.S. college teams or step up to other leagues such as the BCHL. But they will no doubt remember their 2010/11 season in Castlegar, and we will remember them.
Though the season might not have ended quite how they would have liked, the Rebels can still hold their heads high, knowing they were part of something special this year.
Congratulations to the team.
– Castlegar News