The AJHL Champion and BCHL Champion will battle for the Doyle Cup for the first time since 2012, and it all starts tonight in Wenatchee, WA.
The Wenatchee Wild are the BCHL champions, having defeated the Prince George Spruce Kings in Game 5 of the league finals while the AJHL crown belongs to the Spruce Grove Saints, who got past the Okotoks Oilers in Game 5. Wenatchee and Spruce Grove will meet in Game 1 of the Doyle Cup on Friday, April 27 in Wenatchee.
The Saints had the second best regular season record in the AJHL, coming in at 47-10-3, then went 12-1 in the playoffs. Their only loss came in Game 4 of the league final against Okotoks. For Spruce Grove, it was their fifth AJHL championship since 2010.
Wenatchee held the BCHL’s third best record at 37-16-4-1 and then went 16-4 in the post-season. The Wild became the BCHL’s first American entry since the Bellingham Ice Hawks, who were active from 1990 to ’95. With their win over the Spruce Kings, Wenatchee became the BCHL’s first US champion since the Bellingham Blazers won it in 1978-79.
The Doyle Cup is a best-of-seven series that will change sites just once. If one of the teams wins both Games 1 and 2 in Wenatchee, the series will shift to Spruce Grove for the remainder. If the teams split Games 1 and 2, there will be a Game 3 in Wenatchee before moving to Spruce Grove. The winner will earn a spot into the RBC Cup from May 12th-20th in Chilliwack, BC.
The Doyle Cup was last contested for in 2012 before the Western Canada Cup (WCC) was formed. From 2013 to 2017, the Western Canada Cup replaced the Doyle Cup. The WCC was a five-team event that featured the winners of the four Western CJHL leagues (BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba) plus the host team with the top two teams advancing to the RBC Cup.
The Spruce Grove Saints competed in the Doyle Cup in 2010 and 2011, losing in Game 7 both years to the eventual back to back RBC Cup Champion Vernon Vipers.
SWEEP OF FIRST TWO GAMES
SPLIT FIRST TWO GAMES
* if necessary (best of seven series)
The Doyle Cup was established in 1985 upon a donation by Penticton businessman Pete Doyle. The Penticton Vees are the last team to have their name etched on the trophy as they defeated the Brooks Bandits on their way to the 2012 RBC Cup National Title. The winner of the Doyle Cup has gone on to claim the National Junior A Title 14 times.