Raiders First Title In 34 Years

Photo Credit Derek Guscott

Many think the season that just wrapped up for the Vancouver Giants was simply the fact that they got luck and came out smelling out like roses.

Such isn’t the case and dating back to last May it started with the hiring of Barclay Parneta as the Giants third General Manager and is definitely no stranger to the hockey world.

Not only did the Giants achieve success on and off the ice so did the Langley Events Centre that managed to attract record crowds to the final Championship series against Prince Albert.

I reached out to Gary Ahuja, Media Relations for the Langley Events Centre and inquired about the overall attendance since the team relocated from the Coliseum at the  PNE and he mentioned that over the 43 game played they attracted 164,490 for an average of 3,825 per night.

Skeptics questioned the move to the Valley but the one part that helped was the removal of the “toll” on the bridges in the lower mainland, cause that alone was hurting the working Families who wanted entertainment.

The “tolls” took additional money out of the pockets of the general public, but being honest that is something “big business” does not understand, nor will they!!!

It’s also interesting that various media outlets, the Langley Events Centre and numerous individual posted on social media “congratulations” to the Giants, but in any site I was on there was NOT ONE POLITICIAN, PROVINCIAL POSTED ANYTHING and if they did it was kept quiet.

Given the recent state of sports in the area there were no teams the general public could support of “jump on the bandwagon” for with the Canucks missing the playoff run as well as the Warriors missing postseason play, so up stepped the Giants.

The Giants started this past season with one set of players and finished with a different roster that managed to gel together like a heaping of Jello that your Mom used to make.

Bench boss Michael Dyck made the transition returning to the Giants following a 10-year absence and had control turning boys into menas the season.

The series saw them earn a split for games one and two in PA only to have them return and have their “door blown off” in game three trailing by a 5-0 margin a short eight minutes with the Giants running into penalty problems.

What could go wrong – went wrong with the G-men sending the fans home after an 8-2 thumping in a game where nothing went right from the opening face-off.

Game four saw a reversal only to have them fall by a 1-0 margin, but the score never really reflected the play of the game, but the end result was the play of Scott who shut the door on the Giants.

Being down in the series by a 3-1 margin wasn’t what the coaches drew up, but they have overcome adversity in the past that saw them realize the season was close to ending and the last thing they wanted was to have the Championship banner presented to PA on their home ice.

Head Coach Michael Dyck told the media “We went back to basics and wanted to make a statement of who they were.”

They managed to pull out a win forcing the series back to PA where many counted the Giants out, but game six was a role reversal as they shocked PA and doubled up on them by a 4-2 margin.

Game 7 was anything but a lackluster performance by the Giants as they fought hard managing to force the game to O/T where both teams had chance after chance.

With lady luck against the Giants it was Delta player Dante Hannoun, cousin to Nick Petan who slipped the puck past Tendeck securing a Memorial Cup birth for the Raiders in Halifax.

Say what you will, this season was about building a winning team both on and off the ice and regardless of who your loyalties are with, they achieved success in more ways than one.

Sportswave thanks Dan O’Connor and Bill Wilms for their dedication and assistance all season.