The final junior game at the Vernon Civic Arena will go down as a loss for the home team.
The Prince George Spruce Kings hung on to edge the Vernon Vipers 3-2 before a sold out crowd at the facility’s 80th anniversary celebration.
Vipers owner Duncan Wray says the game, which was a fundraiser for the North Okanagan Youth and Family Services Society, was a fabulous experience.
“I think we could have sold another thousand tickets. It’s a big feature, and obviously the arena is done, but people wanted to give it one last hurrah,” Wray told Beach Radio News.
Jagger Williamson and Niko Karamanis were the only Vipers to beat Prince George goalie Evan DeBrouwer who was the game’s first star.
Prince George forward Ben Brar got credit for the final goal scored at the Civic, 7:40 into the second period, giving the Spruce Kings a 3-2 lead.
One referee originally called it no goal, but after talking with the other officials, it was ruled a goal.
Wray says the building has had a great run — but it’s time to say goodbye.
“To remediate it, it would be terribly costly. I looked around the building this morning and you can see the flaws in the building. It’s not going to fall down, but it needs more work and money than I think it’s worth.”
BCHL Commissioner John Grisdale was among the 2,200 at the game, which he says was a spectacular show.
“We’re 55 years old as a league, which started in the Interior, so it’s great to come back to it and to pay homage. And I think the retro jersies and the referees wearing (retro) jersies, I can see it all coming together,” says Grisdale.
Several local hockey products were honoured prior to the game including Ed Johnstone, Troy Mick, Dennis Holland, Aaron Volpatti, Eric Godard, Jerred Smithson, and Brent Gilchrist who dropped the opening puck.
Locally raised artist Andrew Allen sang the national anthem.