It was the most successful season of hockey a Lower Mainland-based team has had in years.
The Vancouver Giants lost last night to the Prince Albert Raiders in Game 7 of the Western Hockey League (WHL) Final, as an enthralling campaign came to an unfortunate end.
It was the first time the team had advanced past the first round of the playoffs (the WHL finals is the fourth round) since 2009-10, when current Montreal Canadiens forward Brendan Gallagher was leading the way.
The Raiders are now on their way to play for the Memorial Cup in Halifax (the league winners from each of the junior leagues in the Canadian Hockey League—the WHL, the Quebec Major Junior League and the Ontario Hockey League, plus the host for that year—compete in a round-robin for the Memorial Cup).
The club hasn’t played for the Memorial Cup since Vancouver hosted it (and won) in 2007 with NHLers like Milan Lucic and Evander Kane on the roster.
This year, with defenceman Bowen Byram (slated to go in the top five at this summer’s NHL draft in Vancouver) leading the way, the team got close.
But a goal with 1:35 left in overtime gave the Raiders the victory and a chance to play for the Memorial Cup.
Much of Vancouver’s core (including possibly Byram) may be back next season, so there could be something to build off for this Giants squad.
Follow @ncaddell on Twitter