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Surrey Eagles win BCHL’s Fred Page Cup in Game 6 vs. Penticton Vees

‘These kids grew a sense of pride for Surrey and the community’: coach

The Cup is coming to Surrey.

Surrey Eagles have won the British Columbia Hockey League’s Fred Page Cup, after winning Game 6 vs. Penticton Vees — winner of the BCHL’s cup in 2022 and 2023 — Sunday (May 26) with a 3-1 score in Penticton. It’s the first time in 11 years the Cup is coming back to Surrey, and the first time in 10 years that it makes its return to the Lower Mainland.

Eagles denied the Interior conference team a three-peat, with league top-scorer and MVP Caden Cranston, Liam Tanner and Jagjeevan Phangura each scoring one goal per period. Top BCHL netminder Ajeet Gundarah made 35 of 36 saves for the win.

Although the Vees’ Connor MacPherson scored with less than three minutes left in the third, it wasn’t enough to defeat the South Surrey-based team on their hard-fought quest for the cup — the first Lower Mainland-based team to win the Fred Page Cup since Coquitlam Express in 2014.

READ MORE: Surrey Eagles win 6 of 9 BCHL year-end awards heading into Round 3 playoffs

Returning home Monday by bus, the Fred Page Cup secured right behind him, Eagles head coach and general manager Cam Keith reflected on the season — the team had an outstanding regular season, leading the league in points, coaching, scoring and goaltending, and earning six of the BCHL’s nine year-end trophies — and on winning the Fred Page Cup for the first time since 2013.

“Everyone feels great! It was a long playoff run — it kind of feels like a bit of a marathon of nutrition and mental strength and (everything) you have to go through to get to this point, but once you win and hold the trophy, everything is kind of forgotten,” he said.

“I think the kids just feel all that emotion of good energy right now. Everyone is riding on Cloud 9.”

Interestingly, the only team to celebrate a Fred Page Cup win on Penticton’s home ice has been the Surrey Eagles — twice — on Sunday and in 2013, both in Game 6.

Keith gave his team the credit for all their hard work.

“I’m a proud ‘dad’ — very proud of what they’ve done. When it really comes down to it, I’m just wearing a suit. These kids are the ones who’ve had to go through some really hard series,” he said, noting that some Eagles players already have commitments to play U.S. college hockey.

“Everything I’ve been preaching and everything we’ve been building as a program came to fruition.”

Keith also credited the entire Eagles organization, staff, volunteers and owners for the incredible season.

“These kids grew a sense of pride for Surrey and the community, and I think that speaks volumes to the Brar family and how they’ve made that connection with the community, with the increased fan base and interest in the team and that skill set and pride within our group,” he said.

“That carried us through the playoffs.”

In the BCHL’s Alberta championship final, Brooks Bandits defeated Sherwood Park Crusaders.

Surrey Eagles will now travel to Alberta to face the Bandits in the Rocky Mountain Challenge, a best-of-three season-ending series, from May 31 to June 2.

All Rocky Mountain Challenge games will be played at Centennial Regional Arena in Brooks.

Keith said the Eagles will be ready.

“We’ve got a short time here to rest up, then we head to Alberta.”

– with files from Tom Zillich

Tricia Weel

About the Author: Tricia Weel

I’ve worked as a journalist in community newspapers from White Rock to Parksville and Qualicum Beach, to Abbotsford and Surrey.
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