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Optimism abound for Spruce Kings leading into season

It's been a series of highs and lows in recent seasons for the Prince George Spruce Kings. One year after hosting the RBC Royal Bank Cup, the Kings bowed out in the first round of the Interior Conference playoffs in March.

But a series of intriguing additions and a returning core of talented young players have the franchise primed for a quick turnaround to the top.

“We were really happy with the level of skill and competition at our camp,” head coach and general manager Ed Dempsey says. “Our returning players came back in great shape and with a good attitude.”

Dempsey is confident that the team's goaltending, led by returning netminder Kevin Genoe, will be strong. There's also a lot of depth to be found up front and on the blueline.

“There are important guys we have coming back like Sam Muchalla and Dan Correale, and we've brought in Alex Allan from the AJHL and Sean Ambrosie from Manitoba,” he says. “And Zach Davies may be the most underrated defenceman in the BCHL.”

Dempsey will be joined behind the bench this season by Bayne Koen, who left the head job with the Port Moody Black Panthers (Jr. B) to join the Spruce Kings. The staff expects a certain level of improvement to come based simply on growth and experience. Last year's young squad is a year older and wiser,

“You always find some diamonds in the rough, and this year was no different. Tyson Hall is a very good player and Geoff Morgan (the twin brother of Spruce Kings forward Joe Morgan) looks like he can help us on the back end.”

Prince George kicks off their 2008 regular season on Friday, September 5th at home to Merritt.