The stage was set and entering the 1993 Manitoba Junior Hockey League playoffs, the Dauphin Kings were underdogs.
With a record of 24-22-1-1 in the regular season, Dauphin finished third in the North Division behind the Winkler Flyers and Portage Terriers. Dauphin would open the playoffs by downing the Flyers in a thrilling seven-game series that went the distance. Dauphin would then come out firing in their next series against the Terriers as they won that series in five games.
Portage was the top-ranked team in the league and had 15 more points than anyone with 70. The Turnbull Cup was then on the line and Dauphin wasn’t to be stopped as they brought out the brooms with a clean sweep against the St. Boniface Saints as they were MJHL champions.
Lyle Stokotelny was the team’s head coach that season and he says that win in the first round really helped the team build confidence.
“Winning that series brought our hockey club together, it was such a hard-fought series,” said Stokotelny. “Once we got past Winkler, the guys knew what it took to win and they just carried on with it past Portage and St. Boniface.”
Archie Milcharek of the Kings was named the playoffs most valuable player after their title run.
There was no Anavet Cup this season; however, there was one in 1993 and it put the MJHL champion Kings up against the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League champion Flin Flon Bombers.
The series began on April, 24, 1993 at the iconic Whitney Forum in Flin Flon where the Bombers defended their home ice with a 5-3 win to take a 1-0 series lead. The series would switch to Dauphin for games two and three with the Kings and Bombers splitting as Flin Flon took a 2-1 series lead. With a chance to take a commanding 3-1 lead on home ice, the Kings weren’t about to let that happen as they won game four at the Whitney Forum to tie the series up at two. However, that is the final game Dauphin would win that season. Flin Flon won game five on home ice and then they came to Dauphin and won the Anavet Cup with a 5-4 overtime victory.
The win advanced Flin Flon to the 1993 Centennial Cup where they would go 0-4 and they were outscored 19-6.
Stokotelny remembers the series being one of the wildest ones that he has ever been a part of.
“The crowds were absolutely crazy,” he offered. “I remember in Flin Flon when they were throwing moose legs around and even chucking eggs, we always had to be watching. When we played on home ice it was so special, the DMCC was packed to the roof and it was so electric. We came up short but it was still a tremendous year and the fans were a big reason why.”
Nearly 30 years later:
10613 days, more than 254,000 hours and 348 months has passed since the Bombers and Kings played in that epic series. Now as the round-robin portion of the 2022 Centennial Cup continues to near an end, the two storied franchises are set to once again go head-to-head.
Dauphin advanced to the Centennial Cup this year by downing the Steinbach Pistons in the MJHL final while Flin Flon qualified by making the league final against Estevan. After two games at the tournament, Dauphin is sitting in a very good spot with two clean regulation wins which gives them six points and puts them atop Pool B.
Flin Flon; meanwhile, is in a tricky spot. With five points, they’re only one behind Dauphin and Summerside; however, a big loss for them against the Western Capitals Monday night now has them on the brink of elimination.
They must beat Dauphin and then hope for Summerside to beat Ottawa or else they will be eliminated from playoff contention. A single win from Dauphin in their final two games will clinch them a spot in the quarterfinals and if they were to win Tuesday, they will advance directly to Saturday’s national semifinal.
Stokotelny says it’s amazing that Dauphin is in this spot.
“I wish them all the best,” said Stokotelny. “I’m so happy for Doug Hedley and the entire organization, this is well deserved, it has been such a great season. And to the players, leave everything on the ice and have some fun.”