As the Chilliwack Chiefs play their last home game of the 2013-14 season Saturday night, five players are playing their final junior A games.
It happens every year.
Graduating 20 year olds have one last hurrah before the home fans.
They take extra time getting off the ice after the final whistle and tears flow in the dressing room.
Then they turn the page and move on to the next chapter of their lives.
Here are the five who, barring injury in Friday night’s road game in Coquitlam, will suit up for the Chiefs at Prospera Centre.
The longest serving veteran is Mathieu Tibbet, who’s logged 132 regular season games in a Chilliwack uniform.
The Delaware native struggled through his first two years as a bundle of untapped potential.
But he put it together this year to lead the team in goals (27) and points (49).
He reeled in an NCAA scholarship recently, committing to the division one Merrimack Warriors, a team playing in the Hockey East Conference.
Big blueliner Kiefer McNaughton is the next most-tenured Chief, with 92 regular season games.
Though he’s got six goals and 35 points in 55 games this year, the North Vancouver won’t be remembered for his offence.
He’ll be remembered for his physical defence-first play and willingness to stick up for his teammates.
Same story for Tanner Cochrane, who joined the Chiefs from Powell River early last season.
The Kamloops native posted 12 goals and 39 points in 67 games, along with 146 penalty minutes. After hurting his ankle, badly, in last year’s playoffs, there was doubt he’d be back this year.
Not only did he make it back, he took the captain’s C after Austin Plevy was traded.
His final season was played alongside brother Carter Cochrane, a prized rookie on the Chiefs D.
Andrew Silard, a Connecticut native and friend of former Chief Luke Esposito, joined the Chiefs this season, playing 54 games.
He has tallied 12 goals and 29 points, adding a large amount of grit and energy. The joke in the press box was that the Fortis BC Energy Player of the Game was going to be renamed the Silard Award.
The final departing Chief falls into the category of ‘we hardly knew ye.’ Defenceman Cody Bardock was picked up from the Trail Smoke Eaters in a deal for Brandon Volpe.
Injury issues kept him on the shelf more than he would have liked, but the dependable D-man has logged 16 games for Chilliwack.
Saturday’s game against Coquitlam starts at 7 p.m.