When the puck dropped Friday night and the MJHL playoff series between Portage and Winkler started, the two teams were doing something that hadn't happened since the 1990's - facing off in the playoffs. In fact it was 25 years ago in 1999 when the two squads last met up in the post season, four years before any of the current  players were even alive.

Don MacGillvray was in his first year as head coach of the team and the Terriers had a strong regular season. Terry Harrison, who went on to play some pro hockey all around the world, led the team with 104 points and the clubs 42-16-2-2 record was good for second place in the North Division. Three points behind them were the defending league champions in the Flyers.

There were plenty of local players on that Terrier team including the now principal of Yellowquill School, Darryl Patterson. It was his final year of junior and he was second in team scoring. Patterson remembers it as a very feisty series right from the get go.

"They were led by Jeff McGill who went on to play university hockey. There were quite a few fights and the crowds were very much into it. Both buildings were pretty full and there was no love lost between either team. I remember lining up against Laird Laluk and he told me he hated hockey and wanted to quit. I guess he was lying because he kept playing for a while after that"

The two teams had built up quite a rivalry after meeting four times in the playoffs already in that decade. Winkler certainly had the upper hand as the only time Portage had beat the Flyers in the post season was in 1990 when they won the league championship.

Kurtis Callandar was another local player on that team and he remembers it fondly. Callander has been a school teacher in Reston for the past 20 years and says he grew up with some talented players.

"Portage was well represented. There was myself and Patterson along with Brett Calder, Mike Funk, Jeff Froese and Russell Spence. We grew up with Arron Asham as well but he went to the WHL. It was an intense series. They were the defending champs and had some pretty tough customers including Dallas Anderson who had almost 400 penalty minutes."

It's worth noting the top three penalty minute leaders for the Flyers that year had more minutes that the entire Terrier team did this season.

Russell Spence was only 16 years old and said it was quite the introduction for him to MJHL playoff hockey.

"To open up some space on the roster I signed a midget card and had to wear a full cage. The atmosphere at the Centennial arena and their building was memorable. It really opened my eyes as to how much more intense it was in the playoffs"

Brett Calder chimed in with one of the best stories.

"I actually have a terrible memory so I'm probably the worst person to ask. But I should remember it all cause I had one of the best seats watching most of it from the bench."

That Terrier roster also featured some other notable names. Junior Lessard played his first season and the following year he would score 60 goals and tie the team record while going on to win the Canadian Junior Player of the Year. Raimund Divis of Austria chipped in with 59 points and fan favourite James Jasper had 308 penalty minutes. The two Tim's (Miller and Lindberg) were also key on the back end.

Winkler ended up winning that series 4 games to 2 before falling to OCN in the second round. 1999 was the first of five straight championships for the Blizzard before the Terrier stopped the record setting streak by sweeping them in the first round of 2004. Since that point, neither the Blizzard nor the Flyers have won a championship while the Terriers have hoisted the trophy 9 times. All three teams are in the mix this year and only time will tell if one of them lifts it this time around.

Winkler won the opening game in this years series 4-1 on Friday night. Game 2 is set for this evening, 6:30 p.m. at Stride Place.

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