The Centennial Cup is all but upon us.
All ten teams from across the country have arrived in Portage, and the action begins tomorrow at 11:30 a.m. The first game on the slate sees the Kam River Fighting Walleye face off against the Battleford North Stars.
The Superior International Junior Hockey League (SIJHL) Champions, Kam River, has been home to one of the best young hockey players from Portage la Prairie. Riley Borody will make his 2023 debut on the Stride Place ice surface tomorrow morning, and he can't wait for the opportunity.
"I'm super excited. My parents, my friends, and everyone is coming to watch," says Borody. "That'll be fun."
Borody and the Fighting Walleye defeated the Thunder Bay North Stars 5-4 in Game 7 of the SIJHL Finals to punch their ticket to the Centennial Cup.
"We had some adversity after losing the first two (games in the series). The boys bounced back strong, and we came back and won it all. It was nice," Borody explains. "(Playing in a Game 7) was a little surreal. A lot of our fans were going nuts. The first ten minutes I was a little bit nervous, but after that, we settled in, stuck to the game plan, and we were good to go."
The 19-year-old found the back of the net in Game 7 and tied the score 1-1 in the first period. He says scoring his team's first goal in an atmosphere like that felt pretty sweet.
Borody is on his third team this year after starting the preseason with the Portage Terriers. The Dogs traded him to the Dauphin Kings, where he put up five points in 16 games before he was traded again to Kam River.
"They have a little bit of a smaller sheet out in Kam River, so that helped me a little bit," Borody continues. "I've just been going to the net and just kept playing my game. Pucks just started going in."
After being sent away from his hometown team in September, Borody is ecstatic to see his journey come full circle, ending the year in the same place he started. While he has no hard feelings toward the organization, he does want to get a bit of revenge when he faces off with the Terriers on Saturday night.
"It'll be fun just to play against them," says Borody. "I've never been able to do that in my life. Especially doing that here at the Centennial Cup will be fun."
Borody believes if the Fighting Walleye play their best, they should be able to take down the Battleford North Stars in the Centennial Cup opener. Kam River and Battleford will go head-to-head tomorrow morning at Stride Place.