Spruce Grove Franchise Relocation

By Ted Zylstra-Wednesday 18 Mar 2020

The Spruce Grove Wheelin’ Phantoms have had an interesting two year run in the Alberta Pro League. Their Inaugural season showed promise as they battled hard in all their games and put up some good fight. Even when they were outmatched by skill, their work ethic never wavered, and they fought hard to the last buzzer. The high point of year one was when Steve Sanche caught lightning in a bottle and scored 7 goals in their mid season road game against the Red Deer Reign. He led Spruce back from a 4-goal deficit to tie the game 8-8 and take the game to the shootout. They ultimately won the game 9-8. It definitely helped boost their spirits and they showed some promise in the last few games of the season. They missed the playoffs in 2018 and the team management and core of players swore they would make the playoffs in year 2.

Starting year 2 General Manager Skyler Prue enlisted the help of veteran defenseman Aaron Leisman and leading goal scorer Steve Sanche to help rebuild the roster for the upcoming season. Bringing in some big-name players and changing over most of the roster to quicker, more skilled individuals. The Phantoms record was 4-1 at the mid point of the season and were in first place at that point. Everything was going right, and then that’s when it all started to fall apart. A few of their best players missed a couple crucial games and they ended up dropping the next 4 out of 5 games. They finished the year at .500 and in 4th place for the playoffs. The Phantoms first playoff run ended as quickly as it started when they lost the first game against Sherwood Park 12-2. They fought hard in their last two games, but they knew after the 12-2 loss that their season was almost over.

As season 3 some comes closer to starting some tough decisions would need to be made for the future of the team. GM Prue was not able to commit as much time to the team in year two and he knew he needed to find some help to run the team or even take it over. That’s where Aaron Leisman stepped up with a group of committed players to assume control of the team and help lead them into their next chapter.

The new management group decided it was time to start fresh with the franchise and relocate the team to a new district and even change the name and branding of the club. At the February 22nd AGM a proposal was put forward to have Spruce Grove Phantoms relocate to Fort Saskatchewan and change their team name to the Wolf Pack. The vote was approved 5-1 and the work would now begin on remaking and remodeling the team into a top tier competitive club in the AB Pro League

Skyler Prue was an instrumental member of getting the AB Pro League up and running in 2018 and no one involved will ever forget that. When a call to action went out in February 2018 the first group to respond about creating a team was Skyler Prue and his associates. At this point we would like to thank Skyler and his counterparts for all their contributions to the league and hope that one day we might see another team arrive in Spruce Grove.