In 1999 the Bentley Generals Senior Hockey Club was formed by group of five individuals who had small dreams with an even smaller budget.
What began as an idea for a few of Bentley’s born and raised to resurrect a once proud local senior hockey team and play together again has grown to be one of the strongest and most successful senior AAA hockey clubs in Canada.
The growth and success that we as an organization have experienced can be attributed to many things but the basic strength of this club is the people within it.
We are blessed to have a large and dedicated contingent of volunteers whose common goal is to do whatever it takes to keep this team going season after season.
Our inaugural season of 1999-2000 and the following year 2000-2001 we ran with a motley crew of approximately 12 dedicated players and scratched out four and seven win seasons respectively in a 24 game schedule.
Noteable players in that core were Travis Stephenson, Craig HIlman, Colin Bergen, Ashley Raabis, Tyler Luca, Brian Gerrits, Shaun Diggins, Jeff McInnis, Chad Beagle, Cody Smith, Jeff Thompson, Tim Ellerby, Mike Tubbs, Scott Kitson, Chad Allan and Bryan Walker.
At the start of our third season in 2001-2002 we faced what seemed to be the end of our road as we simply did not have enough returning and or new players to carry on.
Not long before throwing in the towel, the arrival of players such as Brent Smyth, Doug Gainsforth, Kyle Stephenson, Russ Seifried, Mark Fleming, Scott Frayn and Jason Hoffman bouyed the franchise and helped carry us to our first provincial senor ‘A’ title in Fort Mcleod.
For the 2002-2003 season we made the collective decision to further challenge ourselves by entering the race for the Allan Cup by registering as a Triple A club.
This venture can be attributed to the addition of one of the greatest Generals in our clubs history that being #97 Kevin Smyth, as it was on an early bus trip to Westlock that "Big Smytty" told us that if we didn't go AAA he was going home!
We won that game 18-3 and didn't look back.
Other new players to join the club in old dressing room #4 that season were Darren and Dan Zinger, Sheldon Flaman, Kent Beagle and Brett Allan.
After a 17w - 7L regular season we were welcomed quite rudely into the Allan Cup playoffs by Stony Plain by being swept in a best of 3 series but the future was certanily brighter than ever before.
In our second AAA season after a 20w -4l regular season ( all losses to an undefeated Stony Plain Eagle squad ) we swept Stony Plain, Innisfail and the Trail Smoke Eaters in consecutive best of 5 series.
We lost to the two time Allan Cup Champion host St. George Garaga in the Allan Cup Semi-final game 7-4.
That season was highlighted by many things noteably the team and this community coming together on evenings and weekends to construct a new 1000ft2 dressing room which solidified many more seasons of Generals hockey as well as the addition of players such as Bryce Wandler, Scott Cannam, Jimmy Lawrence, Diarmuid Kelly, Darcy Dallas, Sheldon Matthews, Joe Bouvier, Jared Smyth and Jared Carli.
In 2004-2005 and 2005-2006 we continued to grow as an organization and perhaps learned some of our greatest lessons by suffering defeat at each of these seasons end.
The 2004-2005 season was highlighted by the addition of players such as Dean Tiltgen, Tyler Haarstad, Devin Francon and Jason Steenbergen.
That season we faced and were defeated by a new foe by the name of the Horse Lake Thunder in 4 games in a best of 5 series. More than 10, 000 people came to watch in games #1 and #2 at the Centrium in Red Deer and it was a very memorable season in Generals history.
The 05-06 season concluded with a thud as the three year old Ft. Saskatchewan Chiefs upset us in 6 games and from that point on we as a club felt that we needed to raise our expectaions if we were going to carry on chasing the Allan Cup.
Some new faces in the 05-06 season were:Kelly Buchberger, Lyle Steenbergen, Justin Van Pary's, James Bullock and Joe Vandermeer.
Looking back on those two seasons we feel that our losing taught us that we were not truly ready to compete at the highest level and these lessons raised our focus to the level of play that would result in five straight Provincial championships and the Generals becoming a legitimate Allan Cup contender.
The 2006-2007 season was Brian Sutter's first as the head coach of the Bentley Generals and along with him came Brian Stephenson and that would prove to be a major turning point in the focus of this team.
New players such as Tyler Brosz, Chris Martini, Steve Wagner, Brad Prefontaine, Rob Hartnell, Stephan Siwiec, and Ryan and Scott Galenza made an impact in 2006-2007.
The season was not easy as Stony Plain was hosting the Allan Cup and had a strong team but after beating Stony in 6 and Ft. Sask in 4 we hosted the Mckenzie Cup at the Red Deer Arena for the first time.
The opponent was the Ft. St. John Flyers and with a white hot goaltender in Rod Branch the Flyers took it to the fifth and deciding game.
The fifth game was broken open by a georgeous one man show goal by Tyler Brosz and from there on the Generals cruised to a 5 -0 victory.
The 2007 Allan Cup was one that we as an organization look back on as one the got away. We opened the round robin with a 4-1 win vs. West rep the Lloyd Border Kings and then defeated the Atlantic rep Halifax Molson Canadians 5-3. We then had a bye to the semi finals where we faced the Whitby Dunlops and were beaten in overtime 3-2 on a seeing eye shot that haunts us to this day.
The 2007-2008 season was a season of change but the result was much the same.
Brian Sutter left to coach the Red Deer Rebels for a year and Jeff McInnis, Kevin Smyth and Chad Beagle platooned a coaching staff in return.
The player turn-over was large but with additions such as Don Morrison, Mark Woolf, Terry Ryan, Sean Robertson, Matt Holmes, Darren Cain, Dwayne Hay, Darryl Laplante, Ray Schultz, Craig Strain, Riley Jones and Jaime Routledge the results were similar.
We Swept Ft. Sask in 4 straight out scoring them 22-1 over the four games then faced Stony Plain in an epic 7 game battle that was a series where the home team won every game except game 7 in Stony Plain, a 4-0 Generals win.
The team then travelled to Ft. St. John for a rematch with the Flyers on their turf. That Mckenzie Cup series was tough for everyone involved: it was physical, poorly officiated, fast paced and full of drama. We were victorious in four games and after a couple beers at the hotel with 100 of the our best army friends and a couple streakers we headed home.
The team was then off to Brantford Ontario and after going 0-2 in the round robin vs Shawinigan ( 2-1 loss ) and then Brantford ( 5-3 loss) we beat Lloyd 5-3 in the Quarter's and Shawinigan 6-1 in the semi's.
The final game was not pretty as the host Blast was a big veteran team that didn't allow for much real estate to be had and we simply couldn't score. We lost 3-1 in that final game and the heartbreak was tough to get over.
The 2008-2009 season saw the return of coach Sutter and new faces such as Darren Deschamps, Ryan Manitowich, Brett Thurston, Dion Darling, Scott Hood, Curtis Austring, Jeremy Satsiuk, Riley Lang, Dustin Claffey and Erik Lodge.
The regular season saw the team roll to a 23-1 record and sweep the CHL playoffs.
The provincial playoffs prooved to be a much tougher test as the team played two tough and testing 7 game series vs. Ft. Sask and Stony Plain with each game seven being decided by a single goal.
We then played the Ft. St. John Flyers for a third consecutive Mckenzie Cup and won the series in four games at the Red Deer Arena.
The crowds were large and the team looked poised to take a run a another Allan Cup, this time in Steinbach, Manitoba.
The round robin saw the team play our first game vs. the host North Stars and after falling behind 2-0 we stormed back to win 5-2. In our second game we faced a resurrected Thunder Bay Twins Squad that had little business being at the Allan Cup.
After winning 9-1 and getting a bye to the Semi-finals we were surprised to see our opponent as those same Thunder Bay Twins after they beat Lloydminster 3-2. We beat them again 8-1 and headed to the Finals to meet up with Manitoba's South East Prarie Thunder.
The game was a see-saw affair that saw us always behind in the score. After killing way too many penalties to mention we tied it up at 3 on a short handed goal by Kent Beagle and that sent it to overtime.
After some back and forth play in the first overtime, early in the second OT saw the line of Kurt Bensmiller, Diarmuid Kelly and Tyler Haarstad finally change our fortunes as brides maids.
The worlds biggest party and a documentary followed and Rings were ordered.
The 2009-2010 season saw a similar team return to the ice and another addition to the Generals dressing room.
New faces were: Jon Hobson, Travis Brigley, Brandin Cote, Darren Van Impe, and Jordan Alford.
The regular season saw a 19-1 record and another CHL playoff win.
The Provincials were short as we had a bye in the first round followed by a five game win in a best of seven vs. Ft. Sask.
There was no Mckenzie Cup to be played as Ft. St. John Hosted the Allan Cup and so we were off to defend our title.
The round robin opened with us playing a much improved and motivated FSJ club and it wasn't pretty as they absolutely dominated us from start to finish in a 7-1 drubbing.
Our second game saw us meet the Clarenville Caribou and it wasn't close as we tried to redeem ourselves with a 7-2 victory.
The quarter final saw us play the Powell River Regals and a 5-1 win sent us to the semi-final vs. the Dundas Real McCoys.
After beating Dundas in a very close 4-2 hockey game we met the host Flyers in final.
The game was close and we were down 2-1 with a little less than three minutes to go but that is all we could muster and FSJ earned an Allan Cup win.
The 2010-2011 season saw us with a similar 19-1 regular season record and a sweep of the league and provincial playoffs.
The Mckenzie Cup was hosted in Red Deer again and it was another epic five game battle against FSJ that while costing us some major losses in the injury department resulted in us winning the right to head to Kenora Ontario for the Allan Cup.
In Kenora our first opponent was the Dundas Real McCoys again and we won a slow, close game 4-3.
Our second game was a much faster paced physical matchup against the host Thistles in which we played strong and beat them 3-2 to send us to the Semi's.
The semi-final was never in doubt as we scored early and often on our way to a 7-2 win vs. the Ft. Frances ThunderHawks.
The final game saw us meet the Clarenville Caribou again and we simply could not recover from a terribly slow start in the first period by then end of which we were down 3-1.
A 5-3 loss more than stunned us after a long off season we are hoping to find more happiness than heartbreak in 2011-2012.