Justin Rai is now a full-fledged member of the Prince George Spruce Kings.
The news comes as no surprise to the B.C. Hockey League team's fans who have witnessed the 18-year-old's play in three home games at the Coliseum where he has played as an affiliated player. The Kings signed the forward to their roster Monday.
Kings head coach Dave Dupas said the former junior B player with the Richmond Sockeyes of the Pacific Junior Hockey League showed he was ready to take the next step in his hockey career.
"He has an extremely hard work ethic and fights hard every shift," said Dupas.
In his three games with the Kings Rai has played on a line with another pair of Kings rookies, Chad Staley and Jeremiah Luedtke. Together the three have won over fans with willingness to go into corners and fight for the puck which has led them to generate numerous scoring chances.
Rai, a five-foot-10, 170 pounder from Surrey, already has a goal and two helpers for the Kings and has a three-game point streak going.
In 21 games with the Sockeyes last season Rai notched 14 goals and had 36 points. In the playoffs, he had four goals and eight points in seven games.
The Kings (3-0-1-1) head off on a three-game road swing through the Interior Conference this weekend, starting Friday against the Vernon Vipers (2-1-0-2) and followed Saturday by a game against the Merritt Centennials (2-1-1). The road trip wraps up against the Penticton Vees (5-1) on Sunday.
* In other news, former Spruce Kings forward Gerry Fitzgerald earned BCHL player of the week honours. Now with the Victoria Grizzlies, the youngest of the Fitzgerald triplets had four goals and four assists in three road games last week. The eight points moved the 19-year-old into fifth place among the BCHL scoring leaders.