Tallon Kramer, another former Nitehawk, is back between the pipes for the Selkirk College Saints.

Tallon Kramer, another former Nitehawk, is back between the pipes for the Selkirk College Saints.

BCIHL: Former B.V. Nitehawks bolster Selkirk Saints line up

Selkirk College Saints open the BCIHL season in Victoria with eight former Nitehawks on the bench

The BC Intercollegiate Hockey League’s Selkirk College Saints kick off their 13th season on the road this weekend.

The Saints wrapped up their preseason play last week, hosting the BCIHL-ACAC Showcase, with a pair of games against Alberta’s SAIT Trojans and Portage College Voyageurs.

Related read: Selkirk College Saints capture third BCIHL title

The Saints will look for a winning start when they open their regular-season games this weekend when they travel to Vancouver Island to play the University of Victoria Vikings on Saturday and Vancouver Island University Mariners on Sunday in Nanaimo.

Selkirk College boasts a strong contingent of former Beaver Valley Nitehawks players including Trail product Blake Sidoni, Nolan Percival, Tallon Kramer, Dylan Heppler, Evan Gorman, Kadrian Klimchuk, and Devin Nemes. Sidoni, Gorman, Heppler, Percival and Kramer were all part of the Nitehawks team that won the 2017 KIJHL championship and Cyclone Taylor Cup.

Saints new head coach Dave Hantiuk and his coaching staff weren’t idle this summer, recruiting Jr. A players Johnny Foley and Chris Pedersen from the Maritime Jr. Hockey League and Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League, as well as Sidoni and defenceman Tristen Cross from Manitoba Jr. Hockey’s Virden Oil Capitals.

“These are players with dynamic skills that will be able to make a quick transition to the BCIHL,” Hnatiuk said in a press release. “They have been part of teams in junior that know what it takes to win in big games, traits that we expect will be an important asset at this level.”

The Saints also added two high-end KIJHL players in Garrett Hilton and Derian Bamber. Hilton is a six-foot-three power forward, who finished fourth in KI scoring with 37 goals and 72 points last season with the 100 Mile House Wranglers. Bamber is a fast-skating, mobile defenceman, who played two seasons for the Kimberley Dynamiters, and was a key component in their KIJHL championship winning team in 2018.

Trail native and former Saint, Smoke Eater, and Nitehawk standout, Dallas Calvin, returns to the team as assistant coach, joining Hantiuk and assistant coach Justin Kanigan, a former WHLer and Castlegar native, behind the bench.

The BCIHL was launched in 2006 and now includes five member teams: Selkirk College, Simon Fraser University, Trinity Western University, the University of Victoria, and Vancouver Island University.

The Selkirk Saints finished in second place in the BCIHL season standings last year but were upset by VIU in a best-of-three playoff semifinal.

The Saints are four-time BCIHL champions having captured the title in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016.

Puck drops: Like the Saints, the Trail Smoke Eaters and Beaver Valley Nitehawks will be on the road this weekend, but local hockey fans can cheer on the Major Midget Kootenay Ice when they host the Prince George Cougars on Saturday at 4 p.m. and Sunday at 9:45 a.m. at the Cominco Arena.


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Dylan Heppler

Dylan Heppler

Nolan Percival

Nolan Percival