After naming Bill Birks their new assistant coach, the Beaver Valley Nitehawks continue to build a KIJHL contender with the signings of Blake Sidoni and Evan Gorman.
Both players laced them up with the Major Midge Kootenay Ice last season, while playing an affiliate role with the Nitehawks.
“These guys are just good solid kids, hard working guys,” said Nitehawks coach and GM Terry Jones. “We think they both have really good potential, and a good upside in terms of becoming players at a higher level.”
Sidoni, a 17-year-old J. L. Crowe student, AP’d in five games last season for the Hawks scoring two goals and two assists, and was in the line up for two games at the 2014 Keystone Cup, helping the Hawks to the championship.
“I’ve been waiting for this moment for a while,” said Sidoni, a Rossland-Trail Minor Hockey product. “I’m excited.”
A skilled forward, Sidoni’s role will be to contribute offensively, while adding physicality and intensity to the lineup.
“With Blake, we expect him to score some goals, be strong in front of the net, and good on the wall,” said Jones.
Sidoni scored four goals and added 17 points in 34 games with the Ice last season, while Gorman, also 17, is a stay-at-home type of defenceman who played six games as an affiliate with the Hawks.
“Evan’s just a solid defensive defenceman, moves the puck well, competes really hard shift in shift out, and most importantly for us, both guys are solid people and willing to work hard every day to get better.”
“I’m really excited to be apart of the Nitehawks,” he said.
The Nitehawks will also be bolstered by the return of a pair of talented 20-year-olds. Forward Braden Fuller and rugged defenceman Sheldon Hubbard will return to the Hawks after a season playing Junior A hockey. Fuller and Hubbard were both critical components in the Hawks’ 2014 run to the Cyclone and Keystone Cup champions.
“Those two guys have brought a lot of credibility to our lineup,” said Jones. “They are both excited to come back and we’re excited to have them back, and it will make us, with the other guys coming back, pretty solid.”
Fuller split last season with the Merritt Centennials and Alberni Valley Bulldogs of the BCHL, while Hubbard played 20 games with the Trail Smoke Eaters before a trade sent him to the Grande Prairie Storm of the Alberta Junior League.
Jones expects at least six forwards to return from last season’s squad, up to five returnees on the back end, and Drake Poirier likely back between the pipes. With the season only weeks away, the Nitehawks will hit the ice for training camp on Aug. 28 with their first exhibition game scheduled for Sept. 1 in Creston.