The Beaver Valley Nitehawks emerged from its Main Camp on the weekend on a winning note.
“The camp was great,” said Nitehawks head coach Terry Jones. “It was more of a streamlined camp, but the competition level was great, the skill level was great.”
The Hawks wrapped up camp on Saturday and played their first exhibition game on Sunday in Creston against the Thunder Cats. B.V. went on to beat Creston 9-4 with a healthy contingent of rookies in the line up.
“We do have a lot of guys back, but we didn’t have a ton of veterans playing in that game (against Creston),” said Jones. “By all accounts, we had some rookies step forward and play very well, and have some younger guys step up so it’s going to be interesting to see how things go throughout the course of the week and practice. We have three more games this week to gauge the guys who are still in camp and see where everyone fits.”
The result bodes well for a team that could have as many as a dozen or more veterans back in the line up, in addition to a large dose of local talent in recent acquisition Ethan Jang and last year’s affiliate players Jarred Macasso, Dayton Nelson, and Zach Park.
The Hawks will likely add five or six rookies to the roster this season, and of those, West Kootenay products Lucas Anselmo and Kaleb Percival were among the most impressive, said Jones, who is going into his 27th year with the Nitehawks.
“We’re still right in the middle of it. We did let a few guys go, and guys will be battling right up until Saturday night, and on Saturday night we’ll expect to get close to our team.
“It’s like the stock market. A guy’s stock goes up and down, and it’s important that players play with consistency, and, if anything, it continues to rise and not to have the big fall – you have to be consistent.”
The Nitehawks confirmed that Calgary native Saran Virdee is back between the pipes. Virdee joined the Nitehawks midway through last season finishing with a respectable 4-5-2 record, a 3.06 goals-against average, and a .901 save percentage.
Noah Decottignies, last year’s starter, is still competing for a spot with the Weyburn Red Wings of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League and his status is unknown.
“Saran has come in and played well, and we have some other guys who have played well too,” added Jones. “The guys are still battling, and until we see if Noah appears, then we’ll have to go from there.”
The Nitehawks also added former Nitehawk captain Sam Swanson to their coaching staff and announced the return of former assistant coach Jeremy Cominotto.
“It’s great to bring Jeremy back, and exciting to welcome Sam. We’re in the process of defining our roles as a staff and, with being a young team, we need to make sure that the guys are getting the feedback they need to keep getting better.”
The Nitehawks play Creston again tonight at 7 p.m. at the Beaver Valley Arena, and face the Leafs in Nelson on Friday and at home at the Hawks’ Nest on Saturday at 7 p.m.
They’ll wrap up their exhibition season with a home-and-home against the Castlegar Rebels on Monday and Tuesday.