Improving on a championship season might be a tall task but in the world of junior hockey every year brings new challenges.
The defending KIJHL, Cyclone Taylor and Western Canadian champion Beaver Valley Nitehawks kicked off its exhibition season this week and so far so good.
“I think we’ve had our best camp we’ve ever had,” said head coach Terry Jones, who has been at the Nitehawks helm for two decades.
He admitted the team’s success last season has made it easier to recruit players but with that comes the task of trimming the roster for the start of the regular season.
“Sunday will start making our decision and there will be lots of difficult ones.”
The coaching staff will continue to evaluate potential players tonight as the Hawks host the Castlegar Rebels in the first game of a home-and-home set this weekend.
Game time tonight is 7:30 p.m. with the rematch Saturday night in Castlegar beginning at 7 p.m.
The team is back on the ice Sunday in Nelson for a 7 p.m. rematch with the Leafs
Beaver Valley opened camp last week and began pre-season games Tuesday night in Creston with a solid 5-1 win over the Creston Valley Thunder Cats in Creston. Wednesday night the Hawks battled the Nelson Leafs to a 4-4 draw.
“Tuesday we had a great pace and great discipline,” said Jones. “But (against Nelson) it was lackluster and there was trouble getting a good flow.”
The club wraps up its exhibition schedule on Tuesday on home ice against the Thunder Cats at 7 p.m.
The regular season starts in a week with Beaver Valley traveling to Nelson on Sept. 12. The team’s home opener is the next night, Sept. 13, when the 100 Mile House Wranglers ride into town.