With less than two weeks before Simon Fraser University’s hockey team hits the ice for its opening regular season game, the Clan still has a few kinks to work out if they want to make it into the B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League playoffs.
Since August the men have been training and playing in various exhibition games around the Lower Mainland and in Alberta, preparing for the season ahead. Head coach Mark Coletta said the priority right now is shaking off the dust before the season begins.
“We try to make sure the training camp serves as a conditioning stint and that all the guys are familiar with each other,” he said. “Just getting back into that whole routine – school and hockey – is priority one.”
This year’s team is a solid mix of returning and rookie players, so there’s still some work to do integrating the new skaters into the team, but Coletta said the new guys are important assets.
“It’s a good thing in a sense. The last couple of seasons we’ve had the old guard kind of run through its time at school and in hockey,” he said. “There’s a need with the guys coming in to create an identity, and that’s what we’re looking for them to do and mix with the veterans, which is always a big thing to have.
“I think they (the rookies) bring a lot of energy and excitement to the program. We’ve got a lot of junior A experience coming on board.”
After an unfortunate loss in the championship game of the BCIHL to Selkirk College, the Clan men are looking to redeem themselves this season – and with some of the new faces on the team, they might do it.
“The defensive end is where we needed to make sure we were better, and I think we did that with the recruits we brought in,” Coletta said.
With a goal in mind, SFU brought in a number of defencemen, including B.C. Hockey League vet and Abbotsford native Trevor Esau, who played for the Prince George Spruce Kings.
“He was the captain of the Prince George Spruce Kings and a good defenceman,” Coletta said.
Simon Fraser also managed to score a number 1 transfer from the NCAA division – Jared Eng. Eng is a North Vancouver native and a recent transfer from Connecticut’s Sacred Heart University.
“He’s a quality player and a guy who’s played at the highest level,” Coletta said.
Burnaby native Colton Schock is also joining the Clan this season. Schock played four seasons with the Grandview Steelers, amassing a total of 29 points in 180 regular season games for the local PJHL team.
“Having a local Burnaby product join the SFU hockey program is a great thing,” Coletta said in an earlier media release. “Colton is a great kid, hard-working and excited about wearing the SFU jersey. We recognized very early this past season that we needed to bolster the defensive core, and Colton will be a great addition to the blue-line.”
This weekend the Clan is in Boston, Massachusetts, going up against a couple of NCAA Division 1 hockey teams. Coletta said he hopes the men will take this opportunity to work on their game and maybe give them a slight advantage upon their return.
This could prove very useful after two disappointing losses against Lower Mainland rival UBC last weekend.
The Thunderbirds knocked down the Clan 6-2 in Friday night’s game and 5-1 on Saturday.
SFU opens the regular season against Thompson River at home on Oct. 12 at the Bill Copeland Arena. The game starts at 7 p.m. For more information, visit www.sfuhockey.com.
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