The Langley Rivermen wrapped up their weeklong training camp at the Langley Sportsplex, as they get set to play their first of two pre-season games tonight.
“It was a pretty solid week of hockey,” said Bobby Henderson, Head Coach and General Manager. “I was really impressed with the compete level. You could’ve had two competitive BCHL teams but unfortunately we got to make some tough decisions in the business,” he said. “From a GM’s perspective, it’s a good thing to have to make those decisions.”
The Rivermen will play the Coquitlam Express on Friday at 6:30PM at the Langley Sportsplex and finish off their pre-season in Coquitlam on Saturday at 7:00PM. After those two games, Henderson says they’ll continue to narrow down the roster.
“We’re just looking for pieces to the puzzle, for guys to assert themselves and take the next step. At this stage, there is some pressure, so we’ll see who handles it and rises to the challenge.”
Langley was busy in the off-season making some moves to solidify their defensive unit. Another new addition is goaltender Bo Didur. The second year netminder was recently acquired by the Rivermen and is competing for the number one spot along with Darren Martin.
“We’re both here to play and hopefully get scholarships,” said Didur. “If he’s hot, he’ll be playing and if I’m hot, I’ll be playing.”
“It’s a lot easier coming to a team when the other goaltender is such a nice guy and welcomes you. We’re both here having fun and competing but on a friend to friend basis,” said Didur.
“They’re both very good junior ‘A’ goalies,” said Henderson. “Part of our success last year had to do with the fact we had two goalies that could play any given night. That really helped us during the grind of the season when we played two or three games in a row.”
After a tough exit last year, where the Rivermen were eliminated by the Express in the Mainland Division Final in six games, forward Marcus Vela is eager to prove the team can make a deeper run this season.
“The mood last year was great,” said Vela. “This year, being a second year guy, coming in and having a little bit of experience helps. Even though there’s a lot of new guys, everyone seems to be bonding really well and it looks like a great group of guys this year.”
“I think the nice thing is they realize how hard it is to win it all,” said Henderson. “We had all the ability to do it last year, but didn’t get it done. Last year we only had three or four guys who had playoff experience,” he said. “This year, with a good core group back, I think it’ll be different.”
The Rivermen begin their regular season on September 19 against Salmon Arm in the ‘Bauer BCHL Showcase’, which is in Chilliwack this season. The Rivermen home opener is on Saturday, October 4, when they host the Nanaimo Clippers at 7:00PM at the Langley Events Centre.
For details visit www.LangleyRivermen.com