The Nanaimo Buccaneers made their inaugural campaign a banner year, and now they’ll try to make their sequel season every bit as successful.
The city’s Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League team begins the 2013-14 season Thursday (Sept. 5) with a home game against the Campbell River Storm.
The Bucs concluded the pre-season Saturday in Parksville, tying the Oceanside Generals 5-5.
“I think we’re getting close,” said Glen Smith, the team’s general manager. “We’ve had a little bit of up and down.”
The club still had half a dozen of its top players away at junior A camps over the weekend, so it was still waiting to find out what the opening-day lineup might look like.
“We have a few holes but we have a whole bunch of young guys playing really well,” Smith said.
Some of the primary scorers this year will be returning vets Will McNamara, Dan Foglietta and Riel Gibson.
“And new guys will step forward…” Smith said. “After 10 or 15 games we’re going to see the confidence level come up and I think we’ll [score] by committee.”
He said there’s a lot of character guys in the dressing room and a lot of guys who bring leadership.
“The kids, they were young last year and they maybe overachieved at times, but I think now they realize that they can play with anybody and the talk in the room is really positive,” Smith said.
Noah Russi, returning D-man, said the Bucs are ready for the new season to start. He said it’s going to be a battle every game in the VIJHL’s North Division.
“If we work together as one team I think we’ll do pretty good,” Russi said. “If we just keep doing the small things, just get pucks on net and work together, we’ll see success.”
GAME ON … The Buccaneers and Storm face off Thursday at 7:15 p.m. at the Nanaimo Ice Centre. Tickets will be available at the door at a cost of $9 for adults, $8 for seniors and students and $5 for kids 5-12. For season ticket information, please click here.