The Nanaimo Buccaneers have a better idea, now, of how they might be able to navigate their inaugural junior B hockey season.
The city’s Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League expansion team held its training camp this past weekend at the Nanaimo Ice Centre.
“I thought the kids came to camp in pretty good shape which is important,” said Brad Knight, coach of the Buccaneers. “It gives them the best opportunity and I’m not trying to decide if they’re good and talented but lazy, or good and talented.”
With an expansion team, he expected to have a young group, but after seeing how the young players carried themselves this past weekend he believes many of them will be able to step right into the lineup and be contributors.
In fact, he was already suggesting the Buccaneers can take a run at the North Island Division title.
It’s a possibility because the coach thinks he’ll have a well-conditioned group with a willingness to compete hard. That competitive spirit, Knight said, will serve the Bucs well in tight hockey games.
“We’re not here just to hang out and participate,” the coach said. “We want to win this year, we want to win next year, we want to win the year after.”
That message, he thinks, got through to the players during training camp.
“We worked on work ethic and commitment and we talked about do’s and don’ts and I think we’ve established lines of respect and communication … and what it is we’re expecting,” said Knight.
ICE CHIPS … Many players from Buccaneers training camp are now attending junior A and major junior camps to see where they’ll end up this season … Nanaimo’s first pre-season game is Aug. 31 when it hosts the Oceanside Generals at 7 p.m. at the NIC.