The North Island Silvertips have a fresh sheet of ice, and fresh legs capable of skating a lot of lengths up and down the ice.
Nanaimo’s B.C. Major Midget League hockey team opens the 2012-13 season this Saturday (Sept. 22) and Sunday with road games against the Kootenay Ice.
The Silvertips narrowly missed the playoffs last season, but are expected to be in the hunt this year.
“It’s good to have a fresh new start,” said Dayton Boutilier, team captain. “Hopefully we’re all going to get the legs going, get a few points and just keep the confidence, the flow going.”
The ’Tips won’t be the biggest or most physical team in the BCMML, but they have other attributes that they can use to their advantage.
“We’re teaching the kids [about] being energetic and get on the right side of the momentum shifts,” said Jason Dubyna, the team’s new coach. “That’s part of what we have to do to be successful.”
The Silvertips have a lot of good puckhandlers, both forwards and defencemen.
“We can push the play,” said the coach. “We don’t have to wait for our chances, we can force and make chances happen.”
Returnees Curtis McCarrick, Nick Gomerich, David Osborne and Liam Shaw will be some of the go-to guys on offence. Boutilier and Kyle MacDonald anchor the defence and the goaltenders this year are Liam Giroux and Liam Young.
Every year the BCMML features standouts who will go on to major junior, junior A and junior B.
“They’re at an age where they still have opportunities to reach the highest levels of hockey,” Dubyna said. “So that inspiration is there and that’s the exciting part.”
GAME ON … The team’s home openers will be Sept. 29-30 at the Nanaimo Ice Centre against the Okanagan Rockets. The Sept. 29 game is a 5:15 p.m. faceoff and the rematch goes Sept. 30 at 10:30 a.m.