- BC Games
Connect with Us
Islanders work out kinks
Kerry Park Islanders are sure to benefit from starting the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League schedule with some continuity from the end of last season.
Dale Purinton is back behind the bench as head coach and Mark Osmond completed an initiation period to get his feet wet as owner.
The Islanders played their only two exhibition games on back-to-back days, losing 6-2 Saturday to the Saanich Braves and 8-3 to the Westshore Wolves Sunday — both at Kerry Park Arena —before starting the season for keeps next week.
“It’s been a bit of a learning process,’’ said Osmond of his transition to owner. “I think we’re getting there.’’
It’s always tough for Junior B teams at this stage because some players expected to return are still at Junior A camps.
One of those players coming in is Tyler Fraser, 16, from Cloverdale after a tryout with the Western Hockey League’s Tri-City Americans.
Veteran Jackson Jane is also due back on Labour Day and will assume the No. 1 goaltending job, with Leighton Williams as his back-up.
The Islanders had nine 20-year-olds in camp, but are only allowed to keep six “which is always the bad part when you’ve got too many of them,’’ said Osmond. “They could all make the team if they were 19. It’s a numbers game.’’
The Islanders are starting to sort it all out. “We have one more 20-year-old to cut,’’ said Osmond.
Camp began with about 45 kids and Osmond said Purinton will be cutting down to 23 by the weekend.
“We’re going to run pretty close this year,’’ said Osmond. “Last year, there was just too many kids.’’
Osmond added the Islanders will rely on affiliate players from the midget ranks where needed during the season.
Brendan Gowanlock is a player who figures in the Islanders’ plans but won’t be immediately available due to football commitments with the Vancouver Island Raiders.
Osmond has been busy during the summer securing team advertising. “I had good support from the community,’’ he said.
The Islanders play three games in four days to open the regular season next week, beginning Wednesday, Sept. 4 at Westshore. The home-opener is Sept. 7.