Exhibition season arrives this week for Islanders
The Kerry Park Islanders conducted main camp on the weekend at Cowichan Arena and head straight into Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League exhibition action this week after two more practice sessions.
The Islanders have been temporarily deposed from Kerry Park Arena during renovations. They set up shop at the Cowichan Lake Sports Arena for a prep camp before moving over to Duncan for main camp and subsequent practices before facing Westshore in Victoria Friday in their first exhibition test.
Dale Purinton is back as head coach with a staff that includes Rob Webb, Robert Davison and Trevor Hynes. Owner Mark Osmond serves as general manager and is pleased with the process of assembling the team so far.
"Most encouraging to us as it stands right now, we're not going to have to billet anybody,'' Osmond said. "Most of the kids are from the Cowichan Valley or Victoria.''
The Islanders strengthened their local base in a trade last season by acquiring Nick White from the Nanaimo Buccaneers for goalie Jackson Jane, who's now overage. The Islanders have also picked up local product Lynden Eddy from the Buccaneers.
The Islanders started their tuneup for the 2014-15 campaign with nearly 30 players at the prep camp.
"It was for anybody who wanted to come and get in shape for the main camp — just to get their legs back,'' said Osmond.
Saturday and Sunday's activity in Duncan was a good follow-up.
"We started out with about 39 to 40 kids and we whittled down a bit,'' said Osmond.
The Islanders won't return to the ice at Kerry Park until Sept. 2, the day before their regular-season opener at Westshore. The home-opener normally would have been on Sept. 6, but Osmond put it back to Sept. 13.
"I just wanted to give an extra week in case there was any problem with the ice,'' he said.
The Islanders will have several players coming and going to Junior A camps in the next few weeks before settling on a lineup. They'll be making allowances for the temporary roster shortage created by anticipated player absences.
"We've kept a lot of guys from the camp we're not going to sign right away,'' said Osmond.
The Islanders' website at www.islandersjb.com carries complete information on the team.