The new-look Nanaimo Buccaneers skate into pre-season action this week.
The city’s Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League team takes the ice for its first exhibition game on Wednesday (Aug. 27) in Parksville against the Oceanside Generals.
The Bucs have a new coaching staff this year, with Derek Bachynski taking over as head coach. He said on Thursday that players are skating fast and working hard.
“I demand a lot, so I think they see that and they know that,” he said.
A challenge of junior B hockey is that some potential Buccaneers players will first try to stick with junior A clubs, and the pre-seasons overlap.
“You want to pick your team and get on with things … You’ve just got to be patient as a head coach,” Bachynski said. “I’m starting to implement a few things day by day here in regards to how we’re going to play and what our culture’s going to be like.”
The coach is going ahead introducing some systems, he said, and hoping that the veterans at practice now will learn and be able to help pass along knowledge.
“They want ownership; they want responsibility,” the coach said.
As the Buccaneers enter pre-season play, the head coach said he wants to see players transferring what they’ve been taught in practice, to game situations.
“If we’re improving and heading into the regular season … in the right direction, then I’ll feel good about it,” he said.
GAME ON … The Bucs and Generals play Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. at Oceanside Place, then again Friday at 7 p.m. at the Nanaimo Ice Centre.