The Ridge Meadows Flames will be hosting the Pacific Junior Hockey League all-star game this Monday, and there will be a strong contingent of local players.
The annual game to honour the junior B circuit’s best players is a match between the Harold Brittain Conference and the Tom Shaw Conference.
Flames players named to the Brittain all-stars include Kyle Davis, Jesse Nelson, Tetsuya Prior and Eric Bourhill.
“All of the guys there are very deserving for different reasons,” said Flames head coach Bayne Ryshak. “They are leaders on and off the ice.”
Although the three forwards selected are all most noted for their offence, they are still guys he will send over the boards late in the game when his team is defending a one-goal lead.
Prior is third in leage scoring with 20 goals and 55 points in 24 games. Bourhill has put up an impressive 17 goals and 36 points in just 24 games, which is a 1.5 points per game pace. Nelson is almost at the same pace, having 19 goals and 32 points in 23 games. Bourhill is seventh in conference scoring, despite missing 11 games. Simiilarly Nelson is in the top 10 in the league in points per game.
Prior, a 19-year-old out of Richmond, only hinted at his poential during prior stings with the Delta Ice Hawks and Port Moody Panthers.
“It’s a guy making the most of his opportunity,” said Ryshak. “We’ve allowed him to be creative with the puck, and he and Bourhill together are creative offensive players.”
Bourhill is a 20-year-old out of Surrey who had nine goals and 13 points in 18 games with the Delta Ice Hawks last season. Ryshak said he is one of the fastest skaters in the league, and boasts “a wicked shot.”
Nelson is a good two-way forward with excellent skills, honed during the Chilliwack resident’s time in the BCHL with the Surrey Eagles (58 games) and Nanaimo Clippers (three games). The 19-year-old was a key mid-season acquisition this year for the Flames.
Davis is a 20-year-old career defensive defenceman. He has been best known for finishing his checks, but is finishing plays with a career high nine points this season.
“Leaders rise and other kids just follow, and he has been a great leader for us,” said Ryshak. “It’s good to see him get rewarded – we’re all happy he got rewarded.”
The all-star selection committee is made up of representatives from the Grandview Steelers, Richmond Sockeyes and Abbotsford Pilots this season.
Former Mission City Outlaw Matthew Trulsen, a goaltender out of Ridge Meadows Minor Hockey, now with Port Moody, is also in the all-star game.
Former Flamees team captain Ryan Wellburn will be a Richmond Sockeyes all-star with the Tom Shaw Conference team.
Burt Henderson, the president and head coach of the Langley Trappers, will be behind the bench for the Harold Brittain Conference team.
Ryshak said the annual all-star game has not been played in Maple Ridge for at least a decade.
The game will be played on Jan. 14 at 7:30 p.m.
The players have a bit of incentive – every member of the winning team will received a $50 gift card to White Spot.