One of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League’s newest teams is starting to take shape.
The Junior ‘B’ Port Alberni Bombers hosted their first-ever ID camp on July 19 and 20 at the Alberni Valley Multiplex.
The two-day camp, said head coach and general manager Gaelan Patterson, was largely a chance for local players to try out for the team. Although there were a few recruits visiting from out of town, the “majority” of players were from Port Alberni.
“There are a lot of good local players here,” said Patterson. “I was surprised by a few of them.”
Monday (July 19) was Patterson’s first time visiting the Alberni Valley Multiplex and he was impressed by the facility. Patterson was hired by the Bombers back in June after spending the past three seasons on the coaching staff of the SJHL’s La Ronge Ice Wolves.
“It’s an awesome facility and I’m very excited to play in the rink,” he said. “Hopefully we can fill the barn up with fans this year.”
Bombers president David Michaud has said previously that the Bombers will be a “next step” for graduating Alberni Valley minor hockey players, as well as a spot for potential Junior ‘A’ players to develop their skills for the Alberni Valley Bulldogs.
Patterson confirmed that he will be working closely with both the Alberni Valley Minor Hockey Association (AVMHA) and the Bulldogs. He was joined at the recent ID camp by assistant coach Mike Doucette, who is also the president of the AVMHA.
“We’re looking for players with a good attitude and good people off the ice,” said Patterson. “I think that’s the most important thing. But we’re also looking for players with speed, players with physicality and good hockey sense.”
The team is also going to be a young one this year, Patterson added.
The Bombers have inked a few players to their roster for the upcoming season, but because they are a brand new team, the roster still needs some work before regular season play starts in September. The Bombers are one of two new teams in the VIJHL this year, along with the Lake Cowichan Kraken.
The Bombers’ first exhibition game will take place on Aug. 31 (7 p.m.) as the Oceanside Generals visit the Alberni Valley Multiplex for the first time. Patterson said the exhibition games are the last tryouts before the regular season starts.
“We expect to have some local kids fighting for spots,” he said.
The VIJHL regular season is scheduled to start Sept. 8. The Bombers will host their first home game on Sept. 15 against the Kerry Park Islanders.