Amid the excitement of the 2009/2010 season, the Fort St. John Flyers opened their training camp on Wednesday night.
Coach Adam Brash, returning for his third season behind the bench, will lead the Senior Flyers into their 51st season in team history, but one certain to be unlike any other. Fort St. John is set to host the 2010 Allan Cup in April, providing the team its first appearance on the national stage.
A guaranteed Allan Cup birth can often mean an influx of players eager to win spots, though on Wednesday, there weren’t too many strangers lacing up skates.
A couple of new faces:
Blake Sheane – a former Central Hockey League player originally from Manitoba.
Rob Wells – a Whitehorse native who recently moved to Fort St. John.
Nathan Waberski, Darren Peebles – former Fort St. John Flyers.
Bryce Novak, Adam Horst – former Fort St. John Huskies.
A couple of notable absences:
Adam Loncan and Dustin Kersey are both rumoured to be skating with the re-formed Dawson Creek Senior Canucks.
Captain David Alexander and star-defenceman Kip Noble missed practice on Wednesday, but are expected to lead the Flyers through the season.
The camp continues twice weekly until mid-october, when the Flyers begin the NPHL season.
2009-10 Fort St. John Flyers Schedule:
Sat., Oct. 17 vs. Grande Prairie*** (rescheduled game)
Fri., Oct 30 vs. Spirit River
Sat., Nov. 14 at Dawson Creek
Fri., Nov. 20 at Hythe
Sat., Nov. 21 vs. Dawson Creek
Thu., Nov. 26 at Grande Prairie
Thu., Dec. 3 at Dawson Creek
Sat., Dec. 5 at Spirit River
Thu., Dec. 10 at Grande Prairie
Fri., Dec. 18 vs. Dawson Creek
Sat., Dec. 19 at Hythe
Sat., Jan. 2 vs. Hythe
Thu., Jan. 7 vs. Dawson Creek
Thu., Jan. 14 at Hythe
Sat., Jan 16 vs. Spirit River
Sat., Jan. 23 vs. Grande Prairie
Fri., Jan. 29 at Spirit River
Sat., Jan. 30 at Grande Prairie
Thu., Feb. 4 vs. Hythe
Sat., Feb. 6 vs. Spirit River
The schedule has an upside and a downside. On the upside, the Flyers will take on only teams from the NPHL’s west division, which means the regular season should see more competitive games, and less lop-sided blowouts.
On the downside, the Flyers will not be playing in the NPHL playoffs, which leaves a glaring two-month gap between the end of the season and the Allan Cup. Like last year, team management is currently working out the details of some exhibition series, including potential matchups against Stony Plain, Bentley, and Whitehorse.
In addition, the Powell River Regals are reported to have registered as ‘AAA’ this season, meaning the Flyers may get a chance to defend the Savage Cup, which has resided in the North Peace Arena’s trophy case since they first won it in 2007.
The 2010 Allan Cup runs from April 19-24 2010, in Fort St. John.