The Eagles are looking to rebound after the two worst seasons in team history.

The Eagles are looking to rebound after the two worst seasons in team history.

Surrey Eagles look to feather nest

The Junior A Surrey Eagles have been busy adding new faces.

As the start of the BC Hockey League season looms – training camps began this week – the Surrey Eagles have been busy adding new faces to the nest.

Earlier this month, the South Surrey-based junior ‘A’ squad brought a ex-player back into the mix, announcing that former defenceman Riley Sweeney (pictured) has joined the team in the dual role of assistant coach, as well as the strength-and-conditioning coach.

Sweeney played for the Birds from 2009-’11 before spending four seasons in the NCAA with Michigan Tech University, where he earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree with a focus on sports and fitness management.

“I’m very happy to be back with Surrey,” Sweeney said in a news release. “It’s an opportunity that I am very fortunate to have received, and I’m really looking forward to the journey that will come.”

As the team’s new strength coach, he’ll be tasked with keeping players in peak form throughout the grind of the regular season.

“I want to keep the players as healthy as possible,” he said. “It’s a long year, and we want to keep the players playing at their full potential every night.”

Sweeney is the second former Eagle to join the coaching staff this offseason, joining Colin Hemingway, who was brought into the fold earlier this year.

Head coach/general manager Blaine Neufeld – who will be entering his third season behind the bench – has continued to shape the on-ice roster, as well, with the summer additions of 19-year-old forward Nick Fea; defenceman Elijah Vilio – who played junior ‘B’ last season in Aldergrove – and 18-year-old Pennsylvania native Tyler Riddle.

Last month, the team also traded for veteran goaltender Marc Audet from the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League’s Kirkland Lake Gold Miners, sending forward Gunnar Wegleitner the other way.

Audet – who also has major-junior experience with the Quebec League’s Acadie-Bathurst Titan  – will be tasked with replacing the Eagles’ former starting netminder, Justin LaForest, who graduated from the junior ranks after last season.

The other new additions were not acquired in trade, but rather by signing with the BCHL team. Fea spent last season with the North Jersey Avalance of the Atlantic Youth Hockey League, an under-18 circuit in the northeast U.S., while Riddle – another American import –  also comes from the AYHL; he spent last year with the U18 Philadelphia Jr. Flyers.

The newcomers will join other new signees acquired earlier this summer – Jordan Robert, Jesse Nelson, and Ryan Foley, as well as 20-year-old Darius Davidson, who was re-acquired from the Penticton Vees. Davidson began last season in Surrey but was dealt midway through the season.

In other moves, defenceman Brett Stewart – who played 52 games for the Eagles in 2015/16 – was sent to the Alberta Junior Hockey League’s Canmore Eagles via the Penticton Vees, in a three-team trade that returned future considerations to Surrey.

This season, the Eagles will be looking to rebound after the two worst seasons in team history. The team has just 16 wins in the last 116 regular-season games dating back to 2014.

The struggles prompted Chuck Westgard, the team’s co-owner and president, to tell Peace Arch News in March that “everything needs to improve. It has to. There’s not much lower to go, so we need to figure out a way to go up from here.”

The Eagles open the season Sept. 9 with a home game against their Mainland Divison rival Coquitlam Express.

BCHLSurrey Eagles

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Investigators placed dozens of yellow evidence markers on the ground near the site of a fatal shooting in Langley City early Wednesday morning. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
UPDATE: 22-year-old man killed in targeted shooting in Langley

South Surrey vehicle fire may be linked to homicide: police

Surrey-raised actor Michael Coleman in some of the roles he’s played since the mid-1990s. (submitted photo)
Chat with Robin Williams helped send Surrey’s Coleman into world of acting

‘For me, it was a game-changer,’ says co-founder of Story Institute acting school

Friends and family of Paul Prestbakmo (from left: Barbara Calder, Leah Charles, Jimmy Slater, Angela Prestbakmo and Liz Prestbakmo) gather outside Surrey Provincial Court on Tuesday (Jan. 26, 2021). (Tracy Holmes photo)
South Surrey murder victim stabbed 42 times: pathologist

RCMP digital-evidence specialist also among witnesses

Surrey City Hall. (File photo)
OUR VIEW: Surrey’s public hearings are for being heard

Surrey public hearings of late have been devolving into something less than intended

The White Birch proposal for a six-storey rental-only building at 1485 Fir St. was turned down by council on Monday night. (Contributed rendering)
White Birch developer feels ‘betrayed’ by City of White Rock council

Application for new rental building at 1485 Fir St. turned down by council

Dr. Penny Ballem, a former deputy health minister, discusses her role in leading B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccination program, at the B.C. legislature, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. holds steady with 407 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday

14 deaths, no new outbreaks in the health care system

Rodney and Ekaterina Baker have been ticketed and charged under the Yukon’s Civil Emergency Measures Act for breaking isolation requirements in order to sneak into a vaccine clinic and receive Moderna vaccine doses in Beaver Creek. (Facebook/Submitted)
B.C. couple who travelled to Yukon for COVID vaccine ineligible for 2nd dose until summer

The province is ensuring those eligible to receive the vaccine get the second shot within 42 days

Mask dispute in court leaves Vancouver cop with broken leg

Man allegedly refused to put on a mask and resisted arrest

(Kraft Dinner/Twitter)
Kraft Dinner launches candy-flavoured mac and cheese just in time for Valentine’s Day

Sweet and cheesy treat will be here just in time for the cheesiest holiday of the year

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

SAR crews worked late into the night Tuesday to rescue an injured snowboarder in North Vancouver. (Facebook/North Shore Rescue)
Complicated, dangerous rescue saves man in avalanche near Cypress Mountain

North Shore SAR team braves considerable conditions to reach injured snowboarder

A Cessna 170 airplane similar to the one pictured above is reported to be missing off the waters between Victoria and Washington State. Twitter photo/USCG
UPDATE: No sign of small plane that went down in waters south of Vancouver Island

Searchers out on both sides of border between Victoria and Port Angeles

In this undated image made from a video taken by the Duke of Sussex and posted on @SaveChildrenUK by the Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, shows the Duchess of Sussex reading the book “Duck! Rabbit!” to their son Archie who celebrates his first birthday on Wednesday May 6, 2020. The Canadian Paediatric Society is reminding families that the process of raising a reader starts from birth. (Duke of Sussex/@SaveChildrenUK)
Canadian Paediatric Society says raising a reader starts from birth

CPS says literacy is one of the strongest predictors of lifelong health outcomes

Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion Minister Carla Qualtrough responds to a question during a news conference Thursday August 20, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Easing rules for parental benefits created inequities among parents, documents say

Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough’s office says the government will make any necessary changes

Most Read