There’s an awful lot new about this season’s edition of the Surrey Eagles – from the head coach and general manager to more than three-quarters of the roster.
Even the team’s uniforms are new – the defending BC Hockey League champions sported new green threads at last weekend’s season-opening BCHL Showcase event in Chilliwack.
The Eagles went 1-1 in Chilliwack under new head coach/general manager/president Peter Schaefer – who replaces Matt Erhart, who left to join the WHL’s Vancouver Giants’ coaching staff – and will play their home opener at South Surrey Arena Friday, 7 p.m. against the Langley Rivermen. On Saturday, Surrey will host the Coquitlam Express.
With so many new faces in the lineup – just five players from last year’s team are back – Schaefer was pleased with how his team looked in the first two games, and expects the team to be even better as the new teammates continue to bond.
“I thought the guys battled really hard (on the weekend),” he said.
“It’s always tough to get guys to feel comfortable at first – they’re coming from all different teams and leagues, but we’ll gel as we move forward. That’s our job as coaches – to get the team to work together and have a lot of fun.
“If we do that, I think we’ll have success.”
Returnees from last year’s team include captain Brett Mulcahy, and fellow forwards Colton Mackie – who is in his fourth season with the club – Nicolas Pierog and Joel Gaudet, plus defenceman Ryan Fraser-Lee.
A sixth member of last year’s team, Michigan native Drew Best, is still on the roster but is not with the team – he is currently trying to crack the lineup of the United States Hockey League’s Green Bay Gamblers.
Of the newcomers, Schaefer was impressed with both his goaltenders – 20-year-old Ontario native Victor Adamo, who posted a shutout in the season-opening win over West Kelowna Friday – and 16-year-old rookie Bo Didur.
“I thought they both played well. I was pretty happy with both guys,” the coach said.
The Eagles played both Showcase games without forward Nathan Renouf, who was injured during the preseason, and forward Joseph Drapiuk – who scored the game-winner Friday – is also out for the foreseeable future with a high-ankle sprain, Schaefer said.