Thursday’s Pacific Junior Hockey League exhibition game served as a good introduction of the new arena at Aldergrove Credit Union Community Centre for local hockey fans, and also was a good trial run for the host Aldergrove Kodiaks Junior B team and their management.
It was also a good opportunity for the young rookie Kodiaks players to show what they have to offer, and they did not disappoint in a convincing 4-1 win over the visiting Langley Trappers.
“I was happy with the boys; the young guys coming up from minor hockey stepped up to the plate and showed they are ready for junior hockey,” said Kodiaks general manager Rick Harkins after the game.
The Kodiaks also welcomed quite a few veterans from last season back to the fold, including keeper Michael Lauriente, who came close to shutting out the Trappers. Lauriente also impressed Harkins with his net minding the night before at the Kodiaks’ exhibition game away at the Trappers’ home in George Preston arena — even if it was a 1-2 loss to the Trappers.
Other returning players include Clayton Schroeder, Brendan Marfleet, Dayton Spink, Hayden Vetterl, Jordan Desrosiers, Lucas Thompson, Tyler Cannon, Davin Padgham, John Lee, Nate Castonguay and Ty Pickering.
The game brought out a large crowd, more than half filling the expanded and more comfortable seating areas, and everyone seemed pleased with the amenities and good, well-lit views surrounding the rink. There are large scoreboards at both ends of the ice, providing easy to read play information, and the Triple O’s concession offered a varied menu that was well-received by fans.
There are still bugs to be worked out, as the sound equipment is not fully installed, so play-by-play announcements were not possible Thursday night. And the concession is still waiting for delivery of their coffee machine. But these sorts of minor shortcomings will be addressed by the time the Kodiaks’ regular season opens in September.
Harkin said the players are “thrilled” with the new hometown arena, especially the team’s new dedicated dressing rooms.
“The boys are able to leave their equipment locked up in the new dressing room instead of having to haul it back and forth to their car after every practice and game,” said Harkins.
Thursday’s exhibition game gave the Kodiaks’ management an opportunity to figure out where to place their ticket desk and their arena security volunteers before their eleventh regular season opens on September 1.
Their first game is away at Mission City Outlaws on Sept. 1 with the first home game at Aldergrove Credit Union Community Centre on Wednesday, Sept. 5, 7:15 p.m. against the Grandview Steelers.
Upcoming home games on Wednesday evenings include Mission City Outlaws on Sept. 12, North Vancouver Wolf Pack on Sept. 19, and Abbotsford Pilots on Sept. 26.