Aldergrove Kodiaks captain Eric Callegari (at left) is having a super season in his final junior hockey league year.

PJHL foes having a bear of a time besting Kodiaks

The Aldergrove Kodiaks have carved their own hockey niche — and this year, they’re baring their teeth.

The Aldergrove Kodiaks have carved their own hockey niche — and this year, they’re baring their teeth.

With a league-best 23-6 record going into Wednesday’s home game against the Mission City Outlaws, the junior B Kodiaks have have bolted off to fantastic start to the Pacific Coast Junior Hockey League season.

This, after a tough end to their 2015/16 campaign that saw them ousted by the Abbotsford Pilots in the first round of the playoffs.

“We have a good mix of veteran leadership, second year guys, and good rookies,” said Kodiaks associate coach and general manager Rick Harkins, an original owner who has guided the team since its 2008 inception.

“The guys have been listening to the coaching staff and buying into what we have to say, and it’s working. From one year to the next, we may have the same talent level, but they (the players) have gotta want it. This year, they’re willing to do what it takes to get a win.”

Lots of competition

When it comes to junior hockey, the Langleys have it covered.

To the north, the Langley Events Centre (LEC) is where the major junior Vancouver Giants live – or at least play their home games.

A sojourn south to the 44-year-old, newly remodelled George Preston Recreation Centre in Brookwood, and you’ll find the Langley Rivermen.

The junior A squad moved to their new/old digs in the wake of the Giants’ announcing in May that they were relocating from the Pacific Coliseum to the LEC.

Finally there’s the Kodiaks, who play their home game in the cozy confines of Aldergrove Arena.

The Kodiaks have a loyal fan base with, Harkins noted, “the best attendance in the PJHL.”

“For us being in Aldergrove, it’s a small community which is why the Kodiaks have been successful,” Harkins said.

“With the sponsorship from community businesses, everybody backs us so well. It’s unreal and we can’t thank the community enough.”

Harkins continued, “I make sure the boys are part of the community. It’s about giving back and making sure these boys know that without community support, there wouldn’t be a Kodiak hockey team.”

Harkins noted that the Kodiaks have a solid relationship with the junior A Rivermen.

“It’s not a competition,” he said. “If anything, they are trying to help us succeed. It’s not like we’re all at the same level of hockey. We’re all feeding off each other and needing each other to survive.”

As well, the Kodiaks’ Wednesday night home games don’t typically conflict with either the Rivermen or Giants, both of whom — more often than not — play the bulk of their home games on weekends.

“We seem to have our own little niche and it’s worked very well,” Harkins said.

If a planned new 550-seat arena complex in Aldergrove is up and running in time for the 2018/19 season, the Kodiaks will be saying goodbye to Aldergrove Arena.

“We’re going to miss it, Harkins said. “On one end, we can’t wait for the new arena to be built, but we’re going to miss the confines and the ice surface, and the ice maintenance is the best around. With the way (Aldergrove Arena) is built, the crowd really feels like they’re part of it.”

Vets leading the way

Leading the Kodiaks is their 20-year-old captain, Langley’s Eric Callegari, who leads the PJHL loop in goals (22) and is second in total points (47).

Callegari is being helped out up front by another 20-year-old, Cameron Davitt, who has posted 19 goals and 39 points thus far.

“There’s a difference between putting up points and helping a team win,” Harkins said, about Callegari and Davitt. “At 20, they’re still doing it for a reason, not just finishing their final year. Eric is going to SFU next year still playing with a purpose, and with Cameron, it’s the same kind of thing. His hockey won’t end next  year — he’s got a few options.”

As well, 19-year-old defenceman Elijah Vilio is tops among PJHL blueliners with 26 points, including 20 assists.

 

Just Posted

VIDEO: Flames consume small building at Langley Events Centre

Thursday afternoon demo shows the importance of having sprinklers installed

Langley program helps youth find their employment niche

The first session of Skills to Success youth employment program wrapped up and a second has started.

Charges laid in 2016 Mission crash that killed Langley teenager

Lidia Ramos died when the car she was riding in slipped off a logging road in heavy rain

Two Langley fire trucks collide on black ice

The fire trucks were being used to block vehicles from icy hill when they started sliding

March 3 ‘hoot-ennany’ at Campbell Valley Park free for all ages

Family friendly event features skull and feather displays, activities, crafts and games

B.C. Games open with Olympic touch

The 2018 B.C. Winter Games kicked off in Kamloops

B.C. ski cross racer wins Olympic gold

Kelowna’s Kelsey Serwa wins the gold medal in thrilling fashion in PyeongChang

More snow expected on the Coquihalla, Highway 3

Environment Canada says five to 10 centimetres will come down between Friday and Saturday mornings

New charges against ex-Trump campaign associates

More charges were laid Thursday against President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman and his business associate

Man accused in death of Winnipeg teen Tina Fontaine not guilty

Raymond Cormier was accused of killing Indigenous 15-year-old and dumping her body in the Red River

Okanagan real estate agents brace for speculation tax impact

“There’s a real potential for a domino effect to hurt the market in Kelowna.”

Alberta drops B.C. wine boycott, Notley says Horgan ‘blinked’ on pipeline

B.C. government announces court reference on proposed diluted bitumen restriction

Aldergrove Kodiaks take 7-5 win over Flames: ACTION PHOTOS

Kodiaks stave off elimination in game four of PJHL playoffs series

Lane closures on Alex Fraser, Port Mann bridges considered to avoid ‘ice bombs’

Province spent $5 million clearing both bridges last years

Most Read