A Bulldogs goaltender makes a save during a training camp scrimmage on Thursday, Sept. 17. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

BCHL: Alberni Valley Bulldogs back on the ice for extended training camp

First exhibition game will take place Oct. 2 against Nanaimo Clippers

The BCHL’s Alberni Valley Bulldogs are back on the ice.

Last week, the Bulldogs announced their 13-game pre-season schedule leading up to the start of the BCHL regular season in early December. The Bulldogs will kick off play on Oct. 2 against the Nanaimo Clippers—the same club that bounced them unceremoniously from the playoffs last year.

In the meantime, the team is beginning to take shape with an extended training camp that started on Sept. 14. Prospective Bulldogs have now formed a “bubble” at the Alberni Valley Multiplex, meaning players are not allowed to be interchanged. Thirty players will spend the next few months competing for 25 roster positions.

“We’ll just slowly evaluate and try to help all these players improve,” said Bulldogs head coach Joe Martin. “The big thing is skating every day. A little bit of culture and how we want to play our game. There’s a lot of team building—just showcasing what it’s like to be here in Port Alberni.”

Normally, the Bulldogs host identification camps throughout the summer. This year, the team was only able to hold one ID camp in late August, where players had not yet been cleared to practice five-on-five hockey.

“Those were more skill sessions,” explained Martin. “It’s only a snapshot of a part of the game—only a small glimpse of what players can do in a bubble.”

The Bulldogs’ 2019-20 season came to an end in March when the team was eliminated from the first round of the playoffs in a 4-0 sweep by the Nanaimo Clippers. They lost a few players to college, and a couple more to trades, but this season’s team will still be a “veteran group” said Martin.

Both goaltenders will be returning, but a starter and a backup have not been selected. Jackson Glassford put up an impressive start to the season before getting sick, but Luke Pearson posted a solid playoff performance in Glassford’s absence.

“They’re both 19, they both want to play,” said Martin. “They both realize there’s only one net—it will be up to performance.”

He expects big years from returning players, like Dawson Tritt and Jimmy Rayhill. The team lost forward Tyler Kostelecky early last season to an injury, but he is “looking good” after a few months of rehab, Martin said. Jacob Bosse, who was one of the team’s highest-scoring forwards last season, has added 20 pounds of muscle during the summer.

“I think that’s going to help his game,” said Martin.

The Bulldogs also added some youth to the lineup over the offseason, with signings like Ethan Bono. These young players are fitting in well so far, said Martin.

The BCHL is still waiting to hear from the province whether or not the league will be allowed to have fans in the stands. The league has issued a request for 25 percent capacity in arenas, but player fees, sponsorship and government support will allow the league to move forward even if that request is not approved.

Martin admitted that it will be strange playing without a crowd, or even with a smaller one.

“Here at home, it’s really nice to play in front of the fans,” said Martin. “We consider it an advantage. Playing here is going to be odd at the start. But the guys are hungry to play,” he added. “They want to play right now, and they’ll take it any way they can get.”



elena.rardon@albernivalleynews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Alberni Valley BulldogsBCHLhockey

 

An Alberni Valley Bulldogs prospect fires a shot on goal during a training camp scrimmage on Thursday, Sept. 17. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

Just Posted

Police closed McNeill Avenue after a workplace death Oct. 20, 2020. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Tree-pruning community gathers in Oak Bay after tragic death

Crews met in solidarity at site of Tuesday incident

Members of the Sipekne’katik First Nation load lobster traps on the wharf in Saulnierville, N.S., after launching its own self-regulated fishery on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Vancouver Island First Nations back Nova Scotia’s Indigenous lobster fishermen

Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council calls for action before lives are lost

Sails down, masks up for Ron and Sherry Pryde, who completed a 119 day journey that was supposed to be 70 days. (Zoe Ducklow)
Coast Guard towed rudderless sailors to Port Hardy hours before a powerful storm

Rudderless for a month, the couple zigzagged most the way home with “a few donuts and lazy-eights”

Police in Nanaimo are looking for a woman who allegedly threw hot coffee on a McDonald’s employee. (News Bulletin photo)
UPDATE: Nanaimo RCMP still looking for woman who threw coffee at worker after already receiving refund

Police asking for information in investigation that could lead to assault charges

The Skeena Queen, serving the Swartz Bay-Fulford Harbour route has been out of action since early Wednesday morning, forcing BC Ferries to cancel eight sailings connecting the Saanich Peninsula and Salt Spring Island. It is not clear when service will resume. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)
UPDATED: BC Ferries cancels additional sailings to Salt Spring Island

With repairs to Skeena Queen underway, it is not clear when service will resume

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry presents modelling of COVID-19 spread in B.C., March 25, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. sets another COVID-19 record with 203 new cases

up to 1,766 active cases in B.C., two more deaths

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
British Columbia man dies during ski trip near glacier west of Calgary

Kananaskis Public Safety and Alpine Helicopters responded around 2:30 p.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, following a week-long break for the House of Commons. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
One crisis after another for Trudeau since last federal election one year ago

It has been a year of unprecedented calamity and crisis

BC Greens leader Sonia Furstenau says British Columbians face a choice between “false majority government” and a “more cooperative, collaborative” form of governance during a campaign stop in Saanich North and the Islands Monday (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
BC Greens leader makes pitch for minority government

Sonia Furstenau calls on British Columbians to reject ‘false majority government’

The Saanich Teachers’ Association is calling on the local provincial election candidates from all parties to commit to making schools healthier and safer for all. (Black Press Media file photo)
Saanich teachers call on election candidates for improved health, safety in schools

Increased funding, reduced class sizes among required changes, says association president

Skiers line up to start the Royal LePage Comox Valley Snow to Surf Adventure Relay Race. Photo by Tim Penney
Popular Comox Valley adventure race cancelled for 2021

COVID forces Comox Valley Royal LePage Snow to Surf Adventure Relay Race cancellation again

Chris Istace campaigning in Crofton. (Photo submitted)
Green Party’s Istace apologizes for remark about First Nations gaming grants being a ‘handout’

Island candidate determined to do better in thinking and communicating matters of reconciliation

Rio Tinto Alcan’s aluminum smelter at Kitimat competes against producers in the Middle East and Russia that have no carbon tax. (Rio Tinto)
B.C. carbon tax highest in Canada, export industries unprotected

B.C. NDP, B.C. Liberals say they’re looking at exemptions

Most Read