Duncan’s own Kahlil Fontana will be counted on by the Caps for scoring and leadership during the quick 20-game BCHL season. (Citizen file)

Duncan’s own Kahlil Fontana will be counted on by the Caps for scoring and leadership during the quick 20-game BCHL season. (Citizen file)

Cowichan Caps gear up for intense BCHL season

Cowichan will play in a pod with Alberni, Nanaimo and Victoria

Last time the B.C. Hockey League had a full season, including playoffs, the league semifinals were taking place in early April.

Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020-21 season is just about to begin.

It will be a shortened, intense, 20-game campaign, with the 15 participating teams playing in four pods across the province. The Cowichan Valley Capitals will play in Port Alberni, along with their Island rivals the Alberni Valley Bulldogs, Nanaimo Clippers and Victoria Grizzlies. The teams will be travelling from their hometowns to Port Alberni each game day.

The Caps will play their first game on Saturday, April 3, taking on the host Bulldogs at Weyerhauser Arena. The players finally skated together on Tuesday, following an 18-day quarantine period.

“It took a while to get everyone back on the ice,” head coach Brian Passmore acknowledged. “Obviously the first practice was pretty rusty, but the kids all had smiles on their faces.”

The roster currently consists of 14 forwards, nine defencemen and two goalies, who will be battling for ice time over the next five weeks.

“They’re all obviously looking to get as much game time as they can,” the coach said. “They all realize we can’t dress 25 players, so they’re jockeying for playing time. The first week, we’re playing six games in eight days, so with the travel, that will be draining.”

This is an important time for the 19- and 20-year-old players, in particular, as they need to impress scouts after losing most of the season to COVID. That includes the leadership group of alternate captains Jackson Alexeev, Kahlil Fontana, Jacob Brockman and Max Bulawka.

A more-experienced forward group will be backed up by a relatively raw defence corps, with solid goaltending expected from Lucas Pfeil and Jayden Shull. The younger players will be auditioning for spots on next year’s team.

“With our defence, they will have a lot to prove,” Passmore said. “All the players want this opportunity to prove they can get the job done.”

None of the 25 players have ever appeared in a regular-season game for the Caps, but seven of the forwards, two of the defencemen and both goalies played in exhibition contests last fall. Conversely, the Victoria Grizzlies lost just one player from their fall roster, who they replaced with someone already committed to a Div. 1 scholarship. None of the current Capitals have scholarship commitments.

“We’re hoping to win by committee,” Passmore said. “And not have individual star power.”

BCHL

Just Posted

A vehicle that was driven through the wall of a parkade at Uptown Shopping Centre and into the nearby Walmart on April 9 was removed through another hole in the wall later that night. (Photo via Saanich Police Department and Ayush Kakkar)
PHOTOS: Vehicle driven into Saanich Walmart removed after two trapped workers rescued

Crews cut new hole in parkade wall to remove vehicle safely

A 3.0-magnitude earthquake occurred off Ucluelet just after 12:30 a.m. on April 10 and was reportedly felt as far south as Oregon. (Map via United States Geological Survey)
Quake off Ucluelet reportedly felt as far south as Oregon

Magnitude 1.5 earthquake also reported off Vancouver Island’s west coast hours earlier

Jim Hogan is Ladysmith’s famed ‘Moon Boot Man’. (Submitted photo)
Ladysmith’s ‘Moon Boot Man’ over the moon with community support

Jim Hogan has been jogging Ladysmith’s streets with his signature Kangoo-Jump boots since 2002

Imogene Lim, a Vancouver Island University anthropology professor, has received a Province of B.C. Medal of Good Citizenship. (Black Press file)
VIU anthropology professor receives B.C. Good Citizenship medal

Imogene Lim’s work includes advocacy for establishing Chinese heritage sites

Berwick by the Sea resident Hilda Shilliday, 91, is ready to participate in the Grandmothers to Grandmothers’ Stride to turn the Tide fundraising event that runs April 11-25. Register on the event website for a fee of $20 which goes to support the Stephen Lewis Foundation’s work in Africa, then do any kind of exercise, log the time, distance or whatever and be eligible for a prize package. Photo contributed
91-year-old Vancouver Islander ready to Stride to Turn the Tide

Campbell River’s Hilda Shilliday encourages everyone to support African grandmothers

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

The 10-part Netflix series Maid, which is being exclusively shot in Greater Victoria, was filming near Prospect Lake in Saanich last month. (Photo courtesy Fred Haynes)
Province announces $150,000 towards South Island film studio, fulfilling B.C. NDP promise

Investment to fund movie studio feasibility study at Camosun College

As of Saturday, April 10, people born in 1961 are the latest to be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. (Black Press files)
B.C. residents age 60+ can now register to get their COVID-19 vaccine

Vaccine registration is now open to people born in 1961 or earlier

A new saline gargle test, made in B.C., will soon be replacing COVID-19 nasal swab tests for kids. (PHSA screenshot)
Take-home COVID-19 tests available for some B.C. students who fall ill at school

BC Children’s Hospital plans to provide 1,200 kits to Vancouver district schools this April

Ruming Jiang and his dog Chiu Chiu are doing fine following a brush with hypothermia that saw several people work together to get them out of the Fraser River near Langley’s Derby Reach Park on March 25, 2021 (Special to the Advance Times)
Man finds men who rescued him from drowning in B.C.’s Fraser River

A grateful Ruming Jiang says he will thank them again, this time in person when the pandemic ends

Tyson Ginter, 7, is proud of his latest Hot Wheels he recently received by Quesnel RCMP Const. Matt Joyce. (Photo submitted)
B.C. Mountie handing out toy cars to light up children’s faces

‘A lot of times it will be the only interaction they have with the police,’ says Const. Matt Joyce

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a technical briefing on the COVID pandemic in Canada, Friday, January 15, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s ICUs see near-record of COVID-19 patients last week as variant cases double

Last week, Canadian hospitals treated an average of 2,500 patients with COVID-19, daily, up 7% from the previous week

University of Victoria rowing coach Barney Williams at the University of Victoria in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
UVic, women’s rowing coach deny former athlete’s allegation of verbal abuse

Lily Copeland alleges coach Barney Williams would stand close to her and speak aggressively in the sauna

Librarian Katie Burns with the Fraser Valley Regional Libraries poses for a photo in Chilliwack on June 18, 2019. Monday, April 12, 2021 is Library Workers’ Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of April 11 to 17

Library Workers Day, That Sucks! Day, and Wear Your Pyjamas to Work Day are all coming up this week

Most Read