The Quality Foods Oceanside Generals are happy to be back on the ice.
The Generals have been holding sessions on the ice for a couple of weeks now under new COVID-19 protocols since Oceanside Place opened its facility. This week, the team is staging full practices ahead of the coming 2020-21 Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League campaign.
The start date of the league is still being finalized as it has to conform with Hockey Canada, B.C. Hockey and provincial return-to-play policies and guidelines.
In July, the VIJHL presented possible schedule scenarios. The first is a Sept. 7 start date with a 48-game schedule and three best-of-seven playoff series. The second would see a 40-game regular season with an Oct. 12 start and the same playoff format.
The third option is to start Nov. 16 for a 40-game regular season. Playoffs would start the third week of March with the top two North Division teams facing each other and the top two South Division teams facing each other in a best of three series. Then, the winner of the North Division would face the winner of the South Division in a best-of-three final.
The final scenario would have a 32-game regular season, starting Dec. 14 with the same modified short playoff format.
President Gerry Bickerton said the Generals will continue to develop and train while they wait for the VIJHL to announce when the season will officially start.
The Generals have been making some deals to improve their roster. One of their veteran forwards, Elijah Goyer, has been traded to the Westshore Wolves for goaltender Austin Dendl.
With two veterans (James Brendeland and Jacob Sweet) moving on, Dendl will be expected to take on much of the backstopping duties this year. The 20-year-old played three seasons for the Nanaimo Buccaneers and last season posted 14 wins, 22 losses and had a .913 save percentage.
Defenceman Aleko Karamanis has also returned to the Generals and will be one of the key veteran blue-liners. Last year he collected a goal and 11 helpers in 38 games.
Meanwhile, two graduates from the Generals, Brendeland and forward Will Norman, have committed to the Vancouver Island University Mariners hockey team. Brendeland had 16 wins and four shutouts last season.
“I’m sure excited to get back to school to continue my education and can’t wait to meet the team and get the season underway,” Brendeland stated after he joined the VIU Mariners.
Norman had 10 goals and 14 assists last season. He is also excited to play for the M’s.
“It’s always been a dream of mine pursuing my academics while living at home and playing collegiate hockey,” said Norman. “I’m looking forward to seeing everyone at our home opener in January.”