Storm Season Returns

Thursday, August 20, 2015

    Campbell River hockey fans get their first look at the defending Western Canadian Champions this weekend when the 2015-16 edition of the Storm takes to the ice for some exhibition action.  The Storm play host to the Oceanside Generals in a pair of pre-season games (Friday night at 7:30 and Sunday afternoon at 1:30), and will also have all their returning veterans and top prospects on hand for an intra-squad game at 7:30 Saturday night at Rod Brind’Amour Arena.

   Although the line-up is vastly different from the powerhouse squad than won it all last year, Head Coach and General Manager Lee Stone has managed to keep a core of key veterans to build around.  Included in that group is newly-appointed team captain Gage Colpron, who led the team in scoring last season with 84 points. Also returning are forwards Kobe Oishi and Colin Blake, along with steady defenseman Ryan Grills.  Stone made some key off-season additions as well, acquiring high scoring centreman Braeden Cyra from Kelowna, gritty two-way forward Alex Rosolowsky from Kimberley, and hulking 6’5”, 201 lb defenseman Darryl Senholt from Osoyoos.

   Stone expects this weekend’s play will go a long in determining the final roster for the regular season opener on September 4th.

   “On Friday we’ll splash in a few of the younger kids who are still battling for those last few spots,” he says, “For the intra-squad game on Saturday, it will be our top 30 – basically everyone playing in that game will either be on the team or affiliated with our program this year.  Then on Sunday we’ll slim right down and basically play our go-to line-up, the one fans will see in our home opener against Nanaimo on September 4th.”

   The Storm was originally scheduled to meet the North Vancouver Wolfpack this weekend but the PCHL squad had to cancel because of unforeseen circumstances.

   “North Van had a coaching change recently which forced them to pull out, so we’re very thankful to The Generals organization for stepping up to play these exhibition games,” says Stone.

   Campbell River swept Oceanside 4-0 in the first round of the VIJHL playoffs last season but Stone expects a much tougher opponent this time around.

   “It certainly sounds like they’re going to be a stronger club this year,” comments Stone, “With Brad Knight behind the bench and Rob Gaudreault as the new general manager, that gives them some experience and leadership at the top.  In terms of the team they’ll have, I’m assuming they have a good group of players returning so they should be a much more competitive team this season.”

   The weekend kicks off with a Tailgate Party at 4:30 Friday afternoon at Strathcona Gardens.  Among other things, fans can get autographs from their favourite Storm players and 99.7 2day FM will be live on location giving away prizes.