Wyatt Meires of Team Blue

Generals hopefuls take to the ice

Local junior hockey club welcomes 60 players to spring tryout camp at Oceanside Place Arena

In the coming season, the Oceanside Generals intend to place a team on the ice that will draw the community to its games.

The rest of the time, the team will go to the community.

“We want to get back into good standing in the community,” said Scott Bickerton, part of the new coaching staff that will guide the Junior B Generals into the 2016-17 Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League season.

“We want to be out in the community more, doing events and appearances. You’ll see the players out there, and you’ll see the coaches.”

Last weekend, the place to see the Generals was the Victor Kraatz rink at Oceanside Place Arena, where the club held its annual spring tryout camp for potential prospects.

About 60 players — including 12 goalies — attended the three-day camp, which included registration and practice Friday evening and a series of eight exhibition games compressed into Saturday and Sunday morning.

“The kids are getting good ice time,” said Bickerton, whose brother, Gerry Bickerton, takes over as head coach after serving as an assistant last season to Brad Knight. Chris Lennox a VIJHL veteran who played with the Comox Valley Glacier Kings “many years ago,” also joins the staff as an assistant.

Foster Martin of Team Grey tries to get off a shot from his knee after being upended by Seth Parker of Team Blue during scrimmage action in the Oceanside Generals’ spring prospect camp Saturday at Victor Kraatz Arena in Parksville. — Image credit: J.R. Rardon/PQB NEWS

Gerry Bickerton had to miss the camp due to a previously scheduled trip, but the assistants and returning general manager Rob Gaudreault kept close track of the players as they bid for a spot on a team looking to turn around a last-place finish in the VIJHL last season.

Along with the younger prospects, most of them from Vancouver Island but including a number from Northern and Interior B.C. and the Lower Mainland, the staff invited back returning players.

“We’ve had an opportunity to bring back a good number of our veterans, which helps because they’re trying to make the team, too,” Scott Bickerton said.

The newcomers and returning players were mixed together on four different scrimmage squads for a round-robin series of games followed by “playoff” finals Sunday.

“We’re looking to sign some of the kids right after this camp and bring them back for our main camp in August,” Bickerton said.

In addition to the goal of getting the team out into the public in the coming year, the program’s goals include advancing players into Junior A hockey and, of course, winning games, the coach added.

The Generals’ program has lost its sponsorship of recent years from Save-On Foods, but Beverley Yelland, president of the board of directors, said an earlier report that it had also lost its gaming grant was incorrect.

“We’ve been approved, and we have our gaming grant in place for this year and the next,” said Yelland.

Just Posted

Parksville powerlifter qualifies for world championships

Buhler sets personal bests in both raw and equipped lifting events

Wires left dangling after van crashes into hydro pole in Dashwood

Road closed while BC Hydro crews dealt with situation

Police go on hunt for distracted drivers in Parksville Qualicum Beach

One motorist ticketed for not wearing a seatbelt and using a cellphone while driving

Motorists attempted CPR on victim in fatal Highway 4 crash west of Whiskey Creek

Witnesses say three vehicles involved in collision; man in 70s confirmed dead

Sparks fly as SUV speeds down wrong side of Highway 1 trying to flee RCMP

Captured on video, the vehicle headed westbound against oncoming traffic before crashing

Fundraising campaign launched for man caught in SilverStar avalanche

In only two days, the GoFundMe surpassed its $15,000 goal

Terror at sea: Helicopter rescues frightened cruise passengers in Norway

The Viking Sky cruise ship was carrying 1,300 passengers and crew when it experienced engine trouble

Search and rescue team helicopters injured climber from B.C. provincial park

A 30-year-old woman suffered a suspected lower-limb fracture in Skaha Bluffs Provincial Park

DOJ: Trump campaign did not co-ordinate with Russia in 2016

Attorney General William Barr said special counsel “does not exonerate” Trump of obstructing justice

Trudeau in Vancouver to support Tamara Taggart at Liberal nomination event

The former broadcaster is seeking the nomination for the Vancouver Kingsway riding

Trudeau calls May 6 byelection for B.C. riding of Nanaimo-Ladysmith

The riding opened up when Sheila Malcolmson resigned in January

B.C. VIEWS: The hijacking of our education system gathers speed

Children taught to strike and shout fringe far-left demands

Judges on Twitter? Ethical guidance for those on the bench under review

Canadian judges involvement in community life are among issues under review

Most Read