The Save-On-Foods Oceanside Generals start their season on the road tomorrow night in Campbell River to open up against the defending VIJHL champion Campbell River Storm.
Practising with their full roster for the first time this season, the Generals are fine-tuning their game before making the trip north to kick off the 2015-16 season — their 25th anniversary season.
Players were both nervous and excited ahead of their Friday night tilt with the Storm. After their exhibition game against the Storm, the Gens had a bit of a sour taste in their mouth with the way things turned out and can’t wait to step on the ice again to let it all out.
“We’re very excited,” defenceman Chandler Bruyckere said. “It’s been eight months for me personally with the injury, so I’m ready to get back out there.”
“If I’m Campbell River, I’m thinking it’s going to be another blowout,” he said. “But we’ve been working real hard these last three weeks, getting our chemistry together and really working hard together as a team.”
“We’re not the same team we were last season and we’re going to have to prove it out there on the ice.”
The Generals had some players return to the team after long looks at Junior A camps. Forward Jonah Pearson, who was at the Coquitlam Express camp, returns to the Gens this season after being traded to Nanaimo last year.
“I’m really happy to be back,” Pearson said. “With Coquitlam not working out, I’m just happy to be back here again.”
“It was tough to leave last season, I was happy being here and didn’t want to leave but that’s in the past. I’m looking forward to getting back out there and fitting in with this team as soon as I can.”
The Generals will also get forward Cam Nickerson back in the lineup, who returns to the team after a brief journey to Flin Flon, Manitoba.
The Gens will be without forward Logan Savard, from Port Alberni, who was signed to the Junior A Alberni Valley Bulldogs earlier in the week, giving him a chance to play for his hometown team.
“It’s an exciting time for me,” Savard said. “We went through a lot here with the Generals and to be able to battle through the adversity and never give up on the dream of making it to the next level, I feel that time with Oceanside helped get me to being able to sign with the Bulldogs,” Savard said.
With the roster in place and the team raring to go, it’s going to be a tough test in the first month, but coach Brad Knight said the team is ready.
“The talent’s in the room,” Knight said. “The talent’s going to be there on the ice. We’re going to have to try and be successful every night we’re on the ice and in practice.”
“I learned a long time ago that actions speak louder than words and now it’s time to lay it all out there and see how successful we really want to be.”
The Generals are home Saturday night, 7:30 p.m. puck drop against the Nanaimo Buccaneers at Oceanside Place.