A Bulldogs goaltender makes a save during a training camp scrimmage on Thursday, Sept. 17. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

BCHL: Alberni Valley Bulldogs back on the ice for extended training camp

First exhibition game will take place Oct. 2 against Nanaimo Clippers

The BCHL’s Alberni Valley Bulldogs are back on the ice.

Last week, the Bulldogs announced their 13-game pre-season schedule leading up to the start of the BCHL regular season in early December. The Bulldogs will kick off play on Oct. 2 against the Nanaimo Clippers—the same club that bounced them unceremoniously from the playoffs last year.

In the meantime, the team is beginning to take shape with an extended training camp that started on Sept. 14. Prospective Bulldogs have now formed a “bubble” at the Alberni Valley Multiplex, meaning players are not allowed to be interchanged. Thirty players will spend the next few months competing for 25 roster positions.

“We’ll just slowly evaluate and try to help all these players improve,” said Bulldogs head coach Joe Martin. “The big thing is skating every day. A little bit of culture and how we want to play our game. There’s a lot of team building—just showcasing what it’s like to be here in Port Alberni.”

Normally, the Bulldogs host identification camps throughout the summer. This year, the team was only able to hold one ID camp in late August, where players had not yet been cleared to practice five-on-five hockey.

“Those were more skill sessions,” explained Martin. “It’s only a snapshot of a part of the game—only a small glimpse of what players can do in a bubble.”

The Bulldogs’ 2019-20 season came to an end in March when the team was eliminated from the first round of the playoffs in a 4-0 sweep by the Nanaimo Clippers. They lost a few players to college, and a couple more to trades, but this season’s team will still be a “veteran group” said Martin.

Both goaltenders will be returning, but a starter and a backup have not been selected. Jackson Glassford put up an impressive start to the season before getting sick, but Luke Pearson posted a solid playoff performance in Glassford’s absence.

“They’re both 19, they both want to play,” said Martin. “They both realize there’s only one net—it will be up to performance.”

He expects big years from returning players, like Dawson Tritt and Jimmy Rayhill. The team lost forward Tyler Kostelecky early last season to an injury, but he is “looking good” after a few months of rehab, Martin said. Jacob Bosse, who was one of the team’s highest-scoring forwards last season, has added 20 pounds of muscle during the summer.

“I think that’s going to help his game,” said Martin.

The Bulldogs also added some youth to the lineup over the offseason, with signings like Ethan Bono. These young players are fitting in well so far, said Martin.

The BCHL is still waiting to hear from the province whether or not the league will be allowed to have fans in the stands. The league has issued a request for 25 percent capacity in arenas, but player fees, sponsorship and government support will allow the league to move forward even if that request is not approved.

Martin admitted that it will be strange playing without a crowd, or even with a smaller one.

“Here at home, it’s really nice to play in front of the fans,” said Martin. “We consider it an advantage. Playing here is going to be odd at the start. But the guys are hungry to play,” he added. “They want to play right now, and they’ll take it any way they can get.”



elena.rardon@albernivalleynews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Alberni Valley BulldogsBCHLhockey

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

An Alberni Valley Bulldogs prospect fires a shot on goal during a training camp scrimmage on Thursday, Sept. 17. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

Just Posted

Chantal Schwark, left with Gerri Gill and Elle Schwark, 11 months old in the pumpkin patch at Arrowvale Farm. (SONJA DRINKWATER/ Alberni Valley News)
Final day for Arrowvale pumpkin patch is Oct. 25

Drive down to the patch and pick your own pumpkin

NDP headquarters on election night, Oct. 24, 2020. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
ELECTION 2020: Live blog from B.C. party headquarters

BC NDP projected to win majority government – but celebrations will look different this election

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

John Horgan has been re-elected the MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca. (File-Black Press)
Horgan trounces challengers to be re-elected in his Vancouver Island riding

MLA has represented constituency of Langford-Juan de Fuca and its predecessors since 2005

NDP Leader John Horgan celebrates his election win in the British Columbia provincial election in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan celebrates projected majority NDP government, but no deadline for $1,000 deposit

Premier-elect says majority government will allow him to tackle issues across all of B.C.

FILE – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets Premier John Horgan during a press conference at the BC Transit corporate office following an announcement about new investments to improve transit for citizens in the province while in Victoria on Thursday, July 18, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Trudeau congratulates Horgan on NDP’s election victory in British Columbia

Final count won’t be available for three weeks due to the record number of 525,000 ballots cast by mail

Comedic actor Seth Rogen, right, and business partner Evan Goldberg pose in this undated handout photo. When actor Seth Rogen was growing up and smoking cannabis in Vancouver, he recalls there was a constant cloud of shame around the substance that still lingers. Rogen is determined to change that. (Maarten de Boer ohoto)
Seth Rogen talks about fighting cannabis stigma, why pot should be as accepted as beer

‘I smoke weed all day and every day and have for 20 years’

Provincial Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau speaks at Provincial Green Party headquarters at the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe in Victoria. (Arnold Lim / Black Press)
VIDEO: Furstenau leads BC Greens to win first riding outside of Vancouver Island

Sonia Furstenau became leader of BC Greens one week before snap election was called

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

NDP Leader John Horgan elbow bumps NDP candidate Coquitlam-Burke Mountain candidate Fin Donnelly following a seniors round table in Coquitlam, B.C., Tuesday, October 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan, NDP head for majority in B.C. election results

Record number of mail-in ballots may shift results

The Canadian border is pictured at the Peace Arch Canada/USA border crossing in Surrey, B.C. Friday, March 20, 2020. More than 4.6 million people have arrived in Canada since the border closed last March and fewer than one-quarter of them were ordered to quarantine while the rest were deemed “essential” and exempted from quarantining. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Majority of international travellers since March deemed ‘essential’, avoid quarantine

As of Oct. 20, 3.5 million travellers had been deemed essential, and another 1.1 million were considered non-essential

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

Most Read