The Canmore Eagles wrapped up their exhibition schedule with a convincing 6-2 victory over the visiting Calgary Canucks on Friday night and will spend the next week preparing for the start of the Alberta Junior Hockey League regular season.
Canmore will open the season next weekend with a challenging home and home series against the Brooks Bandits with games in Canmore on Friday (Sept. 11) and back in Brooks on Saturday (Sept. 12).
In Friday night’s final exhibition game, the Eagles received goals from six different players as Coy Prevost, Jacob Ashton, Braden Saretsky, Kurt Hildebrand, Chad Harrison and Nicholas Wihak all flashed the red light while netminder Clark Flegel stopped 18 of 20 shots to record the victory. The Eagles, who went 3-0-1 in the preseason, outshot the Canucks by a 36-20 margin.
Head Coach and General Manager Andrew Milne now faces the difficult task of reducing his current roster of 28 down to 23.
“It’s been a busy week with daily practices and four exhibition games, but I’ve been very impressed with how the pre-season has progressed,” said Milne who needs to replace 11 veteran players from last year’s team. “It’s certainly going to be a transition year for sure, but I‘m happy in the direction we’re going. The players we recruited are doing everything we expected of them. We’ll spend the next week fine tuning our roster and working on our final line combinations in preparation for the Bandits.”
With last season’s top five point producers (Connor Wilson, Ryley Risling, Joe Serpico, Jordan Revie and Simon Philp) not returning, there will be plenty of opportunity for the returning veterans and rookies to emerge as the new leaders on the team.
“It’s a brand new season and a great opportunity for our returning players to take advantage of their increased playing time and responsibilities,” said Milne, who will be counting on 20-year-olds Jakob Lavoie, Lane Olson, Kurt Hildebrand, Brett Schimmel, and Brett Radford to lead the leadership charge. “Our veterans are good character guys and we think our new rookies are fast and skilled.  We look forward to starting the season next weekend.”
NOTEBOOK: Friday’s night regular season opener will start at 7 pm.  Opening night will also feature a complimentary pre-game BBQ (6 pm) courtesy of Shopper’s Drug Mart . . .Canmore Mayor John Borrowmann will also be on hand to drop the ceremonial opening face-off . . .The Eagles Nest Lounge will also feature special $4 Molson draft beer. . . Canmore native Noah Philp has signed on with the Western Hockey League’s Kootenay Ice and his return to Canmore remains uncertain.