PHOTO: The Canmore Eagles will host the Whitecourt Wolverines to open the 2014-15 regular season on Friday, September 12. (Julie Wilson photo)






When the Canmore Eagles open their 2014-15 Alberta Junior Hockey League regular season on Friday, September 12 against the Whitecourt Wolverines, they’ll face a Northern Division team that has already played more than twice as many games as the Eagles.
While the Eagles played just four exhibition games posting a 2-2 record, the Wolverines played seven exhibition games going 4-3, and opened their regular season schedule last weekend by splitting a pair of games with the defending AJHL champions Spruce Grove Saints. The Wolverines will play their 10th game of the season in Calgary on Thursday, Sept. 11 against the Canucks.
“We certainly will have our hands full going up against a gritty team like Whitecourt,” confirmed Eagle’s Head Coach and General Manager Andrew Milne, who used his limited exhibition schedule to strictly evaluate his younger talent.  “We haven’t played a single game yet with our final roster on the ice, so it will be interesting to see how quickly we gel and how our line combinations come together. Regardless, we better be prepared for an onslaught from the Wolverines right from the opening face-off because they’ll be coming after us right away.  They’ve played a lot more games than us this season, so they’ll try to use this experience to their advantage. We know they have a good team and they proved it last weekend when they defeated Spruce Grove. ”
With the departure of graduating players Nils Moser, Luke Simpson, Trey Phillips, John Stevens, Bryan Arneson, Jeremy Margeson and Austen Hebert, the Eagles will be looking to several new rookie players to pick up the slack in 2014-15.
Making their Eagle debut this year will be defencemen Brayden Biccum, Kyle Craddock, and Griffin Mumby and forwards Logan Ferguson, Matt Forchuk, Clay Murray Steve Tisdale and Noah Philp. Edmonton native Levi Nelson will backup starting netminder Ryan Ferguson.
“We have a really strong group of returning veterans this year and I was very impressed with the new talent that came to camp trying to earn a spot on this year’s roster, “said Milne. “Overall, we have a good group of players and I think we’re all looking forward to getting on the ice this weekend and playing some games that count in the standings.”
NOTEBOOK: Shoppers Drug Mart will be presenting a pre-game BBQ prior to Friday night’s opening game, so please plan on coming a little early to enjoy a free hot dog. . . .Canmore Mayor John Borrowman and Town CAO Lisa de Soto will also be on hand Friday night to perform the ceremonial puck drop to open the regular season. . . The Eagles will wrap up their opening weekend with another home game on Saturday night when the Olds Grizzlys come to Canmore. Game time is 7 PM.