Starting any new season is an exciting time for any team but for the Richmond Sockeyes skating into their fifty-second season is one filled with not only excitement but also enthusiasm.
This past summer BC Hockey has reclassified all three Junior B leagues to have their status elevated to Tier 2 Junior A with a three-year window in place to Tier 1 Junior A.
It’s important to know that there are 45 Junior A Tier 2 teams with 20 (KIJHL), 11 (VIJHL) and 14 in the PJHL with the possibility of expansion in the future.
The history of the team dates back to 1972 with Bruce Allison as the original owner with the thought of giving local players a chance to play in their home area as well as stay in school.
One of the current owners Doug Patterson was the team’s first Captain of the Junior B franchise that had success then saw the team status elevated to Junior A in the PAC League eventually joining the BCJALL.
The off-season saw the loss of Richmond Sockeyes Alumni Ray Sawada who tragically passed away in April that has the upcoming season dedicated to the memory of Ray.
Entering the 2023-24 season is a new look for the team bringing on a new coaching staff from last season with their sights set on not only making the playoffs but pulling out a championship.
While changes were made in the off-season the Sockeye’s thank the previous staff for their work with the team and wish them much success moving forward.
This season Cullen Revel heads the coaching staff with Associate Coach Bob Delorme, along with Assistant Coaches Hardarshan Hoonjan and Spencer Beattie with Sukhjit Sanghera keeping the players healthy.
Training camp started early in July that saw an impressive turnout of players looking to crack the line-up being put through vigorous sessions forcing the coaching staff to make tough decisions.
Decisions on the ice continue to be tough, but one that is welcomed is hearing that Mathew Steward not only returns, but will fill the role of Captain.
His overall playing style of grit, hard work and determination is a choice that the coaches clearly could not overlook.
This season the Sockeyes have set their sights focused on “Community First” working with various schools and groups to put a first class product on the ice as well as showcase the City of Richmond.
Mini-minor hockey games will continue to be a between period feature that allows young players to be a “Junior Sockeye” along with between period interviews adding to the Sockeye Birthday Club.
The Sockeyes continue to work with Richmond Minor Hockey Association promoting “7th-Man-In” who wears a special jersey and skates a lap in the pre-game ceremony.
Richmond hosts the newest expansion team in the PJHL, the PoCo TrailBlazers in their home opener September 7th with the face-off set for 7 pm.
All games at 7 pm
September 14th Grandview Steelers
September 21st North Van Wolfpack
September 28th Port Moody Panthers