Move over Spirit River Rangers, and make way for the Flyers. This could be the year the Fort St. John Flyers finally win the NPHL championship, stopping the Rangers run of five straight championships. At least that’s how the Flyers management feels.
After a year in which the Flyers led the league in the regular season, they were unable to seal the deal and win the whole thing. Training camp has begun for the 2017-18 season, and the team is preparing hard to ensure that this year is different. They also would like to take a run at the Coy Cup while they’re at it.
“We’re definitely competing for the Coy Cup again this year, and for the NPHL title,” said Lee Hartman, Flyers general manager. This season’s Coy Cup takes place in Williams Lake at the end of March.
Thirty players have participated in the two skates that the club has held so far, on Oct. 2, 4 and 11. There are some players who are still away with work that will be attending the upcoming skates. Those upcoming skates are Oct. 16, 18, 23 and 25 all at the North Peace Arena at 8:30 p.m. There is also an inter-squad game this Saturday, Oct. 14 from 7 to 9 p.m. that is open to the public.
But perhaps the best training for the new season they will get will come against the Kelowna Sparta in two home exhibition games Oct. 21 and 22. There’s nothing like preparing for the Coy Cup by facing off against the 2016-17 silver medalists from Kelowna.
“Kelowna has a good team, so that will be a good test and will help solidify who makes the team this year,” Hartman said.
Hartman said the Flyers will have close to the same team as last year, if a bit younger. Unfortunately, there are no Huskies graduates on the team this year, but the team looks good after the skates so far.
The Flyers open the season hosting the Dawson Creek Senior Canucks on Oct. 27.
There will be nine teams in the league this year, up from seven last year, as the Manning Comets and High Prairie Regals return to the fold.
“We’re looking forward to the season. You never know who moves into town and can add some experience. But we got our main two lines back and should be a deep team,” Hartman said.