Phil Alalouf admits he wasn't paying any attention to birth certificates when he finalized the Greater Vancouver Canadians roster for the coming B.C. Major Midget Hockey League regular season.
When the Canadians open play this weekend with a pair of games in the provincial capital against the South Island Royals, they will have 10 15-year-olds in their line-up - the most firstyear eligibility players in franchise history.
The inexperience hasn't been evident thus far as Greater Vancouver cruised through the pre-season with four straight victories including a 4-0 triumph on Saturday against the North Island Silvertips at the Richmond Olympic Oval.
Rookie goaltender Tyler Shugrue, who has been shortlisted for the B.C. U16 team, earned
"At the end of the day, we went with the guys who worked the hardest and wanted to be here. As it turned out a lot of (the 1998s) are the ones that showed up," said Alalouf. "A few people have told us we're the team to beat. I'm not going to believe it but I do think we have a good mix here."
The win over North Island came without the services of perhaps their best 15-year-old. Forward Dante Hannoun was showing why the Victoria Royals made him their number one pick in last spring's Western Hockey League Bantam Draft by scoring twice in a 3-1 victory over the Vancouver Giants on Sunday in Ladner. Yet, Alalouf wants to the focus to be on his team - not the number of bluechip prospects.
A whopping eight players from last year's squad are currently with WHL clubs. Despite all that talent, the Canadians still came up short of winning their first-ever provincial championship.
To make sure everyone is on the same page, a cross-training/team building session was held on Grouse Mountain Sunday. In the end, it was agreed the slogan for the season will be "One Team, One Dream."
"There maybe other teams in the past that have had a lot more talent," continued Alalouf. "But we what want to see is these guys play with the heart and passion as a team not as a group of individuals. It has to be the same thinking on and off the ice."
Complimenting the freshman class is a solid group of veterans. Returning 17-year-olds Scott Munro and Phoenix Worth anchor the blueline and will serve as captain and assistant captain respectively.
The forward group includes returnees Sean Gillespie and Josh Murphy who round out the assistants.
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