There was a shark lurking among the young salmon on Thursday night at Minoru Arenas.
The Richmond Sockeyes welcomed Evander Kane to their practice as the San Jose Shark forward was looking for some extra work prior to departing south for his training camp. The Vancouver native once called Minoru his home rink during his one season as a 15-year-old in the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League with the Greater Vancouver Canadians.
The evening session was the last before the Sockeyes head to Vancouver Island this weekend for a two-game exhibition series against the Campbell River Storm. The teams will square off on Saturday night and once again on Sunday morning.
The Storm have been a perennial powerhouse in the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League.
“It’s a chance for us to get out and do some team building right before the season starts,” said Sockeyes head coach Brett Reusch.
Richmond is 0-2 in the pre-season but will look like a vastly different team than the one that dropped a pair to the White Rock Whalers. At that time, 11 potential regulars were attending junior “A” camps and now have mostly trickled back including last year’s top two scorers — Marcus Pantazis and Craig Schouten — after stints with Merritt and Chilliwack respectively.
“We have pretty well our opening day roster after our final releases,” added Ruesch. “There might be one or two minor tweaks but we can carry 25 so we are not in a huge rush.
“Campbell River is very competitive every year as our we so it will be nice to see where we match-up early on. I’m sure they will dress pretty well their opening day roster as well so it will be pretty exciting to see how it goes.”
The Sockeyes open the Pacific Junior Hockey League regular season next Thursday when White Rock visits Minoru at 7 p.m.