Despite suffering a pair of shutout losses at the hands of the powerhouse Vancouver North East Chiefs last weekend, the T-birds are carving out a pretty solid campaign.
Fraser Valley carries a 16-10-3-1 record into its weekend series with the South Island Royals, with games this Saturday and Sunday at Shawnigan Lake Arena.
Factoring into the team’s success are the nine skaters and one goaltender from Langley on the Thunderbirds’ roster.
Up front are 16 year olds Brodi Stuart (12 goals, 28 points), Aldergrove’s Baxter Anderson (14 goals, tied with Stuart for the team lead with 28 points), and Jonathan Rees (eight goals, 24 points).
Stuart and Anderson are on the Western Hockey League’s radar.
Stuart signed with the Kamloops Blazers while Anderson did likewise with the Medicine Hat Tigers.
Also from Langley are forwards Caden Creasy, Jayden Genberg, and Carter Graham.
On the back end are Langley defencemen Matthew Dyck, Thomas Colter, and Liam Visram.
Genberg, Carter, Rees, Colter, and Visram are all affiliated with the junior B Ridge Meadows Flames, while Dyck is affiliated with the junior B Delta Ice Hawks.
Bilous big presence
One of the BC MML’s most promising goaltenders is 15-year-old Boston Bilous. Already standing 6’3” tall and tipping the scales at 208 pounds, the Langley puckstopper has an impressive 10-4-2 record with a 1.84 goals against average so far this season.
“Personally, it’s been a pretty good year,” Bilous recently told the Times. “Obviously it’s one step ahead of bantam.”
“I feel in the first two weeks, I nailed down some key things and got off to a good start to the first half,” he added. “It’s been good and our team has accomplished a lot of stuff, so far, so we’re looking to progress off that.”
Bilous was drafted in the fourth round, 80th overall by the Edmonton Oil Kings in the 2016 WHL Bantam Draft and will be NHL draft eligible in 2019.
A Delta Hockey Academy product, Bilous was also named a BCMML Star 1 at the U16 Cup.
He verbally committed to play NCAA Div. 1 hockey with the Denver Pioneers, but has since chosen to make Edmonton his future hockey home once his campaign with the T-birds comes to an end.
Bilous said playing in the WHL next season is “kind of the plan.”
“It obviously takes a lot of hard work from here on in, but that’s obviously my goal, and where I hope to be,” Bilous said.
He explained that opting to go the major junior route was best for him. “It was definitely a tough decision. We looked at the pros and cons of both, for sure. I felt college was a great route, but the WHL was definitely better for myself.”
Anderson team leader
The team captain, Anderson also hopes to play in the ‘Dub’ next season.
To get to that next level, Anderson knows that he has to “take it day-by-day and work hard, day in, day out, believe in the system and everything will work out.”
He is honoured to wear the ‘C’ in his second season with the Thunderbirds.
“I just try to lead by example, play the same way as I usually would and let the guys know in the room,” Anderson said.
“We’re all good friends in the room… all good buddies, so that helps.”
The goal this year is to win the league title.
This is an aspiration that Anderson believes is achievable.
“I think we’ve got a tight enough group,” said Anderson, who, like Bilous hopes to one day forge a pro career.