Langley Rivermen forward Aiden Wagner went airborne while absorbing a check from Coquitlam Express defenceman Dante DiNapoli in B.C. Hockey League pre-season action at Coquitlam’s Poirier Sport & Leisure Complex. Troy Landreville Langley Times

Rivermen ready for season’s start

Langley junior A hockey club begins 2017/18 campaign this weekend

With the pre-season now in the books, the Langley Rivermen cast their focus on final roster cuts and getting ready for the 2017/18 BCHL regular season.

Langley’s junior A hockey squad finished exhibition play with a 3-3 mark after dropping a pair of games to the Wenatchee Wild, 3-2 on Friday and 8-3 on Saturday.

But those results aside, head coach and general manager Bobby Henderson likes the way his team is shaping up.

“We have a good core to start and added a couple of recruits we feel are pretty high end, so we feel like we are going to be in the mix again,” he said.

“(And) we feel we have gotten bigger and stronger on the back-end this year.

“We like the way we skate, we like our physicality (and) we think we can match up well physically with any team and can play any way.”

Last year’s Rivermen squad was seventh overall among the 17 teams with a 30-20-6-2 record before falling in the first round of the Mainland Division semifinals.

“We had a lot of kids who hadn’t played a full season in the league,” Henderson said, adding the players learned how important each game was as well as the stresses and pressure of playing in front of large crowds.

“(But) they got a taste of that and want some more and go further.”

The Rivermen will be captained by Brendan Budy.

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The Rivermen begin the season in Surrey on Friday (Sept. 8) with a road game against the Eagles.

The team’s home opener at the George Preston Recreation Centre is set for Sept. 16 against the Chilliwack Chiefs at 7 p.m.

sports@langleytimes.com