- BC Games
Flames ignite for 40th season of junior hockey
The Ridge Meadows Flames are back on the ice, getting prepared for the organization’s 40th anniversary season in the Pacific International Junior Hockey League.
Andrew Ilaender has owned the local Junior B team for the past nine years in partnership with Adam Heath, and plans to make it a special year.
Ilaender was a player in the league some 20 seasons ago, and making a junior team was the accomplishment of a longtime goal.
“It was a big deal to me, to play for the Abbotsford Pilots at the time,” he said.
So he knows how the players feel about their hockey careers, and when he had the opportunity to get involved in ownership, he jumped over the boards.
“I want to make this a good place to play, whether that’s as high as the players go, or whether it’s just a stepping stone for them.”
It’s a busy time for him. Head coach Jamie Fiset is getting the lineup set, and the owners are arranging promotions for the regular Friday night games at Planet Ice.
The home opener will be Sept. 13, and admission will include a barbecued hot dog or burger. They will also have a radar gun to test the hardest slapshots along with other attractions in a tailgating-type of celebration. There will also be 40th anniversary T-shirts for sale.
The game will begin at 7:30, and the pre-game festivities approximately an hour beforehand.
The club has come through a full rookie camp, with four teams of 20 players from across the Lower Mainland vying for spots on the junior B team’s roster.
The rosters are getting trimmed down in anticipation of the coming season, and exhibition games are under way.
Last Friday night in their exhibition opener, the Flames lost 9-1 to the Mission Outlaws. The next night they beat the Outlaws 2-1 at the Mission Leisure Centre.
Tonight (Friday) they will host the Delta Ice Hawks, and then on Aug. 30 they will wrap up the exhibition schedule by playing the North Vancouver Wolf Pack. Both games will be at 7:30 p.m. at Planet Ice.