The Ridge Meadows Flames aren’t wasting any time this off-season assembling their team for the 2012/13 Pacific International Junior Hockey League season.
The local junior B hockey club announced a handful of new signings last week, and coach and general manager Jamie Fiset hopes they will add some grit and scoring.
The Flames finished with just 11 wins in 44 games last season, and were eliminated in the first round of the PIJHL playoffs by the Aldergrove Kodiaks in six games.
Despite last season’s results, Fiset said his team is not in need of a drastic overhaul.
“We had a good group of kids,” he said. “We didn’t need to blow the team up, we just need to add some pieces.”
Specifically, Fiset said he’s looking to add physical players and scoring depth.
“Alex Smith and Trevor Harris were our only two physical players last year,” said Fiset.
That lack of physical presence was evident in the Flames’ first round playoff series with the Kodiaks.
“They did a real good job of grinding us down.”
Fiset is hoping six-foot tall forwards Jake Taylor and Clayton Lake will provide that much-needed size up front and help the team’s forecheck.
“We think [Taylor] is going to be a big piece of the puzzle for us,” Fiset said of the former major midget player.
Lake also comes from the major midget league, where had 11 points in 32 games for the Fraser Valley Bruins.
“He didn’t put up great numbers in major midget, but he will play a meaningful role with us,” said Fiset.
Also signed from the Bruins are Mike Nolan and affiliate Jared Virtanen.
Fiset concedes there is a good chance some of his signings could end playing Junior A or in the Western Hockey League next season.
“That’s the risk you take, but we encourage all of our players to try out for junior A and WHL teams,” said Fiset. “The players that come to our camp end up better prepared.”
At five-foot-eight and 140 pounds, Nolan doesn’t bring much size, but Fiset said the point-per-game player will add some much-needed scoring with the departure of Mike Bissett and Danny Brandys.
“He’s strong, he plays the puck well, and has a lot of weapons at his disposal,” Fiset said.
The Flames also added forward Chris Nakamura from Hollyburn Winter Club. Fiset describes him as one of the better forwards at the midget A1 level.
On the back end, the Flames signed major midget defenceman Nick Coltura, and picked up Nolan Wallinger from the Mission Icebreakers.
The Flames also picked up goaltender RJ Bruni, who was an affiliate with the Abbotsford Pilots last season.
“I’m very happy with everyone we’ve added,” said Fiset.
“We went head-hunting this offseason, and we were able to pick up nearly everyone on our list.”