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Junior B hockey back on the ice in Maple Ridge

Flames will be bringing back ‘unbelievable’ coaching staff, says GM
Flames assistant coach Mike Legg (left) and head coach Brent Hughes (right), seen here with last year’s scoring leader Nic Amsler, are returning to lead the Junior B squad, along with assistant Brett Sonne. (Xander Holcomb/Special to The News)

Hockey is back in Maple Ridge.

The Ridge Meadows Flames have announced their exhibition schedule for the upcoming season, and the Junior Bs will don the gear as soon as Friday, Aug. 19, at Maple Ridge’s shinny shrine – Cam Neely Arena. They will take on the Port Moody Panthers.

GM Derek Bedard said the roster is still in flux, made up of young players trying to crack a Junior B lineup for the first time, and hopeful veterans who will take their talents to the BC Hockey League when camps open next month.

But Bedard know he will return an outstanding coaching staff, that he stacks up against any Junior hockey staff in the province. Brent Hughes, a former NHLer and pro coach, will head the team. His assistants are Mike Legg, who is famous for having scored “The Michigan” lacrosse-style goal during his NCAA career, and Brett Sonne – a local boy who was a star with the WHL Calgary Hitmen before going on to pro hockey in the AHL and Europe.

“It’s an unbelievable staff,” said Bedard. “They’ve already lived it – what all these kids want to get to.”

Hughes and company guided the Flames to a great season last year, finishing third in the Pacific Junior Hockey League with a record of 32-10-1-1. They lost in the playoffs to the Langley Trappers, who went on to win the 2021-2022 Cyclone Taylor Cup as provincial champs.

Last year’s squad saw eleven 20-year-old players age out, but Bedard said the organization is “super excited about where we’re at right now.”

Some of the recent roster announcements from the club’s Twitter feed include commitments from three locals:

• Defenceman Brandon Osborne of Pitt Meadows, who had 19 points in 32 games with the West Vancouver Academy Warriors last season.

• Forward Adam Konowalchuk of Maple Ridge, who had 39 points in 42 games with the Rustlers U18 team last year.

• Konowalchuk’s teammate and team captain Tenzin Nyman, who put up an impressive 10 goals and 38 points in 42 games as a defenceman.

Two more defencemen who committed recently are Cole Perry of Surrey, and Jakob Loewen of Mission.

Bedard said the roster will have a healthy mix of both local prospects and players recruited from neighbouring communities.

The Flames will play five pre-season games, including three at home – Aug. 19 and 26 and Sept. 9, all at Cam Neely Arena at 7:30 p.m.

“It’s going to be an interesting five weeks leading up to the regular season,” said Bedard.

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READ ALSO: Bedard shines, host Canada downs Latvia 5-2 at world junior hockey championship

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Neil Corbett

About the Author: Neil Corbett

Neil Corbett has been a journalist for more than 30 years, the past decade with the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News.
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