This will be the second training camp for Express Head Coach Jon Calvano. His first season behind the bench saw the team return to the playoffs with a record of 22-28-1-9 after missing in each of the previous two seasons.
A year ago, as Calvano was embarking on his first full season behind the bench, he did so behind the 8 ball of other teams in the BCHL in terms of recruiting. Things are different this year as the Express bench boss had an opportunity to full prepare for his off-season recruiting while the regular season was underway last year.
Click to here to listen to Express Head Coach Jon Calvano.
With the BCHL shrinking the teams eligible in each conference for a post season position from 7 teams to 4, Calvano knows the importance of how camp can set the tone for building a team that will look to be very competitive this season if it will make a return visit to the playoffs this season. He will have an additional two weeks to prepare for the season this year with the BCHL pushing back the start of the regular season to September 23rd when the Express will play host to the Penticton Vees.
In addition to fewer teams making the playoffs this year, this season will feature 52 of the 60 games on the schedule vs. Coastal Conference rivals. So almost every single night this year the two points that are up for grabs are that much more important.
The Express hockey operations department has been very hard at work during the off season to best deal with the changes in the BCHL this season. They hope their hard work in the off-season and now into training camp and eventually the regular season will pay off with a second consecutive playoff spot.
Some player personnel decisions have already been made involving players who finished the season with the Express last year as Jake Charles, Cameron Lawson, Tyler Griffith and Cody Castro have been released.
Camp continues daily at the Coquitlam Sports Centre. The exhibition season begins Friday with a visit from the Surrey Eagles to the Coquitlam Sports centre. Saturday the Express will travel to Chilliwack, Sunday they're in Surrey for an afternoon affair. Chilliwack and the Express will meet again Tuesday at the Burnaby Winter Club. For the third straight year the Express will face SFU in the pre-season on September 2nd in Coquitlam. And the Penticton Vees will play a rare home and home with the Express September 9th and 17th.