Friday, August 5, 2011


Here's a little more information about what the Express are up to as training camp is no longer months away opposed to weeks...

Story courtesy of Coquitlam Now:

In just over two weeks from now, puck meets ice.

At that point, the Coquitlam Express will get an early jump on the 2011-12 B.C. Hockey League season.

Re-tooling and addressing areas of need have kept head coach Jon Calvano busy the past few months.

Upon returning from an elite hockey program tournament trip to Boston - where his 13-14 year olds won the Beantown tourney - Calvano announced two more acquisitions for the Express.

The B.C. Hockey League squad, ramping up for the 2011-12 season and a heated chase for one of just four conference playoff berths, added 18-year-old defenceman Jason Bird and 20-year-old centre Ben Murphy.

"We're pretty excited about the camp and the players who we've brought in," said Calvano. "There's going to be a lot of new faces. We've brought in a number of highly recruited players, but there will be plenty of opportunities for position battles and spots."

Bird, a six-foot-one, 191-pound blueliner, was acquired from the Ontario junior league's Vaughan Vipers, where he posted two goals and eight assists in 42 games.

"Jason has that junior experience, he's a stay-at-home type who moves the puck well and has a strong shot," Calvano said of the Etobicoke, Ont. native.

Murphy's rights were purchased after he made a favourable impression during Coquitlam's May camp for import players. Last year the six-foot-one forward played 42 games for the U.S.-based Eastern Junior Hockey League, racking up a team-high 18 goals and 14 assists.

"Last year when we were playing the likes of Surrey and Langley we found that down the middle, while we had the skill in Massimo (Lamacchia) and Destry (Straight), we were lacking a bigger presence to line up against their big guys," noted Calvano. "Murphy's a guy who we can match against those larger players who can counteract their size."

The Express' main camp opens Aug. 23, a full month before they launch the regular season with a home date against Penticton. The club has already committed to a handful of new forwards who will take on the task of replacing top scorers Lamacchia, Straight, Jason Grecica, Mike Krgovich and captain Garrick Perry.

There are five positions open on the blueline, with only Cole Gelley and Matt Hutchinson slated to return.

To help all their players prepare for the grind of a 60-game season, the Express hired Adam Nugent-Hopkins, older brother of the Edmonton Oilers No. 1-overall draft

pick Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, as their new strength and conditioning coach.

The team has scheduled eight exhibition games, including Sept. 2 at the Sports Centre against Simon Fraser University. . The team is now taking registration for its midget and bantam hockey academies out of the Poirier Sports Centre.

The two programs are geared for young minor players who wish to raise their level of play through an expanded, junior hockey-like training session every week.

The midget academy, in its fourth year, is for players born in 1994-96, while the secondyear bantam academy is for those born in 1997-98.

The camps will feature regular appearances by Express coaches and players. Last year's program also featured a variety of guest speakers, including U.S. college scouts, junior coaches and the Vancouver Canucks' Mason Raymond.

Express general manager/ president Darcy Rota said this year's program will continue on the same successful path, which has helped a number of players prepare for the junior level.

"It's the fourth year we've done this and it's been a real success," he said. "It's a unique opportunity for young players to learn and practice with our Express players, to see what the next level is all about, and we have some terrific guest speakers lined up for the players and parents."

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