The UVic men’s hockey team is looking to kick start their 2013-14 regular B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League (BCIHL) season with a win tomorrow night against Thompson River University. The Vikes recently finished their training camp and there’s a mix of both new faces and returning veterans. Of the 26 Vikes, 13 of them are rookies looking to give UVic a jolt of new energy. But with a team of half rookies you need veterans and leaders, and new Vikes captain Evan Warner is ready to fill in that role.
“I’ve always been the kind of guy that doesn’t say too much in the dressing room,” Warner said. “I try and lead more by example, by doing things the right way, by not taking shortcuts in practice, and making good habits for the team.”
The Calgary native potted five goals and 16 assists last season in 22 games with the Vikes. Warner strives to play on the top line and contribute offensively, but is also looking to play a well-rounded 200-foot game.
“I want to be a good example for other players on the team,” Warner said.
The Vikes’ training camp was earlier in September, and it made one thing clear for the new faces: making this team isn’t easy, especially with the academic demands of post-secondary school. Not to mention the travel and tight schedule the players must follow, and even the application itself is intimidating.
Vikes Head Coach Harry Schamhart elaborated on what he expects of the team this season.
“I expect to have a really strong work ethic,” Schamhart says. “We’re going to have to outwork every team. It’s a short season—only 24 games—so every game counts. We’re going to have to be prepared and work very hard.”
The Vikes hockey team is ready to represent their school with pride, determination, and integrity. All 26 players are ready to get the season going and they are hungry for the first win. The cream of the crop has made the team, and all of them are 100 per cent committed to success, both on and off the ice.
With a mix of young guns and experienced veterans, the Vikes are shaping up for an exciting season. With five other teams to compete with in the BCIHL, a lot of hard work and practice will be required. The Vikes team is committed to practising multiple times per week and travelling while in school; that’s a pretty big commitment.
As Assistant Coach and former player Matthew Maycock says, “To play on this team, it takes a commitment level a lot of guys haven’t seen before.”
Maycock recorded four points in 12 games last season with the Vikes. He has hung up the skates in exchange for a suit and will be behind the bench mentoring the players.
“You have to put in a lot of work as a player,” Maycock says. “As a former player, you know what needs to be done and you can guide players through that process.”
All of the players have tight schedules and must excel both on the ice and in the classroom. “Everyone has to step up,” Maycock says. “It’s going to be more than just an on-ice effort.”
The Vikes are at home Friday, Sept. 27, taking on Thompson Rivers University, a team the Vikes know very well and have had some nasty encounters with as of late.
“They’re a lot like us, they play like us, and sometimes tempers flare,” Maycock says. “Hopefully we can just beat them on the scoreboard where it counts.”
Warner said, “We’re going to play with a lot of intensity, but we’re going to be disciplined.”
The 2013-14 edition of the UVic Vikes hockey team is set; the sticks are taped, the skates are tied and the water bottles are filled. They take on Thompson Rivers University at the Ian Stewart Complex tomorrow night. Puck drop is at 7:30 p.m.