Hockey’s back and so are the Williams Lake Stampeders for another season in the Central Interior Hockey League.
The senior men’s Coy Cup Provincial Champions open its season Saturday, Oct. 5, against their southern rivals, the Lac La Hache Tomahawks, at the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex in Williams Lake.
Throughout the month of September the Stamps held tryouts every Tuesday and Thursday night at the CMRC. Williams Lake Stampeders general manager Kelly Kohlen said Thursday the final roster, which doesn’t need to be submitted until early January, is beginning to take shape.
“It was as good as can be expected,” Kohlen said. “Turnout was about the usual, and we’ve got a couple new players – a couple young kids.”
Both recent Williams Lake high school graduates and Thompson Rivers University students Greg Nickel and Derrick Walters have been carded to play this year for the Stamps, along with a new goaltender, Cory Moog — the nephew of former NHL three-time Stanley Cup winner Andy Moog — while Kohlen said the remainder of the roster remains intact from last year, including head coach Cliff Philpot.
“We’ve carded three goaltenders this year — Justin Foote, Richard Ward and Cory Moog,” he added.
Vancouver Canucks 2006 draft pick Evan Fuller, Kohlen said, is also back living in Williams Lake, adding he’s hopeful Evan will join his brothers Brady and Tyler on the Stamps’ roster for the season.
Meanwhile, a potential bid to host the 2014 senior men’s Coy Cup Championships is in the works for the Stamps.
Kohlen said the team should have an answer from BC Hockey by Oct. 15.
“We put the bug in their ear last year when we were up at Coy Cup — a rep from BC amateur [hockey] was there and we told them we wanted to host it, but who knows?” he said. “I don’t see why not though. We haven’t had it here since 1996.”
Heading into the 2013/14 season the Stamps hope to once again be one of the frontrunners to win the CIHL league championship, and the CIHL playoff championship — a title that’s eluded them since 2011.
When asked if there will be added pressure on the Stamps to perform this season Kohlen said it’s hard to say.
“Everybody wants to beat the Coy Cup winners but we didn’t win the playoffs so I don’t know if there will be much more pressure or not,” he said. “It would be nice to win the championship and go into the Coy Cup as league champions. That would be nice, but you never know.”
Puck drop Saturday is at 7:30 p.m.