WolfPack offer taste of old-time hockey
Hockey fans who are sick of rich players bickering with rich owners can breath easy — the TRU WolfPack is back.
“I’ve always wanted to re-visit the collegiate ranks,” said WolfPack head coach Don Schulz, back for a second season behind the bench.
“I really have a soft spot for collegiate players. They play the game for the purest of reasons — for the love of the game.”
TRU opened its B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League regular season with an 8-6 win over the Trinity Western University Spartans in Langley on Saturday, Oct. 6.
The WolfPack return to venerable Memorial Arena on Friday, Oct. 12, when the defending-champion Victoria Vikes come to town.
Puck-drop is slated for 8:30 p.m.
No squabbling about revenue sharing, no whining about the salary-cap floor and damn sure not a mention of escrow payment.
Instead, it’s an old rink, with a beer garden cordoned off by yellow tape, a slew of rowdy fans harassing opposing goaltenders and a group of players who are playing, as Schulz said, for the love of the game.
“They’ve all had successful junior careers and now they’re moving on to the next segment of their lives, but they still want to learn and compete hard,” Schulz said.
“They gotta eat, they gotta do laundry, they have a full course load and then you throw hockey on top of that.
“It’s a major crash course in time management. They do it willingly and you really have to respect that.”
Schulz has fond memories of coaching alongside Terry Bangen throughout the 1980s, leading the Cariboo College Chiefs of the Totem Conference to a host of championship seasons.
A throwback to the glory days will likely only happen if the WolfPack players — and TRU fans — can re-establish Memorial as a scary place to play.
TRU was not overly impressive at home throughout the second half of last season and lost three of its four playoff games at Memorial in March.
“We want to be first this year and we want it to be a hard place to play,” said WolfPack captain Curtis Tonello, who will wear a letter this season for the first time.
“We want teams to come into Memorial and be afraid that we’re going to come out and hit them hard.
“I think we’re going to establish that on Friday.”