The Nelson Junior Leafs are in for some Thanksgiving long weekend home cooking.
Starting Friday night against the Fernie Ghostriders, the local juniors will play three straight games at the Nelson and District Community Complex. And many out-of-town players will have some extra support in the stands.
“It’s a big weekend for the players with parent weekend and we expect to win all three games,” said Leafs head coach Frank Maida.
Each season the organization invites parents to come and spend some extra time with their kids. With the three games scheduled and other special events planned, it’s sure to be a special weekend for all involved.
Though early in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League season, Maida said the three-game set is very important.
“Every point is important in our division,” Maida said of the highly competitive Neil Murdoch bracket. “This is a big opportunity for us to get some wins under our belt and use it as a building block.”
On Saturday night the Spokane Braves pull into town and on Sunday afternoon it will be a contest against the Doug Birks Division cellar-dwelling Chase Heat.
The Leafs are coming off a Saturday night 5-2 home win against the powerhouse Beaver Valley Nitehawks. Though impressed by his club’s effort on the Saturday, it was the lackluster performance in an 8-2 loss to the Nitehawks the night before that is a concern for Maida and his coaching staff.
“We need to be consistent in all three games,” Maida said of his team’s rather inconsistent play so far this campaign.
Though the friendly atmosphere of the NDCC is always a bonus, Maida doesn’t think the home rink provides too distinct an advantage once the puck is dropped.
“We are a transition team that likes skating, so we love the big ice surface,” he said. “But I don’t think it is a huge advantage over the visiting team.”
The Friday and Saturday night games start at 7 p.m. The Sunday matinee is slated for 2:30 p.m.