The Selkirk College Saints will showcase British Columbia Intercollegiate Hockey League-calibre action in Nelson this weekend when they host the University of Victoria Vikes in a special two-game exhibition set.
The defending BCIHL champions are based out of the Castlegar and District Community Complex and are looking forward to the pair of games at the Nelson and District Community Complex.
“Selkirk is a regional college and we are a regional team,” says Selkirk College athletics director Kim Verigin. “Logistically we have to base the team out of Castlegar, but we want hockey fans in the area to get a look at the great hockey that is played in this league. The players are really looking forward to playing a couple games in Nelson.”
The Saints are preparing to challenge for their fourth straight BCIHL title in the 2015-16 season. A mix of talent from Junior A and Junior B leagues throughout Western Canada, the Selkirk College team has established itself as a powerhouse in the college ranks.
This weekend’s series against the University of Victoria is a rematch of last year’s BCIHL semi-final which saw the Saints triumph in a two-game sweep.
It will also be a homecoming for UVIC head coach Harry Schamhart who grew up in Nelson and has guided the Vikes to past BCIHL titles. The UVIC roster also includes former Nelson Minor Hockey Association and Nelson Leafs standouts Linden Horswill and Carsen Willans. Both players are entering their second year of hockey at the post-secondary level. Austin Seaman, a graduate of the Leafs program last season after two years in Nelson, is also a member of this year’s edition of the Vikes.
Other than the connection on the UVIC side of the ice, the Saints roster will provide some familiarity for Nelson hockey fans.
In the 2013-14 KIJHL campaign, Saints forward Jamie Vlanich was a member of the Nelson Junior Leafs where he led the league in scoring with 97 points. That was also the season that Ryan Edwards and Dallas Calvin — both now members of the Saints — played for the eventual league champion Beaver Valley Nitehawks. All three players grew up playing minor hockey in Trail.
“Both Jamie and Ryan were key members of our championship last season,” says Heaven. “Adding Dallas to the roster this season gives us three of the most talented offensive players to come out of this region in recent memory. We have been experimenting with them as a line and it’s fun to watch.”
The puck drops at 7 p.m. at the Nelson and District Community Complex at 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday night.
The Saints’ regular season gets underway Oct. 2 at the Castlegar and District Community Complex where there will be a special pre-game ceremony to raise the team’s third straight banner to the rafters.
The University of Victoria Vikes have a strong connection to Nelson in the form of the team’s head coach Harry Schamhart (back) and former Nelson Minor Hockey Association standouts Linden Horswill (left) and Carsen Willans (middle right).