The difference between Junior B hockey and college hockey?
“The players are older, they are men now and not kids anymore,” explains Selkirk Saints assistant coach Kyle Mace. “That makes a big difference because they are bigger and stronger [and] that means the game is a little quicker and tougher.”
Local hockey fans are in for a treat this weekend as the British Columbia Intercollegiate Hockey League comes to the Nelson and District Community Complex Friday and Saturday night. The Castlegar-based Saints will take on the Trinity Western University Spartans providing the NDCC with its first regular season experience with college hockey
“There are four Nelson Minor Hockey graduates on the team so it will be nice to get some Nelson fans out to the rink,” Mace says.
Local Caleb Georgetti is second on the Saints in scoring this season with 14 points. He is joined by fellow Nelsonites Josh Mace, Brady Mace and Jared Parker. Also on the Saints roster are recent Nelson Junior Leaf players Scott Jago and Adam Makaroff. Coach Mace adds that seven other out-of-town players are registered in Selkirk programs based in Nelson.
The Saints are in last place in the seven-team BCIHL, but are coming off a relatively successful weekend in Castlegar.
The Saints took on the University of the Fraser Valley on Saturday afternoon at the Castlegar Complex. Fuelled by a hat-trick by rookie defenceman Caleb Roy, the Saints scored a 7-1 victory in the first game of a weekend set.
On Sunday the goals kept coming, but this time for both teams. Despite another solid effort the Saints dropped a 9-5 decision to the Lower Mainland school.
“The level of hockey is getting better with the Selkirk team because we are recruiting better,” explains Coach Mace, who is also a graduate of both Nelson Minor Hockey and the Nelson Junior Leafs.
“But as we get better so do the rest of the teams around the league. It’s very hard for us to compete on that level so we have to work as a team and grind wins out. We are not the most skilled team, but we just have to play smart, systematic hockey.”
Many of the players who suit up for larger schools — Thompson Rivers University, Simon Fraser University, Okanagan College, University of Victoria — are graduates from the Western Hockey League and the British Columbia Hockey League.
Game time Friday is 6:45 p.m. at the NDCC. The puck drops on game two of the weekend at 8 p.m.