The Fort St. John Senior Men’s Flyers are preparing to defend their Savage Cup title for the fifth consecutive year.

Despite recent cancellations of a few AAA exhibition games, scheduled to prepare the Flyers for the level of play expected in the tournament, the team is taking all the steps necessary to make sure they are ready to defend their title.

Even though nothing can compare to game time experience, the Flyers will be playing inner squad games, designed to simulate the intensity the team can expect during their Savage Cup run.

According to head Coach Darrel Leahy, the team has been focusing on their conditioning, getting the puck deep in the offensive zone and sustaining the offensive attack.

In preparation for the tournament, the Flyers have been holding practices twice a week. Although, as the tournament approaches, that number will increase to three or even four practices per week, including inner squad games.

The inner squad games will also involve players called up from the Flyers affiliate team, the Dawson Creek Canucks. Names such as goaltender Clayton Pool, forwards Kimbi Daniels and Mike Stutzel will join the roster. Dawson will be sending over other players as well, which will depend on the players’ availability.

When asked about the cancellation of the AAA exhibition games, Coach Leahy didn’t mind the turn of events. He feels that practicing more and avoiding long travel to play teams who are not involved in the tournament, can be just as helpful as playing meaningless exhibition games.

The Savage Cup begins March 15 and tickets can be purchased at Ernie’s Sports Experts.