FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — Fort St. John Senior Flyers Hockey Club President Paul van Nostrand says he “feels comfortable” heading into the upcoming 2023-2024 season despite last season’s 3-15-2 record.
Last season marked the Flyers’ return after a four-year hiatus, which began due to a lack of players and continued due to the pandemic.
After only racking up three wins over 20 games played, the Flyers finished last season with eight points total.
Although the Flyers’ return to the ice wasn’t an easy one, the team’s developing confidence and on-ice chemistry became more apparent in every game they played, suggesting their undeniable growth as a team.
“It was really encouraging to see the growth of our team last year and how they matured. I’m looking forward to seeing a little more maturity, more growth, and to making our mark in the league,” said van Nostrand.
Head coach Andrew Leriger retired after last season, and Craig Faulkner and Wilf Newth will both serve as the head coaches moving forward. Van Nostrand says Faulkner, formerly the Flyers’ assistant coach, is “very enthusiastic” about Flyers’ hockey.
“He’s terrific and has a very positive attitude all the time, “ said van Nostrand. “If he can make it on a trip or the ice, he puts all the effort in.”
Although some players are departing, the Flyers’ president expects the majority of the roster to return this season.
“We might have a few new faces maybe come into town,” said van Nostrand. “We won’t really know much about that until training camp in October rolls around.”
New faces may even include players who aged out of the Fort St. John Huskies at the end of last season and are ready to develop their skills further in the senior league, which is generally a much more physical game of hockey.
“I think there will be a couple of players [at training camp], and I don’t have their names, who graduated from the Huskies this past year.”
Van Nostrand believes the former Huskies who make the Flyers’ roster will transition smoothly from the Junior B league.
“There’s a whole lot of hitting going on, and the guys are all bigger and stronger. There’s a lot of speed, too. It’s a different game, and it will be an evolution for those guys, but they’ll grow into it. I’m very confident they will.”
Although the Flyers’ on-ice losses far outweighed their wins last season, van Nostrand says he looks forward to seeing how the upcoming season unfolds.
“I love Flyers’ hockey, and I love senior hockey,” said van Nostrand.
The Fort St. John Senior Flyers’ training camp will take place over the Thanksgiving weekend in October, with a tentative start to the regular season in early November.
More information about Flyers’ hockey can be found on the team’s Facebook page.