Veteran squad fills pee wee hockey roster

The Sooke Thunderbirds will take on the season with a new group of elites.

A veteran group of players will be the heart of the Sooke Thunderbirds Pee Wee A hockey squad this season.

Coach Martin Knowles has 10 returnees from last year’s club, which advanced to the Island finals.

“We were a young team last year and we’re a veteran team this year,” Knowles said. “This year’s team has a good skill set.”

The Thunderbirds are again eyeing a trip to the Island finals, with the goal of making it to the provincial playdowns in March.

Scoring goals shouldn’t be a problem for the Thunderbirds, and they have strong goaltending with Alex Kozinka between the pipes.

“Alex is one of four or five players who we look to take a leadership role this year,” Knowles said.

The three rookies who made the club are also expected to contribute both offensively and defensively.

“They’re fitting in well with the team. They are playing solid and stepping up to play the faster pee wee game,” Knowles said.

Last weekend, the Thunderbirds began the tiering round which will determine which division they’ll play in this season in the Vancouver Island Hockey Association. The’Birds opened against Juan de Fuca on Saturday and wrap it up against Oceanside (Parksville) and Powell River on Oct. 17 and 18.

Knowles expects the biggest rivalry will be with Kerry Park (Mill Bay) and Juan de Fuca.

klaird@blackpress.ca