The Beaver Valley Nitehawks celebrate a Game 7 win over Creston in the 2022 playoffs. B.V. will host its Main Camp from Aug. 26-28 at the B.V. Arena. Photo: Jim Bailey

The Beaver Valley Nitehawks celebrate a Game 7 win over Creston in the 2022 playoffs. B.V. will host its Main Camp from Aug. 26-28 at the B.V. Arena. Photo: Jim Bailey

Beaver Valley Nitehawks hold main camp this weekend

Nitehawks coach Terry Jones is excited about this year’s group of returning and recruited players

Beaver Valley Nitehawks fans can get a preview of its 2022-23 talent this weekend.

The Nitehawks invited over 50 players to attend its main camp from Friday, Aug. 26 to Sunday Aug. 28 at the Beaver Valley Arena.

“We are having a three day camp, inviting guys from our spring camp, and so we will assess from there who will move on to the exhibition season and the start of the year when we come back in September,” said Nitehawks coach Terry Jones.

The Nitehawks coach expects to have 12 players return from last year’s team, in addition to eight committed players that includes three defencemen and five forwards.

“We’re feeling really excited about our guys,” said Jones. “It’s going to be a good camp and we are looking forward to see the progress the guys have made from spring to now.”

Players like leading scorers Hayden Stocks (Neepawa Titans, MJHL) and Judah Makway (Trail Smoke Eaters) have committed to Junior A ranks, but Jones expects to see impact players such as Kaleb Percival, Gavin Tritt and Joel and Ethan Smyth back in the line up.

Defensively, B.V. will miss one of its best on the backend, as Jesse Ihas is scheduled for knee surgery. However, Jones expects the committed players to bolster the blue line.

“These guys are all going to provide good puck moving ability, and size and strength on the blue line.”

Up front, the additions of commits Jeremy Hanson, Bobby Hristoff, Caleb Brown, Tim Josza and Bo Beaumanegre promises a mix of size, speed and skill.

“We’ve gone through the process of recruitment with them, watching them play all year. Each guy brings something a bit different. One guy brings the energy, another the skill and speed. We just feel really good about what each guy can bring to our team.”

As for the last line of defence, goaltender Owen Albers will attend the Trail Smoke Eaters camp and is considered a likely back up to returning Smokies goalie Cole Tisdale.

However, Castlegar goaltending product Kyle Kooznetsoff is expected to be in camp along with promising prospects.

Beaver Valley jumped out to a strong start last seson, but inconsistency set in as the team struggled through December and January.

With the commitments and returning cohort, Jones is confident that the inexperience, and at times immaturity, shown last year will translate into a more mature group this year.

“Depth is one thing, but another to be gained from this is learning from our experiences,” said Jones. “I felt like last year, with 19 rookies, we showed that we were pretty close to competing for the title and the league, but I felt like inexperience was a big part of that.

“We’ve got a lot of learning to do and I look forward to seeing where we get to with our process.”

The Nitehawks finished in second place in their division with a 22-17-3-0 record, finishing 14 points behind the Nelson Leafs, who also eliminated B.V. four games to two in the Neil Murdoch Division final.

The Leafs went on to beat Kimberley Dynamiters in the Kootenay Conference final, but lost to Revelstoke Grizzlies in five in the KIJHL finale.

The Nitehawks exhibition season gets underway on Sept. 9-10 with a home and home with the Nelson Leafs, and continues the next weekend Sept. 16-17 versus the Castlegar Rebels. Games at the B.V. Arena will go Friday, Sept. 9 and 16 with the puck drop at 7 p.m.

The Nitehawks season opens on Sept. 24 when they host the Osoyoos Coyotes.

The B.V. Nitehawks main camp starts Friday, Aug. 26 with a 5-8 p.m. ice time. On Saturday and Sunday, the camp goes from 9 a.m. to noon and 4-8 p.m. at the Hawks Nest in Fruitvale.

Nitehawks fans are welcome to attend.

Read: Schedule set for Nitehawks 2022-23 season

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Junior B HockeyKIJHL