Ice Hawks tinker with roster as game action nears

The Delta Ice Hawks continue to tinker with their roster as the Pacific Junior Hockey League moves closer to starting its 2020/21 season.

The league announced Friday the shortened campaign will consist of a 36-game schedule and teams will play in separate cohorts, consisting of three or four teams as per BC Hockey’s COVID-19 Return to Play guidelines.

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The Ice Hawks will begin the season grouped with the Langley Trappers and defending champion North Vancouver Wolf Pack. In December, after the first 18 games, the teams will then take a full league hiatus to quarantine for the second half where the cohorts will then be adjusted for the remainder of the season and playoffs.

The Ice Hawks are finalizing exhibition games with Langley and North Van that could start as soon as this weekend. League play can begin after Oct. 15 if teams have approval from their city arenas.

“We recognize and respect that facilities are all opening at different times and expanding operations. In our scheduling we have allowed for this and have provided teams with the ability to begin play based on their own specific situation, keeping in mind their participation within cohorts,” said PJHL commissioner Trevor Alto.

The Hawks are in the midst of a busy practice week that sees them hit the ice four times over five days as GM and head coach Steve Robinson welcomes some new additions.

Forward Hezzy Mbaja had 13 goals in 23 games last season with U18 Edmonton Prep OHA. The Hawks have also added forward Connor Farren and defenceman Isaiah Colina from the U18AAA Valley West Giants.

Colina joins a Hawks blueline that also features 16-year-old rookie Luke Rybinski, a 6-foot-5 WHL prospect with the Medicine Hat Tigers. There is plenty of experience too with returnees Jesse Conroy (20), Ryan Bayley (19), Bradley Araki-Young (18) Kevin Parra-Vaughn (20) and Magnus Cheung who is back for his final year of junior after a two-year hiatus to focus on university studies. He was one of Delta’s top d-man under former coach Darren Naylor.

To make room on the roster, Robinson moved Cameron Luk and Ethan Gourley to the Surrey Knights for future considerations.

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