You will need a program to get to know this year’s edition of the Prince George Spruce Kings.
Just eight of the 25 players to start the B.C. Hockey League season Saturday in Salmon Arm were with the Spruce Kings last year.
“They’re a hardworking group and obviously with a lot of new faces it’s going to take some time to figure put how we want to do things in terms of our day-to-day prep and practice,” said head coach Alex Evin.
Prince George native Scott Cousins says the Kings are a tightknit bunch that’s already bonded well away from the rink and that has showed in their preseason play.
“We have the will to work hard, we’ve been in some tight games and just the battle and compete that this team brings every night is really good,” said Cousins, 19, the left winger on a line with Skogan Schrott and J.R Perdion.
New Hampshire recruit Luca Primerano is the other returning forward. The newcomers up front are Quinn Disher, Owen Goodbrand, Stein Dostal, Carter Hasselgrave, Dylan Wegner and Japanese import Kazumo Sasaki.
Linden Makow of Vanderhoof is playing the right side on a line with Killian McGregor-Bennett and the two returnees have been paired with 20-year-old centre Alexis Cournoyer who came west from the QMJHL Saint John Sea Dogs.
On Friday, Makow, McGregor-Bennett and Primerano were announced as the Kings' assistant captains.
Ben LeFranc, Luke Schraeder, Amran Bhabra and Kai Greaves are the returning defencemen. LeFranc didn’t play at all in the five-game exhibition season. Schraeder and Bhabra are close to returning to action but the Kings will also be without injured 19-year-old Markus Yim. His leg injury prompted a futures deal with Alberni Valley to get 19-year-old Tristan Taylor.
Noah Lafromboise, Alex Coventry, Evan Bellamy and Swedish import Max Ranstrom are the other new faces on defence.
Marcus Ouellet of Toronto and Connecticut native Ryan Sanborn both looked sharp as the Kings’ goaltenders in the preseason.
Brad Tesink is back as assistant coach and former NHL defenceman Brandon Manning is the new skill development coach.
The home opener is set for next Friday at Kopar Memorial Arena against the Chilliwack Chiefs.