It wasn’t the start to the season that the Fort St. John Flyers, or any team for that matter, would like. It was pretty much the opposite, as losing 7-0 to the division rival Grande Prairie Athletics is a rough way to start the 2017-18 campaign.
The effort was there for the Flyers, as they were only outshot 33-31, but the bounces and second-chance opportunities were not, according to General Manager Lee Hartman.
“I think the score was disappointing, but the play wasn’t horribly disappointing,” Hartman said.
The Flyers won’t have much time to dwell on the loss as they are back on the road Thursday, Nov. 2 in Dawson Creek to take on the Senior Canucks. Unfortunately, the Flyers won’t have much practice time as they are losing most of their ice time due to the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.
“We’ll get on the ice in Dawson and take our lumps there, and see how we do,” Hartman said.
From there, the Canucks will travel to Falher to play the Pirates on Nov. 9. Hartman said Falher is set to have a good team this year as well and will be a strong challenge.
The Flyers don’t play at home until Nov. 16, when they host the Pirates, and will finally get some ample ice time to practice.
The team is future-focused, seeing the first couple games as an extension of the pre-season and an opportunity to build up to speed by mid-November. The game against the Athletics was the first time the Flyers played their set lines, as they saw the exhibition series against the Kelowna Sparta as a chance to get all the players into the games, even the ones who might not make the team.
Even with all their forwards coming out to Grande Prairie for the first game, the Flyers still didn’t have a full team, as they only iced three defensemen. Hartman and coach Andrew Leriger were pleased with how the team played considering that, and felt good about the turnout overall.
“We weren’t disappointed about the turnout for guys,” Hartman said.
The game on Nov. 2 in Dawson Creek is the first game for the Senior Canucks and the second overall game in the NPHL season.