The Silverbacks will open the 2017-18 BCHL regular season tonight on home ice at 7pm, beginning with the first of back-to-back games versus the Vernon Vipers. The Silverbacks will visit the Vipers tomorrow night at 6pm at Kal Tire Place in Vernon.
12 of the 23 players to the start this season are returning from last season’s team. Nic Tallarico is back in goal, along with six of the seven defensemen but just five forwards remain from the 2016-17 team. Josh Latta, Justin Wilson, Grayson Constable, Ryan Hogg and Marcus Mitchell have each returned up front. Julian Timba is back in Salmon Arm after injury forced him home during last season. Timba is joined on the back end by returnee defensemen Riley Hayles, Spencer Hora, Max Wutzke, Akito Hirose and Austin Chorney. The Silverbacks will start the season with five 20-year-old players, which is one under the league limit of six and that number includes Salmon Arm’s own Logan Mostat. Mostat was acquired in the off-season from the West Kelowna Warriors in exchange for 18-year-old Matt Kowalski.
Tonight will be the BCHL regular season debut of Silverbacks head coach Scott Atkinson, along with assistant coach and former Silverbacks captain David Killip, as well as trainer Pam Solmonson who were each hired in the off-season. Atkinson comes to the Shuswap from Calgary, Alberta and coaching hockey at the Edge school. He has a Master of Science in Physical Education and has been a winner wherever he has coached as evident of his five National Championships. “We are very excited for Scott to lead this veteran group in our quest for a National Championship this season” stated GM Troy Mick. “We have a great core coming back and with the future considerations from the trade deadline deals we were looking for a veteran coach to lead them.” Killip has returned to Salmon Arm after an NCAA scholarship at Western Michigan. Solmonson was with the Cariboo Cougars in the BCMML last season where they won the BC Championship and nationally hosted the Telus Cup. She has also worked for the Prince George Spruce Kings in the BCHL and numerous other teams in multiple sports. Pam also has a degree in Kinesiology.
The Salmon Arm Sports Inc. group which consists of the Silverbacks in the BCHL, the Steamboat Wranglers in the RMJHL playing out of Steamboat Springs, Colorado added the Salmon Arm Elite Hockey, Power Skating School and the Maximum Edge Hockey shop to the group in the off-season. Troy Mick who was the President and GM of the Silverbacks is now the President and GM of business operations at Salmon Arm Sports Inc. Atkinson has GM and Director of player personal for the Silverbacks added to his duties. Scott will be responsible for all hockey operations pertaining to the players, scouts, transactions and camps. Brooks Christensen of Salmon Arm is now a full-time employee as the Marketing Manager, along with his previous position as an assistant coach. Brooks role includes overseeing the recently acquired Salmon Arm Hockey School and also supporting the Silverbacks in the Marketing department with Phil Stewart.
Misko Antisin finished last season behind the bench and is now making his home in Las Vegas, Nevada and will be working with UNLV hockey. Darrell Hay is also now south of border and with his young family in Denver, Colorado after one season as an assistant coach in Salmon Arm. And after two seasons as the Silverbacks athletic therapist Jade Viegas is off to San Jose, California to pursue her Doctor of Chiropractic.
The Silverbacks finished August by dealing 20-year-old forward Connor Sundquist to the Surrey Eagles in exchange for future considerations.
Each Silverbacks game is webcast PPV at hockeytv.com Each road game is broadcast live via voiceoftheshuswap.ca CKVS 93.7 FM. Each home game is available audio only at mixlr.com/salmon-arm-silverbacks/