Fresh start for Chiefs

Chiefs players fight over the puck Tuesday morning during training camp at Prospera Centre. - Greg Laychak/TIMES
Chiefs players fight over the puck Tuesday morning during training camp at Prospera Centre.
— image credit: Greg Laychak/TIMES

Blades hit the ice for the first time this season as the Chilliwack Chiefs got things rolling Monday with the 2014 training camp at Prospera Centre.

The players had two full days of inter-squad games and fitness testing in preparation for this weekend’s exhibition games against Surrey.

“Basically it’s an opportunity for players to showcase their talents and their work ethic,” said Jason Tatarnic, the Chiefs’ new head coach.

After the four training camp games, Tatarnic and his staff will narrow the roster down to around 25 players.

That will allow the team on Thursday to prepare for the opening exhibition series Friday and Saturday.

During their exhibition weekend, the coaches will try different player combinations to find the right fit.

Tatarnic, a successful coach previously with the Woodstock Slammers, isn’t the only new face on the team this year.

“There are only five guys from last year’s roster returning,” he said. “We want a fresh start.”

The head coach said in order to build a playoff-ready team, the Chiefs put this year’s squad together “from the back out”.

To create stability, staff recruited goaltenders and defencemen first.

“We wanted a steady team, a team that’s tough to play against in terms of not giving up many scoring chances,” said Tatarnic.

He said he’s excited to be starting as head coach for the Chiefs, and admits it’s a challenge to bring in that many new players.

“But it’s a challenge we look forward to.”

As with every team, Tatarnic is setting his sights on playoff goals.

But he’s looking at getting there one game at a time.

“I think we’ll be a steady team that competes hard every night,” he said. “We believe we’re going to provide an exciting product on the ice.”

“If we do our part, we’re hoping that the people of Chilliwack get behind the team and we have some good crowds.”

>The Chilliwack Chiefs host the Surrey Eagles at the Prospera Centre Friday at 7 p.m. for their first exhibition game of the season. All tickets are $6.



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