Photo by Chung Chow
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
It’s an old cliché to be sure, but an accurate portrayal of the Richmond Sockeyes who again this season—even after turning over nearly their entire roster—are challenging for Pacific Junior Hockey League supremacy.
After netting a pair of impressive victories at the league’s annual Winter Classic held Jan. 3 to 5 at Minoru Arenas, the Sockeyes (24-7-2-1) followed that up with two more wins last week (11-2 and 7-3 over the Surrey Knights) to vault to within four points of first-place North Vancouver Wolf Pack in the Tom Shaw Conference. And they still have two games in hand on the Wolf Pack. With all the league’s teams in action at the Winter Classic, the Sockeyes emerged with impressive wins over Abbotsford Pilots (5-0 on Jan. 4) and Aldergrove Kodiaks (4-1 on Jan. 6). Richmond is just two points back of second-place Delta, also with two games in hand on the Ice Hawks.
As he’s been all season, goaltender Jeremy Kelleway was instrumental in the Sockeyes’ two weekend victories. Versus Abbotsford, he turned aside 20 shots for his sixth shutout of the season and made 32 saves against Aldergrove to improve his league-leading goals against average to 1.74.
This Thursday, the Sockeyes will face expansion White Rock Whalers at 7 p.m. before facing off against the Sockeye alumni Saturday at 5:30 p.m. Both games are at Minoru.
Featuring a collection of recent Sockeye graduates as their opponents, many of the current Sockeyes will be participating in the alumni game for the first time.
The annual affair is a celebration of the Sockeyes’ success as a hockey team, dating back to the franchise’s beginning in 1972. But it also extends well beyond the game, highlighting the importance of giving back. The alumni game is part of a series of team initiatives throughout the year which, to date, have helped generate more than $236,000 for scholarships awarded annually to graduating Sockeyes to assist with their post-secondary studies.