Chiefs kick off hockey season in Hope

Community Tailgate Party hosted at the rec centre before game

Lloyd Forman

Lloyd Forman

About 200 fans were on hand Tuesday evening at the Hope Arena for a pre-season match between the Chilliwack Chiefs and Coquitlam Express.

The event got started in the parking lot, with live music by Darlene and Art Boucher starting two hours before the 7 p.m. puck drop. Hope Search and Rescue, Hope Mountain Centre for Outdoor Learning and the rec centre had information displays set up and some kids got a street hockey game going, with nets and equipment supplied by the rec centre.

Before the start of the game, there was a memorial moment of silence for long-time Chiefs season ticket holder and Hope Minor Hockey supporter Caesar Soares, who passed away this summer.

Lloyd Forman then dropped the ceremonial puck and Darlene Boucher led the crowd in the singing of O Canada.

The spirited game was tied 2-2 at the end of the first frame, then the Express snapped in three goals in the first six minutes of the second and Chilliwack could only counter with one. The third period was scoreless. Shots on net totalled 30 for the Express and 11 for the Chiefs.

About 15 friends and family came out to watch the Chiefs No. 15, Jordan Kawaguchi, grandson of Hope residents Mas and Judy Kawaguchi.

The 16-year-old forward had a good chance to score on a partial breakaway late in the second period — but Express goalie Pierce Dushenko made a quick poke-check to negate the opportunity.

Kawaguchi’s dad, Todd, played goalie for Hope Minor Hockey and the family now resides in Abbotsford, though Jordan is billeting in Chilliwack and attending Sardis Secondary.

Jordan was drafted by the WHL Spokane Chiefs but signed with Chilliwack this spring. He is eligible for NCAA college scholarships as long as he stays in the BCJHL (junior A) program.