The Chilliwack Jets are 2-0 to start the 2021-22 Pacific Junior B Hockey League season after convincing wins over the Abbotsford Pilots and Ridge Meadows Flames.
The Jets pummeled Abbotsford by a 9-3 count Friday (Sept. 10) and blanked Ridge Meadows 2-0 in their home opener at the Sardis Sports Complex Sunday.
Alberta import Caleb Garet, Chilliwack’s Brendan Williamson and Abbotsford’s Reilley Kotai led the charge against the Pilots, combining for five goals and 15 points between them. Garet had three goals and Williamson scored twice, with Kotai recording five assists.
River Fahey (Campbell River), Blake Clease (Chilliwack), Nicholas Parkes (Mission) and Blake Bryce (Chilliwack) also scored for the Jets, who out-shot the Pilots 43-23 at the MSA Arena in Abbotsford.
Surrey’s Adam Winters stopped 20 pucks in the Chilliwack net, and got the call again for the game against Ridge Meadows.
Winters was flawless, stopping 29 shots for the shutout.
A first period goal by Wyatt Dyck (Lloydminster, AB) got the Jets on the board late in the first period and John Lee (Abbotsford) provided insurance late in period three.
Jets owner and hockey boss Clayton Robinson was mostly happy with his team’s opening efforts. A young defensive group is a work in the progress, but he thinks the team will be able to outscore a lot of problems.
“It’s early so there are lots of things I don’t like out there, but it was OK,” he said with a chuckle. “We’re lucky we can score a lot of goals, so our defence just needs to be respectable. And they’ll get better and better as the year goes on.”
COVID limited the Jets to just six games last season in what was supposed to be their inaugural campaign.
They only squeezed in three home games before the pandemic shut things down.
“It’s almost like last year didn’t even exist right?” Robinson said. “It was almost like starting from scratch again, so it was cool to get out there.”
As he did last year, Robinson has filled out his roster with mostly local kids.
Chilliwackians on the roster include Williamson, Clease, Owen Hopcott, Blake Bryce, Treyson Frost, Lyndon Schroeder and Colby Brooks.
Among the 22 players, four are from Abbotsford, two from Mission, three from Maple Ridge and one (defenceman Carter Anderson) from Hope. Only Winters, Fahey, Garet, Dyck and Calgary’s Kaden Bolter hail from outside the eastern Fraser Valley.
“Last year we went really local with a lot of Chilliwack guys, and this year we got lucky having two ex-Western Hockey League guys (Williamson and Fahey) come play for us. We’ve got some pretty good recruits, some fringe junior A guys who will be here one year and hopefully move up. We had six guys move up from last year’s team and we’re pretty proud of that. Hopefully we do it again.”
As far as overall franchise health, Robinson said they’re coming out into year two in good shape.
He said the Jets didn’t lose money last season thanks to cost-offsetting initiatives like the Junior Jets program, and with the ability to put 210 fans in the stands to start the season, he’s optimistic.
The Jets play a home game Sunday at the Sardis Sports Complex, hosting the Langley Trappers with a 5 p.m. start time.