Before the official start of the ACHA season, SRJC Hockey will head out on the road for a few tune up games against some stiff WSHL competition. These games will serve as “extra practices” as the team looks to find its bearings since setting the official roster in late August.
This season 28 skaters will don the SRJC jersey, with an even mix of returning and rookie players.
Last year’s points leader Josiah Nikkel tops an impressive list of forwards that includes goal leaders John Keshishian and Chris Whitten. Sophomores Jackson Waldron and Steve Wolmarins look to make a full-season impact this year, as does Sam Davis in his switch over from the blue line. SRJC will rely on these veterans to provide leadership to the 12 new players who round out the position.
De facto captain Blake Johnson will once again lead the defensemen, with the hard-hitting Alex De Vaughn, sophomore standouts Eric Zagacki and Brandon Bronze and new players Colin Ridenour and Jonathan Durrell.
While a few familiar faces are gone, fans will see Travis LaBrucherie and Dominic Jones return to the ice. Jones will see significant time in the net, pairing with veteran goaltender Jacob Pavsek and the newly acquired Dylan Farinacci.
SRJC also has a change at the helm, as long-time head coach Tom Billeter repositions as general manager and last year’s assistant coach Mike Kovanis takes over lead. Mike Bodulow will also return for a second year as assistant coach, and is optimistic about the new roster and upcoming season.
"I'm pleasantly surprised to see such a significant number of young and promising players who've turned out for the JC this year,” Bodulow said. “I can't wait to see what they bring to the table once the rust wears off and we start playing some ACHA competition."
The Polar Bears will take on the Tahoe Blue this weekend and the South Oregon Spartans the next before kicking off its official home season at 8:30 p.m. Sept. 20 at Snoopy’s Home Ice against UC Berkeley.
For a full roster list, please click here.