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An in-depth look at the Salmon Arm Silverbacks

With the season set to open in early April, it will be a short and sweet outing with only 18-20 games projected with only the potential for playoffs. Many players haven’t had a regular season on-ice match-up since March 6, 2020, and have been training for the moment to step on the ice since then.

The uncertainty of the season had implications for many teams and their prospective roster going into the 2020-21 season. There have been a vast amount of line-up changes, and a handful of shuffling on teams rosters heading into the season.

Salmon Arm has undergone reconstruction during this prolonged off-season and made a lot of key adjustments to their team. It appears the Backs could be looking to set themselves up for future success with a handful of young commits, and a newly established goalie tandem.

 An overview of the veterans and rookies

For 2000-born players, this is their last glimpse in junior hockey, and a final chance to achieve a scholarship.

In Salmon Arm, uncommitted forwards Logan Shaw and Drew Bennett along with Dartmouth College commit Nick Unruh have rejoined the team.

Newly acquired and Cornell University commit Sullivan Mack also joins the 2000-born age group, and last but not least, defenseman and captain Hunter Sansbury, who’s set to attend Sacred Heart University, leads this pack of grizzled veterans.

This season gives the experienced players a chance to see the ice with the Silverbacks for one last bout.

As well, the Silverbacks have the addition of a lot of fresh faces, but only four make up the youngest of the bunch. Noah Serdachny and Mathieu Bourgault are the only pair of 2003-born rookie forwards stepping on the ice but are accompanied in age by rookie netminder Liam Vanderkooi. The youngest of these rookies is 2004-born forward Aidan Lindblad, who previously played U18 AAA for the Thompson Blazers.

These impressionable players are all uncommitted and will get a much-needed opportunity to experience junior A hockey alongside their veteran counterparts. The season provides these players with a taste of the high-intensity play that is the BCHL. This window will hopefully give these rookies the confidence and knowledge they need in order to move forward with the Silverbacks in the coming years.

Fresh faces and returning players

The list of newly required players is rather lengthy as Salmon Arm has set up a completely new dynamic for its 2020-21 roster. The Silverbacks are joined by four new 2002-born defensemen, including University of Nebraska commit Joaquim Lemay, Yale University-bound Tucker Hartmann, Northern Michigan University prospect Lucas Matta, and uncommitted William Lavigne.

Seven forwards make up the remaining spots up front and will dress as a Silverback for the first time when the puck drops.

The fresh group of 2002-born forwards is Philippe Jacques, Julian Recine, Braden Fischer, and Nathan Morgan. Of the four, only Morgan has an NCAA commitment in his pocket as he heads to Dartmouth College this fall.

Cameron Recchi, Danny Ciccarello, and Daniel Panetta are the all-new 2001-born forwards. Ciccarello is committed to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Panetta is off to Colgate University, both this September.

The last player of the newly acquired 2001 age group is Owen Say, who is looking to take on the top job between the pipes. The product of London, Ontario doesn’t have a college commitment under his belt.

This new and improved Silverbacks team has definitely been a work in progress and it will be exciting to watch them build chemistry across the season. For the complete list of “Meet the Silverbacks”, head over to Salmon Arm’s Twitter where they have more background on these fresh faces.

The only pair of familiar faces who haven’t aged out are forward Simon Tassy and defenseman Kieran Ruscheinski. Both of these sophomores are looking to impress scouts and acquire scholarships with their second season in Salmon Arm.

What to expect with the newly designed Silverbacks

Salmon Arm seems content with its roster heading into the 2020-21 season. The team is composed of 11 college committed players who have shown lots of potential and now is the time to impress their prospective teams. The Backs are head manned by their five veteran players whose experience at this level should help build some quick confidence and chemistry on the ice.

Expect to see lots of fast-paced, physical hockey with this shortened season. Uncommitted players will be hungry to make the most of their remaining season and prove their ability in as few as 18 games. Some of these players have been waiting over a year for their chance to compete again and had time to train and work on their game over this period.

Salmon Arm has always been a hungry team with pride and a will to win. The shortened season proves promising for this band of brothers, now it’s up to them to seize it.