NANAIMO — An all mid island matchup opens the VIJHL season for the Nanaimo Buccaneers.
They open the regular season at home against the Oceanside Generals on Thursday.
The Bucs won both of their exhibition games, which were played against the Kerry Park Islanders at the end of last month.
It was a small sample size but new head coach Curtis Toneff has already learned a lot about his team.
"We play the game with a lot of passion, we can play the game at a fast pace. We're a team with a lot of smart hockey players which is something that you obviously want as a coach," said Toneff.
Fourth year defenseman Coleman Doney will wear the 'C' as team captain this season, while Jayden Schubert, Cam Nickerson, and Mathieu Jallabert are the assistants.
Toneff says there were a number of players who could have worn a letter this year, but Doney was the right guy to captain the hockey club.
"He doesn't necessarily say a lot," said Toneff. "But he goes out there and plays the game the right way. I think when he talks you could probably hear a pin drop in that room."
When the Generals visit the Nanaimo Ice Centre on Thursday they'll be stinging from an 11-3 opening night loss to Campbell River.
Toneff says there are definitely friendships between players on both teams because of the close proximitiy of the two clubs, but he expects that will only fuel the rivalry and up the tempo of the game.
The Bucs have a date with Campbell River on Friday for their second game of the season.
The Storm are not only last year's VIJHL Champions, they are the team that knocked Nanaimo out of last year's playoffs in a five game second round series.
Although Campbell River is a perennial powerhouse Toneff says he's more concerned about the process at this point, than trying to use that game as a measuring stick.
The coach wants to see his team playing well, and he's not really focused on who the opponent is.
Thursday's home opener is a 7:15 p.m. start at the Nanaimo Ice Centre.
Last season Nanaimo won all eight games in the season series versus the Generals.
On twitter: @danmarshall77
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