With evaluation camp completed, the B.C. Major Midget League's North Island Silvertips are starting to take shape.
The Silvertips head to Lake Cowichan on Sept. 8 for a noon exhibition match against the South Island Royals.
After going 11-26-3 last season, the Silvertips were swept in a quarter-final best-of-three by the eventual league champion Vancouver Giants.
North Island will look to a new crop of young talent to help fill the spaces left by departing veterans, like 17-year-old forward Curtis McCarrick. The Nanaimo born forward tallied 46 points (24,22) for the Silvertips last season and has now agreed to play with the Powell River Kings of the B.C. Hockey League.
Other top talents from last year's team are also questionable.
Nanaimo native Nick Gomerich, who managed 39 points in 34 games as a centre/right-wing with the Silvertips last year, has been getting plenty of looks by the Western Hockey League's Saskatoon Blades, who drafted the 17-year-old in the sixth round of the 2011 bantam draft.
Goaltender Liam Giroux, 17, of Qualicum Beach played 18 games for the Silvertips last season, but may end up playing with the Oceanside Generals in the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League.
Forward Liam Shaw (23 points in 40 games with the Silvertips) has been seeing ice time with the Comox Valley Glacier Kings of the VIJHL.
The Silvertips also saw defencemen Dayton Boutilier, Kyle MacDonald and forward David Osborne transferred to the VIJHL's Nanaimo Buccaneers in June.
Nanaimo's Jordan Topping, a 16-year-old left winger who managed 17 points in 40 games with the Silvertips last year, has been seeing time with the Tri-City Americans in the WHL and may or may not return this season.
A spot on the team is also open for 16-year-old right-wing Patrick Bajkov, who was drafted by the WHL's Everett Silvertips in 2012.
"The core of the group that was first year midget last year are now coming back as second year. We're excited; we have a bunch of kids returning that have a year of experience in the league. We basically think highly of their skill and ability," said head coach Jason Dubyna.
"We think that our team can have definitely be a contender for the playoffs."
Some of the players the Silvertips will turn to in order to build on a strong season include Dylan Coghlan, a 15-year-old defenceman who was drafted in the third round by the Tri-City Americans and is considered a potential talent to make the Team B.C. Under-16 roster.
This year's bantam A callups included Carter Turnbull, a 15-year-old forward from Nanaimo who had three points in four games with the Team B.C. Avalanche during last year's under-16 cup.
Six-foot defenceman Matt O'Dwyer will also join the Silvertips as a bantam call up. Goaltender John Hawthorne, who was also among the Team B.C. U-16 suitors at a camp in Nanaimo this summer, is expected to play for the Silvertips this year.
"Last year we had a good number of fast skaters and good skilled forwards. We've tried to add a couple more players that are going to provide us a bit more of the grit style, complementing our skilled players with some more physical styled players --that was our goal," said Dubyna.
The Silvertips have another exhibition game scheduled for Sept. 14, in Richmond against the Greater Vancouver Canadians before their home opener on Sept. 21-22 for games at the Nanaimo Ice Centre against the Vancouver Giants.
The Saturday game was scheduled for 5:15 p.m. with a Sunday match at 10:30 a.m. to follow.
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