Change brewing for Valley West Hawks

Change is the order of the day in the nest of the Valley West Hawks as the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League heads into the summer months.

The biggest change comes at the top where head coach Tom Spencer has left the club to take an assistant coaching position with the B.C. Hockey League’s Surrey Eagles.

Under Spencer’s guidance, the Hawks enjoyed their most successful seasons the past two years, highlighted by a run to the semifinals this spring. The Hawks stretched the eventual champion Okanagan Rockets to the full three games in the best-of-three semifinal before being eliminated.

Spencer hands his whistle off to Jessie Leung, who spent the last three years as an assistant with the Hawks.

“He’s a big guy and he definitely has some big shoes to fill,” Leung said of Spencer.  “I’m ready for this. I definitely learned a lot working with Tom and I’m excited for him and his new opportunity. His move comes at an opportune time for me because I feel ready to step in and build on the success we’ve had the last couple of seasons.”

The 28-year-old Leung said his two seasons at Spencer’s side was a great experience in his development as a coach, most importantly about preparation and team maturity.

Perennial BCMML powers such as the Rockets and the Vancouver Northwest Giants find their strength in their consistency. Those teams are ready to go at the start of the season and get a jump on their rivals by piling up points early in the campaign when other teams are still finding their footing.

“For us to get to the level where we are winning one-goal games instead of losing or tying them, it takes consistency right from the start of the year,” Leung said. “The last two years we’ve had a lot of returning players and that helped the maturation process of the team. We were ready to go at the start of the season instead of hemorrhaging points early in the year until we got going.”

Leung and the Hawks are facing another challenge this season after the team’s feeder system was altered. In the first 10 years of the league, the Hawks drew players from the Semiahmoo, Cloverdale, Surrey and Langley minor hockey associations. Langley has now been shifted in the catchment of the Fraser Valley Chiefs and will be replaced by with North Delta Minor Hockey.

mbooth@thenownewspaper.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey-born Trybe social media app’s award system connects with Nickelback singer

‘It’s turned into so much more than we originally conceived,’ says co-founder of the new platform

Drifting sailboat runs aground on White Rock beach

Vessel dragged anchor in high wind, no environmental damage sustained

Peace Portal Seniors Village staff member tests positive for COVID-19

Staff member currently in isolation at home, enhanced control measures in place

B.C. food awards for Surrey-made honey, chips and ‘plant-based comfort food’

Online celebration for KB Honey, Hardbite Chips and Connie Marples’ Boosh Food, among others

Sullivan Heights, Tamanawis each report second COVID-19 exposures

Fraser Health has created a new webpage listing COVID-19 cases in schools

BC Liberal Leader talks drug addiction in the Lower Mainland

Drug addiction and public safety a top priority says Andrew Wilkinson

Pandemic derails CP Holiday Train

Canadian Pacific will work to get donations to food banks while also producing an online music concert

Vanderhoof’s Brian Frenkel takes on top job in tough times

We can get through this, new local government leader says

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Mounties cleared by watchdog in fatal shooting of man with schizophrenia in Maple Ridge

Kyaw Din was killed by the RCMP during a mental health incident in August 2019

Local councils important, Horgan says as municipal conference ends

B.C. NDP leader says ‘speed dating’ vital, online or in person

Penticton woman sentenced to one year in prison for manslaughter of teen boyfriend

Kiera Bourque, 24, was sentenced for manslaughter in the 2017 death of Penticton’s Devon Blackmore

B.C. Green leader says NDP abandoning environmental plan

Horgan’s claim of unstable government false, Furstenau says

Most Read