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.

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

Just Posted

Social media a blessing and a curse during time of crisis: B.C. communication expert

‘In moments of crisis, fear is very real and palpable,’ says SFU’s Peter Chow-White

OBITUARY: Sherrold Haddad brought giant Canadian flag to Surrey car dealership, built community

‘An amazing man, business person and community leader,’ friend Bruce Hayne posted to Facebook

COVID-19: Daily update on the pandemic in Surrey, White Rock, Delta and beyond

MARCH 28: Delta council passes bylaw to fine people who don’t socially distance

B.C. is seeing the highest rate of COVID-19 recovery in Canada, and there’s a few reasons why

British Columbia was one of the first to see rise in COVID-19 cases, and has also switched up testing

B.C. Ferries passengers staying away, as asked, during COVID-19 pandemic

Ferry corporation says ridership down 70-80 per cent over the last week and a half

Sewers stitch masks to free up supplies for front-line health-care workers

“We have little old ladies sewing up a storm,” said Joan Davis

Experts weigh in on best handling of groceries during COVID-19 pandemic

Study suggests the virus can live for up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to three days on plastic

COVID-19 world update: Enforceable quarantine in NYC?; France orders 1 billion masks

Spain warns EU’s future at stake; New York governor calls Trump’s idea ‘federal declaration of war

Blue ribbons popping up along streets in Abbotsford in praise of B.C. healthcare workers

Healthcare worker’s family starts local trend of morale support

Earth Hour 2020 kicks off online Saturday night

Action moves online due to COVID-19

B.C. COVID-19 cases rise 92 to 884, one more death, 81 in care

Outbreak action underway in 12 long-term care homes

B.C. veterinarians want to smooth the fur of COVID-19-worried pet owners

Vets expect to continue giving your fur buddies the help they need while social distancing

Most Read