The Surrey Eagles have named their leadership group for the upcoming BC Hockey League season, and a Semiahmoo Peninsula-raised defenceman has been tasked with the lead role.
Kieran O’Hearn, 20, was given the captain’s ‘C’ last week, and fellow veterans Carter King, Owen Nolan and Jimmy Darby were named alternate captains.
O’Hearn, who told Peace Arch News in January that he grew up just a few minutes from South Surrey Arena, joined the Eagles’ flock near the start of last season, arriving via trade from the Trail Smoke Eaters in a deal that saw Cody Schiavon – who was Surrey’s captain at the time – headed the other way.
“It’s an honour to be chosen by my teammates to lead them this year. We have a strong returning group with many leaders, and we look forward to building on the success of last years team and winning a championship,” O’Hearn said in a news release issued by the team last week.
Like O’Hearn, King, Nolan and Darby are also all entering their second season with the Eagles. The team has been in an extended training camp since September, and the BCHL season is expected to begin sometime in December, though the recent provincial health-order may yet delay puck drop.
“It’s an honour to be a leader on a team full of great guys. We have a special group this year and a good veteran core that should help our younger guys out,” said Darby. “I’m super excited to see what our group can do.”
When O’Hearn was dealt to the Eagles last season, he admitted some level of surprise – “It was definitely out of the blue,” he told PAN – but said the blow was softened when he realized he had the opportunity to play for his hometown team.
“Any time you hear that you’re getting traded, your first thought is, ‘OK, where am I going?’ But finding out you’re going home, there’s no better feeling than that. It was a really cool feeling, knowing that I was getting to play in the same rink where I watched so many other (Eagles) play,” said O’Hearn, who was born in North Delta before moving to South Surrey in high school.
Last season, he scored four points and added 18 assists in 56 games split between Trail and Surrey. He was also one of the Eagles’ top defensive defencemen, which is something Eagles general manager Blaine Neufeld pointed out last season, tell PAN at the time that he is one of the most reliable blue-liners in the entire league.
“He’s in the upper echelon of defencemen in the (BCHL),” he said.