The off-season may have arrived for the Surrey Eagles quicker than planned – the BCHL announced the cancellation of the rest of the playoffs earlier this month due to COVID-19 concerns – but the team isn’t wasting any time preparing for the next season.
On Tuesday, the Eagles announced its first move of the off-season – signing 2002-born forward Cole Galata from St. Andrew’s College in Aurora, Ont.
In a news release, the Eagles referred to the five-foot-10 right-handed shot as “a highly sought-after commodity and a huge boost to an Eagles team will could lose (its) top two scorers next season.”
The Newmarket, Ont. native put up big offensive numbers at the prep-school level this past season, scoring 32 goals and adding 69 assists for 101 points in just 54 games for St. Andrew’s.
Galata is already committed to the NCAA – to Bentley University.
“I’m really excited. I’ve gotten along really well with coach Cam (Keith) so far, and I really like the style of play the Eagles play,” he said.
“I think my style of play reflects perfectly with how they play. My connection with the coach right away was also huge. I really like how he communicated and was involved through the entire process.”
Keith, meanwhile, compared Galata to a pair of high-scoring current Eagles – captain Hudson Schandor and the team’s leading scorer Christophe Tellier.
“Cole’s game is very comparable to Schandor’s compete level and the creativity of Tellier. He will need no time to adjust to junior hockey and will make an immediate impact for us offensively.”
Though Galata is the team’s first addition of the off-season, he is the fourth player to commit to the Eagles for the 2020/’21 season, following commitments of Matt Connor, Holden Cardinal and Alec Saretzky, all of whom came aboard during the past season.
Before the BCHL – and junior hockey across the country – had the rest of its season cancelled, the Eagles were getting ready for a second-round best-of-seven showdown with the league-leading Coquitlam Express.
Surrey advanced to the second round after defeating the Chilliwack Chiefs 4-3 in Round 1 – a series capped by a dramatic final two games, both of which were won by the Eagles.