Update: Rampage defeated Kitimat Ice Demons 3-2
A fresh sheet of ice and hopes for a Coy Cup championship make for the start of October as Rampage hockey returns to the Jim Ciccone Civic Centre for the 2016-17 season.
The Rhinos dig into the ice for their season opener on Saturday night as they renew acquaintances with their Northwest rivals the Kitimat Ice Demons and the Prince Rupert squad will take to the ice this weekend with some changes to the line up from last season.
As is always the case in Senior Men's hockey, some members of the Rampage from past seasons have hung up the blades, creating space for new arrivals and hard working younger skaters to make their way into the Prince Rupert lineup for this season.
Prince Rupert heads into their season opener coming off an exhibition game win over the Terrace River Kings last weekend, when the Rampage topped the visitors by a score of 4-1 in front a large crowd of North Coast hockey fans gathered to remember the life of former coach and team founder Frank Pyde.
The lessons of the past from their former head coach and the impact on the team that he provided will mark much of the course of the 2016-17 season for the Rhinos, who finished third in the CIHL West last year with a 7-8-1 record, with five of those wins in the confines of the always noisy and boisterous Civic Centre arena.
This years version will be looking to add to last years offensive output which saw Rampage play makers find the net 78 times, though work will be required once again on the blue line where the Prince Rupert squad surrendered 81 goals through the sixteen games of 2015-16.
One thing is certain, visitors coming into the Jim will know that they have a battle ahead to take two points out of the city, the Rampage had their most success in front of the home town crowds and with Penalties in Minutes at 427, Rupert makes for a tough stop on the CIHL schedule for many teams.
One interesting note from the Rampage dressing room finds Derek Baker and Jared Andreeson stepping into the coaching ranks for the season ahead, taking up assistant coach duties behind the bench.
They join Assistant Coach Ron German, along with head coach Roger Atchison in guiding the mix of returning veterans and new arrivals as they look to improve on last years record.
The list of the 25 members listed to start the 2016-17 season for the Rampage can be found below, those returning for another year of CIHL hockey have their stats from last year noted beside their name.
The full Rampage scoring review from last year courtesy of the CIHL can be found here.
The Rampage roster features 17 forwards, six new to the lineup for this year, all looking to put some scoring punch into this years lineup
Jordan Aubee ( 0 G, 4 A -- 2015-16 )
Cole Atchison ( 7 G , 2 A -- 2015-16 )
Kale Burns ( 1 G, 4 A -- 2015-16 )
Mike Coolin ( 1 G, 2 A -- 2015-16)
Josh Cook ( 14 G, 9 A -- 2015-16)
Jean Luc Fournier ( 1 G, 6 A -- 2015-16 )
Tyler Halliday ( 7 G, 9 A -- 2015-16 )
Jared Meers ( 5 G, 12 A -- 2015-16 )
Kory Movold ( 11 G, 11 A-- 2015-16 )
Craig Munro ( 6 G, 2 A -- 2015-16 )
Jordan Weir ( 0 G, 0 A -- 2015-16 )
Six hold the blue line prepared to defend the Rhino's side of centre ice, a mix of three vets and three newcomers.
Marcus Atchison ( 0 G, 1 A -- 2015-16 )
Jared Davis ( 0 G, 4 A -- 2015-16 )
Tyler Ostrom ( 1 G, 14 A - 2015-16 )
While two returnees will make for the last line of defence in the Rampage nets.
Devon Gerrits ( 4 W , 1 L - 4.38 GAA-- 2015-16 )
Jarrod Hildebrand ( 2 W, 5 L - 4.73 GAA -- 2015-16 )
The CIHL has also seen a slight change for the year ahead, with Lac La Biche stepping aside, owing to a number of community issues ranging from concerns over the local rink to an ability to recruit enough players to fill roster requirements.
And while the CIHL continues to look for new communities to sign up and add to new pins on the map for the league, for the 2016-17 season the league will be one team down with the four Northwest teams proving to be the strength of the six team circuit which also has teams in Quesnel and Williams Lake.
Puck drop Saturday is 7 PM and it should be another large crowd that greets the home side to the ice, Prince Rupert has provided for some of the most consistent attendance in the CIHL since the Rampage joined up, with residents of the North Coast making Rampage hockey a community event for each of the ten games that mark the home schedule.
Such is the affection for the home town side, that Prince Rupert led the CIHL in attendance last year, with 5,049 fans heading to the Civic Centre on game nights. That made for an average of 631 per game, though on those prime time Friday or Saturday games, that mark was surpassed quite easily by some very passionate Rampage fans.
As we have in past years, you can track the progress of the Rampage in their quest for a CIHL championship through the year on our archive page here, which features a number of links both to the Rampage and stories of note from the other teams of the league.
As well as our features page, scores and results from both home and away games can be found on our Rampage Results page, which will provide updates and summaries through the season ahead. The permanent link to both features can be found on our right hand column under North Coast Sports.