Whether it's goaltending, goalscoring or leadership in the room, this year's version of the Coquitlam Express will rely heavily on U.S. imports.
Though the club is still finalizing last-minute roster tweeks, the majority of the spots on the team are filled out.
The club landed netminder Gordy Defiel in a multi-player trade Wednesday that saw the playing rights of Daniel Urbani, Garrett Forster and Bryce Eviston shipped to the Brooks Bandits.
A 20-year-old Minnesota native, Defiel is coming off a Royal Bank Cup championship season with the Alberta club and was named the top goaltender in the Superior International Junior Hockey League during the 2012-2013 season.
In sticking with that U.S. flavour, the players voted New Jersey native Ryan Rosenthal as the team's captain Thursday morning. A six-foot-two power forward, Rosenthal averaged more than a point a game during his stint in the United States High School league.
"It's a great choice. He's just a really mature kid and very focused. He wants to win and he looks after his teammates," said Express coach Barry Wolff.
Rosenthal served as an assistant captain in his three years playing prep school hockey in Connecticut, and suggested he'll lead with both his play on the ice and his vocal chords.
"I do a bit of both: if the guys need to be fired up I can do that, but if we're down on the bench, I try to pick up the spirits with a big hit or taking the puck to the net. I try to be a
presence out there," he said.
The club's assistant captain duties will be rotated amongst Marc Biega, Ben Israel, Joey Santucci, Shay Laurent and Matthew Berry-Lamontagna.
The Express also solidified the playing rights to Minnesota natives Bo and Canon Pieper, both of whom previously put up big numbers in the Shattuck St. Mary's program.
The Express open regular season play tonight (Friday) against Merritt as part of the BCHL's Showcase Event in Chilliwack.
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