One of four teams to begin their BCHL season 2-0 is Salmon Arm. The Silverbacks look to be well-stocked with Division 1 talent this year, with Ben Winnett (Michigan), Brian Volpei (St. Cloud), and Luke Cain (Union) already having made their college choices. Additionally, Kelly Zajac is rumored to wear a North Dakota shirt under his Salmon Arm jersey on game nights (ok, I think I'm making that up). The Zajac family, of course, does have a history of sending their sons to North Dakota, so that seems about as safe a bet as there is. North Dakota also appears to be enamored with Riley Nash. Riley (6' 1", 170) has scored 4 goals and picked up one assist in the Silverbacks' first two games, including a 1st-Star performance in the 'Backs' second game. He is, as most Cornell hockey fans already know, the younger brother of current Big Red freshman, Brendon Nash. Riley is a highly-regarded center, and is currently ranked 4th in Chris Heisenberg's rankings of BCHL players. Riley, also, was a member of last year's U17 Pacific team that competed in the World U17 Challenge. Riley, who could come out in either 2007 or 2008, figures to be at the top of Cornell's very short wish list this year.
Two other Silverback players that will be fun to watch this year are Hank Van Boxmeer and Chris Rawlings. Both players interestingly list the Buffalo Sabres as their favorite NHL team, and how unusual is that for a couple of kids from the western part of the continent? Well, that depends... Van Boxmeer (6' 2", 193) is a defensiveman from Orange, CA, and is the son of former NHLer, John Van Boxmeer. The elder Van Boxmeer spent time with both the Buffalo Sabres and the Rochester Amerks, so western New York is familiar territory to Hank. John Van Boxmeer also was the Head Coach for the LA/Long Beach Ice Dogs in the mid-90s where he had as an assistant by the name of Brian McCutcheon. Rawlings (6' 6", 210), a goalie, has no such known connections to western New York. One can imagine, however, a young goalie growing up to with visions of Dominic Hasek playing in his head. Rawlings, a 1988-born, is currently the 3rd-ranked goalie in the BCHL, according, again, to Heisenberg's site. Rawlings' picked up the 1st-Star in the Silverbacks opening win, when he stopped 35 of the 36 shots he faced.
Salmon Arm is back in action this weekend against Merritt.