The 100 Mile Wranglers Junior B hockey team has named their new captain for the season: Justin Bond.
“He’s a good leader and a real good kid and well liked and respected in the Cariboo region, so it was an easy choice,” says Wranglers Head Coach Dale Hladun.
The 20-year-old forward is in his fourth and final year with the team.
“I’m excited and honoured — excited for the opportunity,” says Bond.
Bond is from Williams Lake and has been there working over the summer. He says he considers the Wranglers a second home.
“It’s just down the road. I came there the year after they started and it feels like I’ve been there forever,” he says.
He says his goal for the next year is to win, but also, as captain, to help mentor and teach some of the younger players about the league, team and season.
“I’m pumped about that. Bond is going to do a good job as our captain. He’s got big shoes to fill with Eagan going, but I think Bond is up to the challenge,” says Hladun.
Bond echoes that sentiment.
“I was just honoured. I’ve known the captain before me and I’ve played with them and [I’m] just honoured to be in the same class as those guys and have the same role as them,” he says.
In the meantime, Hladun has been busy travelling the province recruiting other players to come to his fall camp to be held from Sept. 1-3.
While the wildfires have thrown a wrench into some of his planning — he expects to have lower numbers at this year’s camp because some players didn’t realize 100 Mile House was back open for business — he says he’s got the right players coming to camp.
“We’re still going to have some good character kids, some good quality kids at camp, it’s just not going to be a big camp.”
Otherwise, he’s working on tracking down players who are looking at levels above junior B.
“At this level, you still have to wait to see who is available and it’s a kind of game. A bit of a risky game, because the longer they can stay at the next level the better player we might get, but sometimes they don’t come. It’s a bit of a waiting game but I’m a little long in the tooth in this coaching stuff so I’ve been through this a lot, so I know what I’m up against here.”
At camp, Hladun says the group will be looking at skill development, team strategy and preparing for exhibition games against the Kamloops Storm. The Wranglers will host an exhibition game against Kamloops on Sept. 4 at 5 p.m. at the South Cariboo Rec Centre.
Otherwise, both Hladun and Bond are ready for the season to kick off.
“I’m just itching to get going. It’s kind of like waiting for Christmas. So waiting until Sept. 1 is like waiting a lifetime,” says Hladun.