The pre-season is on for the Kimberley Dynamiters, and a big local crowd was treated to a high-intensity exhibition game win against the Revelstoke Grizzlies on Friday, Sept. 16.
“I think any time Kimberley and Revelstoke play over the last five years, it seems to be the two teams that are fighting for the Championship recently, so I don’t think it matters what time of year it is, if Revelstoke and Kimberley play it’s going to be intense,” head coach, general manager Derek Stuart said.
Stuart, who has been with the organization since 2016, just signed on for another five years with the team. He said the motivation to extend his contact was twofold.
“The organization is fantastic, the team, the guys and everyone involved from the board down to the trainers are really good people and it’s fun to be a part of it,” he said.
“I think more importantly it was the family decision, my wife and I love it here, our kids love it. It’s a great community to raise a family and it’s a very tight-knit community. That was probably the most important factor is that the family was all on board for it too, so we’re very happy and we’re very comfortable here, so we’re happy to be here for five more years.”
In addition to having its head coach back, the Dynamiters have 16 returning players from last year and a total of 18 veterans on this year’s roster.
“I don’t know how it’s all going to play out but it’s definitely a very good base, it’s the most veterans I’ve ever had in my time here, so it’s a good starting point for sure.”
The first game back on home ice was rowdy to say the least, with numerous game misconducts, fights, roughing calls and plenty of enthusiastic heckling from the crowd directed at the Grizzlies bench.
Returning star defenseman Cam Reid opened the scoring on a power play in the first period, with new player Tyler Lindal scoring goals in the second and third to seal it up.
The Dynamiters had their first exhibition game against Fernie on Sept. 9 and played Revelstoke again on Sept. 17, losing both games 3-1 and 4-1 respectively.
“I told the guys in the exhibition I don’t care about the outcome of the game, I’m more focused on their actions and I really liked a lot of the things I saw tonight from everyone,” Stuart explained. “The team did really well and I think if you build on that and focus on our actions the results will come.”
The team’s roster is still not set in stone and the players new and returning left everything out there on the ice, making for a great first win on home ice and an entertaining watch for the fans.
“I heard some of the new guys saying they couldn’t believe how many people were here for an exhibition game,” Stuart said. “It helps that it was Revelstoke, but at the same time I think our fans are hungry to see what we have this year and I think we’re going to have a good hockey team and something they can be proud of.”
The Dynamiters home opener is at 7 p.m. at the Civic Centre against the Creston Valley Thundercats.