Even the TRU WolfPack's biggest fans might be hard-pressed to recognize their favourite team this B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League season.
The WolfPack is back on the ice getting ready for another BCIHL season, the program's fourth. TRU had a solid regular season in 2011-12, going 12-8-4, but made an early exit from the BCIHL tournament, which was held at Memorial Arena in March.
Last season's WolfPack team is nothing like this one.
Head coach Don Schulz and general manager Chris Hans hit the bushes hard this offseason, talking to 60 potential players. The WolfPack was able to bring in 12 recruits, and found three more at open tryouts last week.
That means 15 of the 23 players currently with TRU will be wearing a WolfPack jersey for the first time.
"We only have four returning forwards . . . two returning (defencemen) and two returning goalies," Schulz said. "It was a turnover year - we had seven guys graduate and a few went to work . . .
"Those things happen."
TRU held its training camp at McArthur Island Sport and Event Centre on the weekend, and managed to find three players to fill out its roster.
Defenceman Blake Moynes of Ontario, and forwards Jarrett Martin and Jake Howardson, who helped the Abbotsford Pilots win the Keystone Cup Western Canadian junior B championship last season, were pleasant surprises for Schulz.
The WolfPack also added a bunch of forwards in the offseason, signing, among others, Tyler Jackson and Colten De Frias from the Kamloops Storm.
On the back end, TRU added Jordan Urban, who transferred when the Okanagan College Coyotes folded, and former SJHL defencemen Scott Bollefer and Ben Bula.
"We're very happy - Chris and I are very excited about the season," Schulz said. "We're deeper at D and at forward. Now it's my job to get them prepared and ready for the season."
The WolfPack also signed a goaltender - Frenchman Adrien Hervillard, out of Ontario junior A - but he is likely to be third on TRU's depth chart, behind returnees Shane Mainprize and Riley Wall.
All in all, it's going to be a different - but better - WolfPack squad, Schulz said. It also will be bigger.
"One of the things Chris and I wanted to address was that we were a little low on grit last season," he said. "We're much bigger now . . . and we're still a fast, skilled team.
"Chris and I believe we got pushed around a bit, and that won't happen this season."
The WolfPack is practising hard in anticipation of its preseason opener on Friday in Castlegar. TRU will take on the host Selkirk College Saints, who also have added a bunch of players and appear to be stronger.
After that, the WolfPack will head to Calgary for two exhibition games against Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference teams - the Grant MacEwan Griffins and the SAIT Trojans - on Sept. 28 and 29.
After that, it's another week of practice before opening the regular season against Trinity Western in Langley on Oct. 6. TRU's home-opener will be Oct. 12, when Victoria comes to town.
Schulz said the BCIHL should be tight this season - it has six teams, all appearing strong.
"Trinity Western recruited a bunch of players, and SFU did the same," Schulz said. "Selkirk, they're much improved . . . and UVic hasn't published any of their moves yet, but they won the league title last year . . .
"It looks extremely competitive."
JUST NOTES: The WolfPack might add two players in the future. F John Bokla is considering his options, while veteran D Cody Lockwood remains in eligibility limbo. Schulz said Lockwood probably won't play in the first half, but might be able to join the team in the second semester. . . . F Chase Edwards, a linemate of Jackson and De Frias with the Storm last season, originally signed with TRU, but decided not to play hockey. Edwards has a lingering shoulder problem and a full course load, so decided to take a year off, Schulz said.