As the longest serving member of the TRU WolfPack, Cody Rose has seen a lot of players come and go.
So Rose knows just how much of a challenge awaits this year’s WolfPack team, and just how well prepared his team is to meeting it.
TRU is 1-0 in the B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League after opening with an 8-6 victory over Trinity Western in Langley on Friday. The WolfPack will play its home-opener on Friday, 8:30 p.m., when Victoria pays a visit to Memorial Arena.
For the first time in its four-year history, the WolfPack has a returning coach — Don Schulz, who guided the team to a 12-8-4 record in 2011-12. But the WolfPack has an almost unrecognizable team, with 14 new players on the 24-man roster.
“The turnover was really big this year, but we’ve got some quality veterans, and that makes it easier,” said Rose, a fourth-year defenceman from Midway. “There’s lots of new (players) but we’ve got a good thing going here.”
The WolfPack will play 24 regular-season games — including 11 before Christmas — plus the league playoffs in March. There hasn’t been a lot of time for the new players to catch up, with TRU having played only three exhibition games prior to Friday’s contest.
Most of the new players came from the junior A and junior B, the same levels that produced the WolfPack’s veterans. These vets know the adjustments the youngsters are facing, and are working to guide them through it.
“You try to give them an idea of what the league’s all about,” said forward Taylor Stuart, who is in his third season at TRU after playing for the KIJHL’s Kamloops Storm. “It’s a different schedule, more designed toward students, not game-heavy like junior.
“Each game is more important here, and they need to understand that.”
It’s definitely a challenge for Schulz and assistant coaches Steve Blundell and Kevin Johnston. Early on, the coaches have lined up familiar faces together — on Friday, Stuart played with rookies Colten De Frias and Tyler Jackson, who were linemates with the Storm last season.
Stuart was on a line with Jackson with the 2009-10 Storm, and all looked good on Friday, with the trio accounting for three of the WolfPack’s eight goals.
“I was looking at playing those guys together right from Day 1,” Schulz said. “They’re three great guys and I’m confident in their abilities. I’m sure they’ll be one of the top lines in this league.”
Of course, Schulz wasn’t too fussy about the defensive side of the line’s game — actually, he wasn’t too fussy about the defensive side of any of his players’ games.
The WolfPack spent its Monday practice working on defensive zone coverage, and planned to do the same last night. It probably didn’t help that TRU was missing Rose (knee) and injured forwards Anthony Delong, Kevin Lourens and Brennan Wright. Rose expects to be back Friday; the others won’t play.
“Anthony and Kevin, they’re good offensive players and they’ll add to our speed up front,” Schulz said. “Brennan, he’s a very accomplished player . . . and it will be nice to get him back.”
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A barnstorming semi-professional team will provide the opposition for the WolfPack men’s basketball team on Saturday.
The WolfPack is to play host to the Seattle Mountaineers at TRU Gym. The Mountaineers are a team of former NCAA players; they also will play the Victoria Vikes on their northern tour. Game time is 7 p.m.
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The WolfPack men’s volleyball team will play host to the TRU Howler Tourney, a high-school event held at TRU Gym and around town, as well as an exhibition match with the Lethbridge College Kodiaks.
The teams will play an exhibition match on Friday at the Tournament Capital Centre.
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Alanna Bekkering has been named the Pacific Western Athletic Association women’s soccer player of the week after leading the WolfPack to a pair of weekend victories.
Bekkering had three goals and an assist as the first-place WolfPack improved to 7-1-2.
TRU will put that stellar record on the line when it plays host to the Quest Kermodes and Langara Falcons at Hillside Stadium on Saturday and Sunday. Both games will start at noon.
The WolfPack can officially clinch a playoff spot with a victory.
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It’s an important weekend for the WolfPack men’s soccer team’s playoff chances.
TRU (4-4-2) is to play host to Quest on Saturday and Langara on Sunday — both matches, at Hillside Stadium, kick off at 2 p.m.
Quest (0-8-2) is last in the conference, while Langara (5-4-1) is in the last playoff spot — the spot the ’Pack is chasing. TRU is two points behind Langara.
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The warm weather has allowed the WolfPack baseball team to schedule another weekend of fall exhibition play at NorBrock Stadium.
TRU, whose season was supposed to have ended last weekend, will play host to the Okanagan A’s, a premier team from Kelowna. The Saturday doubleheader will begin at 1 p.m., with Sunday’s to start at 11 a.m.