Langley Rivermen forward Matthew Graham went to retrieve the puck beside the Vernon Vipers goal Saturday at the Langley Events Centre. The visiting Vipers outscored the Rivermen 7-4.

‘Rivmas’ gets rolling Friday at LEC

It won’t cost you a thing to watch live junior hockey this weekend.

The Langley Rivermen have an early Christmas present for junior A hockey fans: free admission to all three of their home games at the Langley Events Centre this weekend.

The “Three Days Of Rivmas” starts Friday with the Rivermen hosting the Powell River Kings at 7:15 p.m., continues Saturday at 6 p.m. versus the Coquitlam Express, and wraps up Sunday at 3 p.m. when the ’Men take on the Prince George Spruce Kings in their final game before Christmas break. At all three games, each fan will receive a $5 concession voucher.

“It’s a great time,” Rivermen head coach Bobby Henderson said. “We expect decent crowds and we’ll do our best to put on good show.”

For those people who haven’t been to a game this year, Henderson said, “I think they’ll be impressed by the entertainment level.”

Going into the weekend, the Rivermen sit third in the B.C. Hockey League’s Mainland Division with an 18-13-1 record.

Canada West pair

The Rivermen are missing their top goal-scorer Justin Fregona as well as goaltender Bo Didur.

The two 18-year-olds are playing for the Canada West squad at the World Jr. A Challenge in Cobourg and Whitby, Ont.

Also playing for Canada West is Langley resident Dennis Cholowski, who is a blueliner with the Chilliwack Chiefs.

Henderson was happy for both of his players, who were among the 22 selected from 60 players looking to earn spots on Team Canada West’s final roster at the team’s selection camp, that was held Dec. 5-8.

“There were a lot of good players [at the selection camp] but I thought both had a good shot at making it [the team], so I’m happy to see them there,” Henderson said. “We’re happy for them. We’d love to have them in our lineup but some things are bigger than our team. It’s an amazing opportunity for them and a chance for them to wear the maple leaf which is cool.”

Two Canadian teams and four international squads face off Dec. 13-19 at the Cobourg and Whitby.

So-so weekend

The Rivermen will be looking to right the ship this weekend after losing 7-4 at home to the Vernon Vipers this past Saturday at the LEC, and tying the Surrey Eagles 3-3 on Sunday at South Surrey Arena.

Versus Vernon, the Rivermen couldn’t recover after spotting the visitors a 4-0 lead in the first period.

“We were as bad as we could be,” Henderson said, regarding the slow start. “It was one of those things where, when you play one game in 13 days, it’s tough to have the compete level where it needs to be.”

Henderson was happier with the Rivermen’s effort against a Surrey team that has struggled with a 5-27-1 record, thus far.

“A tie is a tie but it was a good hockey game,” Henderson said. “Give them [Surrey] credit: they played hard had and we had to battle for what we got. It was also a good crowd there which is nice to see.”


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