Chilliwack Jets: The PJHL's Newest Franchise
Chilliwack will be home to another junior team for the 2020/21 season. On top of having the Chilliwack Chiefs of the BCHL, the PJHL approved of expansion and the Chilliwack Jets will be the 13th team in the league. Having another team in PJ is great for the league and it gives more players an opportunity to play junior hockey locally. I’ll be breaking the whole franchise down from their players to their branding and everything in between. I’ll be sure to give you a taste of what the Jets will be bringing to the table for the upcoming season.
Let's get right into what the Jets will be putting on the ice. Looking through their recruits so far, they seem to be going with a lot of local products as 12 players they have committed to are from Chilliwack. I can imagine that is what the Jets were looking for by promoting their own local players and working with Chilliwack Minor Hockey to bring players up. At the same time, it probably would be difficult to recruit players outside of the Fraser Valley region. Players in the lower mainland would much rather play close to home. The other players come from Abbotsford, Mission, Hope, Fort Langley, Sedgwick AB, Okatoks AB, Balgonie SK, Manitoba and Washington. The Jets roster is well mixed in terms of age. In terms of junior experience, there are a lot of rookies and only a few players with ample junior games. The hope is that some of these veteran players can help guide the younger ones so they have more success in the future. From the looks of things, the Jets have chosen to go with a tall team as there are only a couple players who are under 6 feet. Based on this, they will intend to play a very hard nosed game and will by using their physicality to wear down opponents. Taking time and speed away from fast teams will most likely be the style they will be playing.
Let’s take a look at some of their notable signings.
A Chilliwack Product who is coming back to play for his hometown team. He’ll be completing his final year of junior hockey as the Captain of the Jets. Devers has plenty of experience having played in all three junior B leagues in BC. Last year between the Nanaimo Buccaneers and the Mission City Outlaws, he produced 37 points in 31 games. The Jets hope he can lead this squad into a playoff appearance in their inaugural season.
A goalie from Hope. Dawson spent the last year away from hockey (based on his elite prospects profile. It appears he is making a return to hockey potentially and putting himself in a position where he might play lots. In the season prior, he spent it with the Fraser Valley Thunderbirds of the BC Major Midget League. He enjoyed a solid season that saw him play one game for the Chilliwack Chiefs. The signing in Chilliwack could also make way for a potential affiliation with the Chiefs once again.
An interesting pick up by the Jets. Ens, a defensemen from Carmen, Manitoba, spent the last season with the Winkler Flyers of the MJHL. At 6’2, he’ll be a physical presence on the back end for this team. The Jets staff really did some scouting on this one.
Another tall player at 6’3, Garet split time with Yarmouth Mariners of the MHL and the Nanaimo Buccaneers of the VIJHL. He has a lot of junior experience and it can prove to be invaluable for the new franchise.
On the theme of towers, Bryant is a 6’4 forward who has a knack for scoring. With the Hinton Timberwolves of the WSHL, he amassed 20 goals and 20 assists in 40 games, good for a point a game. Bryant will be hoping his offensive talents will transfer over and help the Jets win games.
From a branding perspective, I really like what they came up with. The logo looks really clean and it’s quite fresh. The only negative is that their colours are similar to the Ice Hawks but that’s not a big issue. The name “Jets” is pretty original and not that creative in my mind but once again not a big deal. They have done a very good job of promoting their recruited players through social media. The PJHL has been improving on their social media game and it’s trickling down to the teams. Looking through their website, I saw they have an online shop for team merch. To be honest it seems kinda pointless but who knows, maybe they can sell a couple of t-shirts here and there. The Jets will be playing out of the Sardis Sports Complex in Chilliwack. Pretty decent for a Junior B rink. One thing I think is on some players' minds is which day will be hosting the Jets at home. For many in the lower mainland, this will be a decent trek and a weekday game could make it very difficult for some players to get to Chilliwack on time. The other end of it is that Chilliwack will be making a lot of trips to the lower mainland too so that will be lot’s of travel for them. This could be a team that might consider getting a bus like Sqamish did back when the Wolf Pack were located there.
Chillwack will be an exciting addition to the PJHL. With any new team there will be bumps in the road but in the time of Covid, the Chilliwack management has done a very good job of assembling a team and creating a solid brand. I’m excited to see what the Jets will bring on and off the ice.
Next up, we’ll be doing player rankings and more team reviews as the off season progresses. We will also be doing team rankings closer to the regular season. For more PJHL news, check out the rest of our blogs on the hockey page.