A few weeks ago I experienced my first Burnaby Express hockey game with my husband and a group of his co-workers. Being a British Columbia Hockey League team, to me it seemed as though someone took the North Surrey Recreation Centre and mixed it with the Pacific Coliseum for a Giants Game. It was quaint, community-based, inexpensive, yet the hockey was fast-paced and exciting — you could tell these guys are the stars of tomorrow.
Turns out, I had never previously heard of the Burnaby Express and nether have most others I have spoken to. This team that does a lot in the community could use a boost since it’s in a middle of a very split market so here’s my chance to introduce my readers to some great grassroots hockey.
The BCHL is a part of the Canadian Junior Hockey League, featuring players ranging from 16 to 20 years old. The Express are a part of the league’s Coastal Conference which includes the Alberni Valley Bulldogs, the Cowichan Valley Capitals, the Nanaimo Clippers, the Victoria Grizzlies, the Langley Chiefs, the Powell River Kings, and the Surrey Eagles.
From 1998 to 2001 Burnaby was home of the Bulldogs who then moved onto Port Alberni in 2002. The Coquitlam Express started up in 2001 and then moved to Burnaby (forming the Burnaby Express) in 2005. Now based out of the Bill Copeland Arena in Burnaby (just near Joe Sakic Way) the Express are the 2006 BCHL Champions, 2006 Doyle Cup Champions, and 2006 Canadian Junior ‘A’ Champions.
Alumni currently playing in the NHL are Andrew Ladd (Chicago Blackhawks) and Milan Lucic (Boston Bruins).
Individual tickets are just $13 (adults), $9 (students/seniors), $6 (kids), and you can get 10-game flex packs for $100. You can follow them on Twitter @BurnabyExpress or read their blog for updates. I highly recommend taking the family out to a game and experiencing that true sense of local hockey.