From left, Surrey Knights players Drew Williams, Malik Dhaliwal, Evandeep Purewal, Bradley Collins and Ben Wasmuth lead the way for the Pacific Junior Hockey League team. (Photo: Tom Zillich)

From left, Surrey Knights players Drew Williams, Malik Dhaliwal, Evandeep Purewal, Bradley Collins and Ben Wasmuth lead the way for the Pacific Junior Hockey League team. (Photo: Tom Zillich)

JUNIOR HOCKEY

Surrey Knights players ‘feeling good’ despite another tough start to hockey season

‘This team is definitely better than last year,’ captain Evandeep Purewal says

It’s been another tough start to the hockey season for Surrey Knights, but the team’s on-ice leaders are optimistic about better things to come.

“This team is definitely better than last year, I can see that, and it’s a talented group of guys in there,” said forward Evandeep Purewal, named captain of the Pacific Junior Hockey League team a couple weeks ago.

“And it’s a better mindset as well, with the new rink and everything, the nice facility we have now,” he added. “It’s a really beautiful place to play hockey.”

The new scenery at North Surrey Sport & Ice Complex gave the team some jump out of the gate, with a home-opener against Port Moody Panthers that went to overtime. The Knights fell 3-2 in the extra frame.

Since that single point earned on Sept. 5, the squad has gone winless in September, in 10 games.

Of late, a three-games-in-four-nights schedule saw the Knights lose 1-0 at home to Abbotsford on Thursday (Sept. 26), followed by 8-1 and 10-2 road losses to Ridge Meadows and Mission, respectfully.

• RELATED STORY: PHOTOS: Surrey Knights feel at home at new hockey ‘castle’

When the Now-Leader caught up with Purewal and his assistant captains early last week, the mood was upbeat as the team prepared for a midweek practice.

“Last season it took us about half the season just to come close to winning a game, and this year we almost got a win in the very first game, which went to overtime here and it could have gone either way because of the way the boys were playing,” Purewal noted.

The Knights will practice three times a week this season under new head coach Gerry Leiper.

“Last year we had just one practice a week, so right there that’s going to be better for us,” Purewal said of the team’s on-ice development time.

While the Surrey-raised Purewal will wear the ‘C’ on his chest this season, the assistant captains are Malik Dhaliwal and Ben Wasmuth, with an additional ‘A’ worn by both Drew Williams (for home games) and Bradley Collins (on the road).

“Williams and Collins were tied in votes among the players,” Leiper noted, “so we want to make sure they get a chance at being an assistant captain.”

On the ice, Purewal and Williams are leading the way with three goals and two assists apiece, with rookie Navkarn Gill adding a goal and four assists for a share of the team points lead.

In goal, returning netminder Naveen Kainth has faced 277 shots in his nine games played.

Purewal joined the Knights from White Rock Whalers early last season, in a trade.

“He’s a big guy, he’s fast and he scores goals,” Leiper said of his captain. “He developed with us and figured out the league. He’s playing great, but he got injured – he’s nursing a shoulder injury. He’s not a Band-Aid, he’s battling through it.”

In conversation, Purewal talked about a hockey path that took him from Surrey to Ontario to Alberta and back to Surrey.

“I started playing in Grade 7 – second-year Peewee, so I got a late start,” he explained. “I played in Surrey until Midget second-year and then I went to Ontario for about two months to play Junior A there, and then got dropped down and went to Alberta to play Junior B. I could have stayed in Alberta but decided to come back to B.C. to study at SFU and also play hockey still.”

Purewal, who’ll turn 20 in a couple weeks, is studying criminology at university, as a second-year student.

“I always wanted to be a lawyer, so we’ll see where that goes afterward,” he said.

“This might be my last year of hockey, so I want to make the most of it,” Purewal added. “I would like to play university hockey at home, and if I got the chance I’d take it – it’s really high-level hockey. So I’m playing the best I can this year and we’ll see what happens after that. I’m going to school right now and working, so there are opportunities away from hockey, which I love playing but at the end of the day, it’s just a game.”

Purewal said the Knights have a goal of earning at least 10 wins this season.

“I can see that happening – we’re practicing hard,” he said. “Last year, it was a lot tougher, because the rink (at North Surrey Recreation Centre) wasn’t very good and it was tough to play in there. The room was small and we had, like, only one shower for all the players. But this is different, and it feels different. The team is a lot better and we’re feeling good.”



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Tom on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Through his lens, Doug Cook captured this picture of the Fraser River, Mount Baker, an eagle, and even the Golden Ears Bridge on a sunny fall afternoon. The photo was taken from the wooden walkway leading down to the Pitt Meadows Regional Airport float plane dock. (Contributed photo)
Friends of Semiahmoo Bay to host virtual World Wetland Day event

Webinar event to feature six speakers, to be held Feb. 2

One of the Choices Lottery grand prize packages includes a home located at 16730 19 Ave., Surrey. (Contributed photo)
Two South Surrey homes featured in Choices Lottery

Tickets on sale now for BC Children’s Hospital lottery

Pindie Dhaliwal, one of the organizers for the Surrey Challo protest for Indian farmers. She says organizers were told by Surrey RCMP that the event was not allowed due to COVID-19. Organizers ended up moving the protest to Strawberry Hill at the last minute. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Indian farmers rally moves as organizers say Surrey RCMP told them they couldn’t gather

Protest originally planned in Cloverdale, moved to Strawberry Hill

The City of Surrey is currently working through the initial phase for a park that’ll be built at 72 Avenue and 191 Street in Clayton. (Image via City of Surrey)
New park to be built in Clayton Heights

City of Surrey asking for feedback from Clayton residents

Fraser Health has declared a COVID-19 outbreak at a Surrey high-intensity rehabilitation unit, Laurel Place. On Dec. 22, 2020, Fraser Health said four patients and two staff members have tested positive for the virus. (Image: Google Street View)
Fraser Health says COVID-19 outbreak over at Laurel Place in Surrey

Health authority declared outbreak over Jan. 16

A scene from “Canada and the Gulf War: In their own words,” a video by The Memory Project, a program of Historica Canada, is shown in this undated illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Historica Canada
New video marks Canada’s contributions to first Gulf War on 30th anniversary

Veterans Affairs Canada says around 4,500 Canadian military personnel served during the war

A 17-year-old snowmobiler used his backcountry survival sense in preparation to spend the night on the mountain near 100 Mile House Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021 after getting lost. (South Cariboo Search and Rescue Facebook photo)
Teen praised for backcountry survival skills after getting lost in B.C.’s Cariboo mountains

“This young man did everything right after things went wrong.”

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa on December 10, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
No place for ‘far right’ in Conservative Party, Erin O’Toole says

O’Toole condemned the Capitol attack as ‘horrifying’ and sought to distance himself and the Tories from Trumpism

A passer by walks in High Park, in Toronto, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. This workweek will kick off with what’s fabled to be the most depressing day of the year, during one of the darkest eras in recent history. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
‘Blue Monday’ getting you down? Exercise may be the cure, say experts

Many jurisdictions are tightening restrictions to curb soaring COVID-19 case counts

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19: Provinces work on revised plans as Pfizer-BioNTech shipments to slow down

Anita Anand said she understands and shares Canadians’ concerns about the drug company’s decision

Tourists take photographs outside the British Columbia Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday August 26, 2011. A coalition of British Columbia tourism industry groups is urging the provincial government to not pursue plans to ban domestic travel to fight the spread of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. travel ban will harm struggling tourism sector, says industry coalition

B.C. government would have to show evidence a travel ban is necessary

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘Targeted’ shooting in Coquitlam leaves woman in hospital

The woman suffered non-life threatening injuries in what police believe to be a targeted shooting Saturday morning

sdf
Another Mission student arrested for assault, in 2nd case of in-school violence this week

RCMP notified of local Instagram page with videos (now deleted) showing student assaults, bullying

Most Read