Tumultuous times for Bruin veterans

They told him the time would go by fast, but Shayne Neigum never really understood what his veteran teammates were talking about until his year.

At training camp, Neigum looked to one side and saw 17-year-old Brendan Persley on his wing, then looked to the other side to see 17-year-old Tim Traber.

“Holy cow, where did the four years go?” Neigum mused. “I remember my first days in Edmonton with the Oil Kings like it was yesterday. My 20-year-old teammates told me it goes by fast and I just thought, ‘Oh yeah. Whatever.’ But here I am.”

Neigum is one of four 20-year-olds currently inhabiting the Chilliwack Bruins roster, which puts him in the middle of a tense situation.

The others are defencemen Jeff Einhorn and Brandon Manning along with goaltender Lucas Gore.

The Western Hockey League 20-year-old cut-down day is Oct. 14, and Neigum knows with 100 per cent certainty that he or one of his friends will no longer be a Bruin after that day.

“It puts a feeling in your stomach and you know you’ve got to work extra hard,” Neigum said. “We’re all good guys and the best of friends, but unfortunately one of us has to go.”

Most of the time, players are able to concentrate on hockey, worrying about breakouts and defensive zone coverage.

But once in a while, the business reality moves to the forefront. This is one of those instances.

“We hang out with each other and it sucks knowing one of us has to go,” Neigum admitted. “But no matter what, all four of us are good players and whichever one of us it is, I’m sure that person will find a new hockey home very quickly.”

Neigum’s skill set makes him a good bet to stay, filling the skates of the graduated Colton Grant. Linemates last year, Neigum picked up a lot from Grant, a player who didn’t produce much offensively but added so much to the team.

“We’re all good players with good qualities,” he said. “I think I’m an intense guy who tries to lead by example. On the ice, I want to be the guy who does the dirty work, taking care of the small things that are often overlooked by the standout players.”

Neigum has shown some offensive ability in the past, and won’t be disappointed if he can build on his point totals from last season (72-11-13-24).

“The word that comes to my mind with 20 year olds is responsible,” Neigum noted. “We are known as more responsible guys who are looked upon to lead in the dressing room and with our actions on the ice. All of us have a minimum of three years experience, so we know a lot about the league and we know what it takes to play in the league.”

Goaltender Gore is in the same boat as Neigum, playing a position that is often seen as a spot for the young.

With Braden Gamble (19) and Cole Holowenko (17) both on the roster, he knows he can’t afford to slip for a moment if he wants to remain a Bruin and remain the starting netminder.

“I’ve definitely spent some time thinking about it,” he admitted on Wednesday. “We know one’s got to go, so there’s pressure on all of us. There’s two other goalies here, and if they play as good as me, a switch will happen.”

Like Neigum, Gore will find it difficult when he was to say goodbye to a teammate.

“Everyone loves it here in Chilliwack and everyone wants to stay,” he said. “Those guys are some of my best friends. If I go or one of them goes, it’s going to be tough.”

Neigum, Gore and company open the season tonight in Vancouver before moving on to Kamloops tomorrow.

The home opener is next Saturday as the Bruins play the Blazers at Prospera Centre.

Game time will be 7 p.m.

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

Just Posted

Chilliwack General Hospital. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Chilliwack General given award for surgical care and patient outcomes

First time three Fraser Health hospitals receive award from surgical quality improvement program

Jessica Peters is a reporter at the Chilliwack Progress.
COLUMN: Bouncing back from a brain injury isn’t easy

‘We didn’t know how bad it was until I tried to return to work’

Google Maps screenshot taken at 6:07 a.m.
TRAFFIC: Westbound dump-truck crash on Highway 1

Crash occurred around 6:45 a.m., west of 232nd Street in Langley

The 11th annual Christmas Stocking Drive hosted by Royal LePage runs now until Dec. 11. (David Sucsy, Getty Images via Metro Creative Graphics)
Chilliwack Realtors asking people to help fill Christmas stockings for kids, seniors

Donations of cash, items needed for Christmas Stocking Drive hosted by Royal LePage

The BC Court of Appeal in Vancouver.
BC Court of Appeal hearing Barry Neufeld’s arguments why defamation suit should go ahead

BC Supreme Court tossed out lawsuit against Glen Hansman a year ago following anti-SLAPP legislation

A man wearing a face mask to help curb the spread of COVID-19 walks in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest day of pandemic with 13 deaths, 738 new COVID-19 cases

Number of people in hospital is nearing 300, while total cases near 30,000

The COVID-19 test centre at Peace Arch Hospital is located on the building’s south side. (Tracy Holmes photo)
B.C. woman calls for consistency in COVID-19 post-test messaging

‘Could we just get one thing straight?’ asks Surrey’s Deb Antifaev

(File photo)
Alberta woman charged after allegedly hitting boy with watermelon at Okanagan campsite

Police say a disagreement among friends at an Adams Lake campsite turned ugly

Court of Appeal for British Columbia in Vancouver. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. woman loses appeal to have second child by using late husband’s sperm

Assisted Human Reproduction Act prohibits the removal of human reproductive material from a donor without consent

B.C. projects targeting the restoration of sockeye salmon stocks in the Fraser and Columbia Watersheds will share in $10.9 million of federal funding to protect species at risk. (Kenny Regan photo)
13 projects protecting B.C. aquatic species at risk receive $11 million in federal funding

Salmon and marine mammals expected to benefit from ecosystem-based approach

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

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

File photo
Surrey RCMP investigating death threat against Surrey councillor

‘On Monday morning I received a threat on messenger that basically said to put a bullet in me,’ Councillor Jack Hundial told the Now-Leader

Krista Macinnis displays the homework assignment that her Grade 6 daughter received on Tuesday. (Submitted photo)
B.C. mom angry that students asked to list positive stories about residential schools

Daughter’s Grade 6 class asked to write down 5 positive stories or facts

Most Read