History of The Pilots
2007 2008 marks the 20th year of operation since the team transferred from the Mission Pilots in 1987-88. The Pilots originated in MSA Arena In 1973-74 and left to go to Mission in 1976-77 when the Flyers Junior A team moved to Abbotsford. The Pilots have always strived to be a staple in the community of approximately 135,000 people, as well as an Integral part of our region, the Fraser Valley. The Pilots have enjoyed being the highest level of competition hockey in town which is enviable for many reasons including fan support of the team (we often play to crowds of 600 plus and over 1000 plus In the playoffs), the popularity of the players in Abbotsford, and the tight-knit comfort of our community with all the amenities of the Big City.
Philosophy of the Pilots
We operate as much as a "service club" to the community as well as a "hockey club". Our players are expected to become immersed in the community with several functions and programs in place to ensure this. We believe in developing hockey players but we also believe in building character, appreciating compassion, and stimulating personal growth. With commitment from the players, both on and off the ice, we have found that the players who have passed through our program have taken much more than trophies, championships and statistics away with them to the next level. We believe in helping those who truly want to help themselves. We aid in the pursuit of scholarships, part time work and knowledge of the game but the Initiative must be there from the players.
The League In Which We Play
The PIJHL is a premiere development league in BC. There have been numerous players in the PIJHL who have gone on to play Junior A, College and Professionally. Scott Langkow of the Pilots was drafted in the 1st round (26th) by Winnipeg Jets, David Van Der Gulik of the Pilots in 2002 by Calgary Flames in the 7th round. Jeff Tambellini drafted 27th in 2003 by the Los Angeles Kings.
The PIJHL Is an eight team league (Richmond, Port Moody, Delta, Ridge Meadows, Grandview, North Delta, Hope and Abbotsford) playing a 48 league game schedule. The playoff champions from the PIJHL will play the KIJHL and VIJHL champions in a round robin tournament to decide a provincial champion who will then take part in the Keystone Cup Western Canadian Championship this year in April 2008 in Selkirk, Manitoba. You should compare the teams you are interested in playing for in terms of their operations and history, not just their win-loss records. We feel you will find the Abbotsford Pilots reputation to be at or near the top league wide.
Ice Time and Scheduling
The Pilots practice on Tuesdays (9:45 pm to 11:15 pm) and Wednesdays (8:45 pm to 10:00 pm) including dry land training. We play an average of two games per week with our home game Friday 7:30 pm. All away games are within an hour travel from Abbotsford. Players are responsible for their own travel to games.
The Pilots will provide all outer equipment including pants, gloves and helmets. All under equipment is the responsibility of the player. Players provide their own sticks. Pilots also have their own skate sharpener.
Exposure and Coverage
This is another area which sets the Pilots above the rest. Locally, two newspapers cover the Pilots extensively, the local cablevision station will give the Pilots coverage as well as Country 107.1 radio station. Abbotsford will follow the Pilots all year long with game coverage and contests. You can also follow the Pilots occasionally in the BC HOCKEY NOW newspaper.
Pilot Game Nights
Pilots home games on Fridays are billed as "Family Night" and if you've never been to a Pilots home game, well you are really missing out on an exciting evening of entertainment. Every Pilot home game has a theme night, be it Boston Pizza Night, White Spot Night, Old Dutch Chips, etc. There are lots and lots of prize giveaways every period, every game, as well as numerous draw prizes to be won by entering program contests. Every game a minor hockey mini game takes place as well as the famous Spots Traders Huck-A-Puck Contest where you can win more prizes. The Pilots host Birthday Parties, The Best Seat in the House Contest, Spot the Fan, a Kid’s Club and MSA Ford Truck Shoot where you have a chance to win a 2008 F 150 Truck at our last home game of the season. If this isn't enough you can watch Canuck or other NHL games on one of two TV's the Pilots have set up in the arena lobby. After the game the Pilots dressing room is always available for fans to get autographs from the team.
The Pilots are committed to promoting our players towards furthering their education through hockey. School age players will be expected to maintain regular attendance in their respective high school. Abbotsford houses a campus of the University College of the Fraser Valley, which offers university, transfer and credit courses. The Pilots offer two scholarships per year in the amount of $250.00 each.
Getting You To The Next Step
The most Important exposure you receive with the Pilots is that to the scouts. They are in attendance nightly in the MSA Arena due to a number of factors:
- The location of Abbotsford, which is central to BCHL teams making it the most traveled through community by scouts.
- Abbotsford's proximity to airports (10 minutes from MSA Arena), Vancouver (1 hour) and Seattle (11/2 hours). Abbotsford sits right on the Trans Canada Highway.
- The dedication and accommodating nature of the coaching staff and management in pushing the players to the scouts including interviews, statistics and updates. In addition, because of the affiliation with the Langley Chiefs of the BCHL we are able to utilize their educational advisors excellent relationship with scouts.
- The long-standing tradition of high caliber players and ultra competitive teams in Abbotsford, year after year after year.
- The Pilots organization has a wealth of contacts at every level of hockey.
- The atmosphere of MSA Arena ranks among the best In Canada in terms of fan involvement, sight lines and professional game night production. The MSA Arena brings the "gamer" out of both the Pilots and the opposition and scouts know this.
|Some of the Junior “A” Bound Pilots|
|Todd Geddes||Merrit Centennials|
|Tyler Boucher||Penticton Knights|
|Dennis Archibald||Chilliwack Chiefs|
|Paul Nichols||Chilliwack Chiefs|
|Kees Roodbal||Surrey Eagles|
|Scott Boucher||Surrey Eagles|
|Cam Campbell||Chilliwack Chiefs|
|Krls Wallace||Nanaimo Clippers|
|Sean Downey||New West Royals|
|Chris Hopson||New West Royals|
|Ryan Hawes||Chilliwack Chiefs|
|Robert Longpre||Chilliwack Chiefs|
|Spencer Rogers||Chilliwack Chiefs|
|Aaron Courtney||Surrey Eagles|
|Vic Pereira||Surrey Eagles|
|Peter Hay||Estavan Bruins|
|Darryl Burgess||Chilliwack Chiefs|
|Chad Taylor||Penticton Panthers|
|Tyson Terry||Chilliwack Chiefs|
|Brodie Rutherglen||Merritt Centennials|
|David Van Der Gulik||Chilliwack Chiefs|
|Ryan Kreml||Chilliwack Chiefs|
|Cory Grabowski||Merritt Centennials|
|Krlstlan Jefklns||Oceanic (MJHL)|
|Shane McConnlck||Coquitlam Express|
|Darren Olson||Langley Hornets|
|Drew Martz||Merritt Centennials|
|Tyler Burton||Chilliwack Chiefs|
|Nick Lowe||Surrey Eagles|
|David Rutherford||Surrey Eagles|
|Tyler Chambers||Chilliwack Chiefs|
|Brent Seal||Chilliwack Chiefs|
|Peter Bogdanlch||Chilliwack Chiefs|
|Steve Van Oosten||Chilliwack Chiefs|
|Tyler Spice||Canmore Eagles|
|Chris Eppich||Chilliwack Chiefs|
|Jordan Kremyr||Chilliwack Chiefs|
|Scott McNaughton||Alberni Valley|
|Derek Grant||Langley Chiefs|
|Kevin Hanna||Prince George Spruce Kings|
|Kurt Cowden||Burnaby Express|
|Ryan Stanimir||Burnaby Express|
|Pilots Playing College Hockey|
|Dennis Archibald||U of Ottawa|
|Scott Boucher||Ferris State College|
|Vic Pereira||Polytechnic Institute|
|Peter Hay||U of Wisconsin|
|Darryl Burgess||U of Ottawa|
|Brodie Rutherglen||Clarkson U.|
|David Van Der Gullk||Boston U.|
|Drafted 2002 by Calgary Flames|
|Nick Lowe||Alaska U.|
|Ryan Brown||Wentworth College|
|Jay Nagamatsu||Boston U.|
|David Lyons||Minnesota U.|
|Brad Shaback||U of Alberta|
|Grady Hunt||Alabama U.|
|Tyson Terry||U of Wisconsin|
|Tyler Boucher||Brandon U.|
|Shane Lennox||Hotchkiss U.|
|Pilots in the WHL|
|Scott Langkow||Portland Winter Hawks|
|Ryan Hawes||Spokane Chiefs|
|Ryan Berry||Spokane Chiefs|
|Marc Brown||Spokane Chiefs|
|Kalvln Sagert||Kamloops Blazers|
|Adam Hobson||Spokane Chiefs|
|David Rutherford||Spokane Chiefs|
|Mark Santorelli||Chilliwack Bruins|
|Pilots Playing Pro|
|Scott Langkow||Winnipeg Jets|
|Jason Heiland||Forth Worth Texas|
|Jeff Corbett||Hampton Road Admirals|
|Tyler Boucher||New Mexico Scorpions|
|Marc Brown||Worchester Icecats|
|David Van Der Gulik||Colorado Avalance|
|Adam Hobson||Rockford Ice Hogs AHL|
Head Coach Jim Cowden played both minor and Junior Hockey In Abbotsford. He also played in Finland and Senior Hockey for the Chilliwack Royals. He has coached the last six years of Bantam and Midget in Abbotsford. Last season the Pilots finished in first place for the sixth time in the last nine seasons. In Jim's first 3 seasons with the Pilots they finished 1st, 2nd and 1st. The Pilots also won their 4th league championship in 2007.
Assistant Coach Jarrett Craig is in his third year of coaching with the Pilots as well as playing for the Pilots for 3 years.
Assistant Coach Barry Veldhoen is in his 3rd season as an assistant coach with the team and has many years of coaching with Abbotsford Minor.
Assistant Coach Travis Veldhoen is in his second season as an assistant coach and played his minor hockey with Abbotsford and with the Pilots.
Dale Cresswell is the Pilots goaltending coach, who has coached with a number of Abbotsford minor hockey teams and played for the Merritt Centennials.
Pilots' Community Involvement
Community Involvement is a major component of our organization's success on and off the Ice. Commitment to our community through our players and management is a mandate our organization can be proud of. We are committed to a variety of non-profit organizations, elementary schools and sporting associations. We work diligently to create a long lasting partnership with these organizations to assist them in their fundraising efforts and creating awareness for them through various community events. It is imperative that each and every member of our team accepts the responsibility of being an Abbotsford Pilot not only on the Ice but also by giving back to the community off the Ice.
WE PROUDLY SUPPORT
- Abbotsford Minor Hockey
- United Way
- RCMP PRIDE Program
- McDonalds McHappy Days
- Subway Child Find Day
- Fraser Valley Child Developmental Centre
- Special Venturers
- Abbotsford Food Bank
- Canadian Cancer Society
|The Pilots File|
|GM: Jack Goeson
|Head Coach: Jim Cowden
Head Scout: Faisal Vallani