The next time Rocky Nordvie laces up his skates, he’ll be wearing a Port Alberni Bombers jersey.
The 16-year-old member of shíshálh Nation recently signed on to the Junior B team for the 2022-23 hockey season. Nordvie spent last season playing with Okanagan Hockey Academy, and played with Pacific Coast Academy the year before. In 2021, Nordvie was one of the 30 athletes under 25 years old honoured with the 2020 Premier’s Awards for Indigenous Youth Excellence in Sport.
His new coach and the team’s general manager, Gaelan Patterson told Coast Reporter Nordvie signed onto the team earlier this month.
Nordvie’s commitment comes hot on the heels of helping Team BC secure third place as one of the team captains at the National Aboriginal Hockey Championships (NAHC) in Nova Scotia. It was his debut at the NAHC, and a week later he joined his new teammates for spring camp in Abbotsford.
Patterson noticed Nordvie at the Canadian Sport School Hockey League (CSSHL) championships, and had heard of his skills from scout Glen Dirk and word of mouth. He was able to see Nordvie’s high compete level, Patterson said, and could see his drive to win and get better. He also spoke highly of Nordvie’s character.
“Put him in the right environment, I think he’ll really thrive,” Patterson said.
When asked about what skills he hopes Nordvie will bring to the team, Patterson said he has sound fundamental skating skills. “He plays the game fearlessly,” and is an all-around good player.
“I think he'll do well there. I think he's going to play a strong defensive game. He’ll listen and seems very coachable,” he added.
There have been six new players recruited to the Bombers Junior B team so far, with a few more to come and a “decent amount of returning players,” Patterson said. It is the team’s second season in the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League (VIJHL). Last year, they got their start as an expansion team built from scratch and have already seen players called to play for the Nanaimo Clippers and an Alberta Junior A team during the season.
In their first season, the Bombers snuck into the playoffs in the eighth spot. They played the top team and “had a pretty good run,” Patterson said. “Overall, I think it was a very successful first year. The fans and the town seem to really rally around it.”