Opinion: Three reasons the Vancouver Giants will succeed in 2017-’18

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The Vancouver Giants are looking for a better year. (Photo from Vancouver Giants)

The 2016-2017 campaign wasn’t a good year for the Vancouver Giants. They ranked second last in the WHL, second last in goals for and second last in goals against.

Last season also marked the beginning of the start of a new building for the G-Men to play in, moving from the Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver all the way to the Langley Events Centre in Langley. Ron Toigo, the owner of the Vancouver Giants, was quoted saying “Win” after a reporter asked how the team could increase attendance. Almost everything was dismal, but there is hope for a successful 2017-’18 campaign.

 1. Port Mann Bridge

Many of the fans who attended games were from the Vancouver area and the move from Vancouver to the Fraser Valley wasn’t great for the commuters. Also, to add on to the 45-minute drive to Langley Events Centre, there was a toll bridge in the way. Highway 1 would be the quickest route to get there for the commuters in Vancouver and the toll bridge made this more of a hassle for people who don’t want to pay. After the provincial election in May, the NDP eliminated tolls on the Port Mann Bridge and Golden Ears Bridge. With the tolls out of the way, this will draw more Vancouverites to make the drive out into the Fraser Valley to watch some exciting junior hockey.

2. Two returning draftees

Ty Ronning of the New York Rangers and Tyler Benson of the Edmonton Oilers are two National Hockey League draftees who are returning to the team. Benson’s return will be delayed due to injury, but having these two in the lineup is a big boost. Ronning was first in scoring last year with 53 points and Benson wasn’t far behind with 42. If they can continue to grow as players and create more offensively, the Giants will be an exciting team. Which of course, leads to more people in the seats.

3. Influx of Youth

The kids are coming. Many of the Vancouver Giant’s players are 1999-born and they possess a high level of skill. One of these players is James Malm, who finished second in scoring last season and is looking to build on the point totals leading into his draft year. Another kid who is intriguing is Dylan Plouffe. He is a defenceman with a lot to prove, due to only two returnees in Ronning and Benson. Plouffe is going into his draft and can be the leader on the Giants D-core.

This Giants season will be an interesting one to watch, and with a lot of budding talent on the rise, playoffs should definitely be in the question when March comes around.

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