North Van strong season with return of key coaching staff

Nick Laba – North Shore News


Assistant coach Elias Godoy helped lead the team to a championship win in 2015.

The North Vancouver Wolf Pack will be on the prowl for a spot in this year’s playoffs, with the return of assistant coach Elias Godoy, who helped lead the team to a Pacific Junior Hockey League championship title in 2015.

Primarily working with the team’s forwards, Godoy emphasizes offence and high-level skills, while training the players on a new system for penalty kills and power plays, says Giancarlo Nadeau, spokesperson for the Wolf Pack.

“[With] the level of professionalism that he brings to the practices and to the games, we’re super excited to have him back,” Nadeau said. “He’s also got a lot of experience with our organization, so he understands what our values are.”

Godoy was a regular figure behind the Wolf Pack’s bench before leaving in 2018 to take time to be with his two young kids.

The 41-year-old West Vancouverite comes from a high-level playing background. From 2002 to 2006, Godoy played NCAA Division 1 for University of Massachusetts Lowell, where he was nominated for the Hobey Baker Award, which recognizes the top player in collegiate hockey.

After university, he took an opportunity to attend the Vancouver Canucks development camp, where he trained alongside a young Markus Näslund and the Sedin twins. He then played professionally from 2006 to 2011, primarily in the CHL and EliteHockey Ligaen, the premier Norwegian league.

The Wolf Pack extended a warm welcome to Godoy and his family.

“We are excited for coach Elias to be back with the Wolf Pack family and to help try and bring another championship home,” said general manager Matt Samson.

The Wolf Pack narrowly missed the playoffs last year after a slow start to the regular season, losing to the Grandview Steelers in a three-game, must-win play-in series in February.

As it will be the final season for several players on the bench, there’s a renewed sense of urgency to push for a strong showing in the post season, Nadeau said.

Among those moving on next year is top scorer J.J. Pickell of North Vancouver, who was first in the PJHL last season with 42 goals, tying the Wolf Pack’s all-time record set by Dominic Davis in the 2019-20 season.

The Wolf Pack’s season is off to a rocky start, with two wins and three losses in five games. The team plays a road game against the Abbotsford Pilots on Friday, before returning home to play the Delta Ice Hawks on Saturday. All the players will wear orange at Saturday’s game to honour the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

This year, the Wolf Pack jumped to Tier 2 Junior A status, from Junior B, following the BCHL’s decision to break away from BC Hockey and become its own independent league.