The Coquitlam Express will retire two jerseys as part of four special nights this season honouring the BC Hockey League team’s alumni.
Mark Soares, a member of the inaugural Express in 2001–02, will have his jersey retired on Saturday, Nov. 5, prior to a game against the Powell River Kings.
Soares scored 219 points in 258 games over the course of five seasons with the Express, including 25 points in 22 games in 2005–06, when the team won the league championship and went on to claim the RBC Cup national banner as well.
Following his BCHL career, Soares attended Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ont., and then played professionally in Germany and the Netherlands for several seasons. He currently runs Maxx Force Hockey that’s based in Langley and will help out the Express as a skills coach.
Kyle Turris, who’s joined the Express this season as a player development coach and special advisor to general manager Tali Campbell, will have his jersey retired on Friday, Jan. 6, when the Chilliwack Chiefs visit the Poirier Sport and Leisure Complex.
Turris played two seasons for the Express, while the team was based in Burnaby as the old Poirier Rec Centre was renovated and expanded.
He lead the team to the national junior championship in ’05–06, scoring a hat trick in the final game against the Yorkton Terriers of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League, then followed that up with 121 points in 53 games the following season and an additional 24 points in 16 playoff games.
In 2007, Turris was drafted third overall in the NHL Entry Draft by the Phoenix Coyotes. He joined the team after playing a year at the University of Wisconsin.
Turris recently announced his retirement from the National Hockey League after playing 14 seasons with the Coyotes, Nashville Predators, Ottawa Senators and Edmonton Oilers. The New Westminster native is in the process of relocating his family back to Metro Vancouver.
On Friday, Feb. 3, the Express will honour the team that won a second BCHL championship in 2013–14 and on Friday, March 24, all former players will be celebrated.
Campbell said it’s important the Express recognize its past. The club is actively looking to reestablish connections with more of its former players. It recently launched a new alumni association.
“Our alumni are our strongest ambassadors,” he said in a news release. “They are role models who continue to inspire and create pathways for our players and the alumni nights allow us to express our gratitude to them.”
The Express wrapped up its preseason schedule on Monday with a 4-1 loss to the Surrey Eagles at South Surrey Arena. Saturday, the team defeated the Langley Rivermen 10-1 at the George Preston Arena.
Mirko Buttazzoni scored two goals and added two assists to lead the offensive barrage, while Alexander Colton had a three-point game.
The win was Coquitlam’s only one in six preseason games. The team opens its regular season Sept. 23 at Poirier against the Prince George Spruce Kings.