Pilots forward Mateo Toledo is one of the key returning players for Abbotsford this season. (John Morrow)

Abbotsford Pilots opening PJHL season

Pilots hit the road tonight, host home opener on Friday

It’s a brand new Pacific Junior Hockey League season for the Abbotsford Pilots, and on Friday they welcome a debuting team for the first time to the MSA Arena.

The Pilots host the expansion Langley Trappers on Friday at 7:30 p.m., and it marks the first time the new team will play for keeps in Abbotsford.

The two teams are familiar with each other, as they both wrapped up the PJHL exhibition schedule in Langley on Sunday when the Pilots downed the Trappers 7-1.

Abbotsford finished off the preseason with a record of three wins and one loss, opening the four-game schedule with a 2-0 loss to the Delta Ice Hawks on Aug. 19. They followed that up with a 7-3 win over the Mission City Outlaws on Aug. 25 and a 2-1 win over Delta on Aug. 26.

The Pilots open the season tomorrow (Thursday) against the Surrey Knights at the North Surrey Recreation Centre.

Up front, the Pilots have several key returning faces expected to carry the offensive load.

Brady Morton and Mateo Toledo are the top two scorers back in the fold. Toledo was second on the club in goal scoring last year with 23, while Morton was third in points with 40 in 40 games. Jamie Housch, Noah Wiebe and Nate Castonguay are also important returning pieces.

Also back in Pilots colours this year is Alexander Methorst, who is back after a short stint in Delta last season.

Justin Peaker and Thomas Pickering are back manning the blueline, and will be joined by veterans Ryan Crosby-Jones and Tyler Wickman. Kellan Toews is another experience blueliner added to the team, to go along with rookies Tyson Goryniuk and Sahvan Gill.

The duo in goal is Abbotsford native Robert Nawrot, who spent last season in Surrey and rookie netminder Liam Marshall.

For more on the team, visit abbotsfordpilots.com.