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Changing tracks: The best Express forwards of the 2010s

(This article was originally published on Dec. 20, 2020.)

The 2010 calendar year loomed large in the local Greater Vancouver hockey scene. Most of the world will recollect Sidney Crosby’s dramatic gold medal overtime goal for Canada against Ryan Miller and Team USA during the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Down the road, just east of Vancouver, the summer of 2010 also featured a hockey story that shouldn’t be overlooked. Following a five-season stint as the Burnaby Express, the team relocated back to Coquitlam into the newly renovated Poirier Sport and Leisure Complex.

My previous article examined the top Express forwards of the 2000s. Now it is time to shift decades and look at the best Express forwards from the 2010s.

So who are the best forwards from the 2010s? Current Toronto Maple Leafs centre and Harvard graduate Alex Kerfoot? His younger brother Colton? How about Princeton Tigers veteran Jackson Cressey?

What about three-year Express forward Luca Leone? Or maybe more recent players like Greg Lapointe or Regan Kimens? Let the debate begin.

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Alex Petan

Petan began his Express career in Burnaby, putting up seven points in 49 games during the 2009-10 season. The Delta, BC native eclipsed those numbers when the team moved back to Coquitlam, notching 13 goals and 20 assists for 33 points in the 2010-11 season.

Prior to 2011-12, Petan was named Express captain. He put up a team-high 88 points on the strength of 38 goals and 50 helpers, which secured the team scoring title. Petan also easily won the team MVP trophy that season.

He followed up his Express playing career with an NCAA scholarship to Michigan Tech University where he was captain for the 2015-16 season. Petan is currently playing professional hockey in Austria for Fehrervor AV19 of the ICEHL.

Ryan Rosenthal

Rosenthal joined the Express prior to the 2013-14 season following a disappointing season and a lack of ice time at the University of Vermont. With the hope of increased playing time and the possibility of securing another NCAA scholarship, Rosenthal moved to junior hockey and landed in Coquitlam.

The Montvale, New Jersey native was named captain of the Express soon after his arrival. Rosenthal finished third on the team in scoring during the regular season, potting 34 goals and 30 helpers for a very respectable 64 points.

Much like Express alumni like Dave Simoes and Peter Merth, Rosenthal’s team contributions should not be weighed by goals and assists alone. He provided the team with tremendous leadership on and off the ice, creating that all-important winning hockey culture.

Rosenthal led the Express in scoring during their improbable 2014 Fred Page Cup run. He finished the BCHL playoffs with a team-best 22 points on the strength of 14 goals and eight assists.

It was Rosenthal’s timely scoring along with very strong play by the Express’s bottom-six forward group that ultimately paved the way to the club’s second Fred Page Cup. For his efforts, Rosenthal was named the team MVP and top forward following the season.

Along the way, Rosenthal secured an NCAA scholarship to Northeastern University, where he completed his final three years of university eligibility. At the pro level, Rosenthal had a brief cup of coffee with the Tulsa Oilers of the ECHL during the 2017-18 season.

Corey Mackin

Mackin joined the club for the 2013-14 season, piling up a very respectable 50 points on the strength of 24 goals and 26 assists. The Philadelphia, Pennsylvania native finished fifth in Coquitlam’s regular-season scoring race and was named the team’s rookie of the year. During the 2014 Fred Page Cup run, Mackin again finished fifth in team scoring with five goals and 10 assists.

Mackin hit his full stride in the 2014-15 season. As arguably the best top line in the league, the Express trio of Mackin, Brett Supinski, and Brendan Lamont finished the season with a combined 113 goals, 142 assists, and 255 points.

Mackin won the team and league scoring title on the strength of 50 goals and 54 assists for 104 points. The totals tied him with Tyler McNeely for the second-best offensive point producing season in Express history. He easily won the team MVP award.

Mackin followed up his Express playing days with an NCAA scholarship to Ferris State University, where he captained the Bulldogs in both his junior and senior seasons.

He is currently playing professional hockey for his hometown Flyers ECHL affiliate, the Reading Royals.

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Brett Supinski

Supinski had an outstanding 2014-15 season for the Coquitlam Express. Playing alongside Mackin and Lamont, Supinski put up an Express rookie record 98 points. He had 48 goals and 50 assists en route to a second-place finish in team and league scoring.

The Collegeville, Pennslyvania product easily won the Express rookie of the year award. Supinski also was named a first-team BCHL all-star and won the Bruce Allison Memorial Trophy as the BCHL rookie of the year.

Supinski went on to play hockey at Union College on an NCAA scholarship. He is a current member of the ECHL’s South Carolina Stingrays after spending last season with the Idaho Steelheads.

Who will be on this list for the 2020s? Will Ryan Tattle become the next Mackin or Petan? Will Thomas Stift match Supinski’s rookie campaign? Is there someone in the NCAA who wants to play junior hockey again and be the next Rosenthal?

Whether from the comfort of their own home or once fans are allowed back in the stands, the next wave of forwards looks to make their mark against some of the best to ever don the Coquitlam Express jersey.