Over my last few articles for BCHLNetwork, I’ve examined the best Express players in team history. Starting with the goaltenders, moving out to the defense core, and two editions covering two decades of forwards. With a 20-year history, some players were overlooked for the first team but their place in team history cannot be forgotten. As always, let the debate begin!
Jones has the distinction of being the franchise’s first number one goaltender. The North Delta, BC native was a workhorse, backstopping the fledgling Express club to three straight playoff appearances. The 2003-04 season was the best season statistically for Jones, posting a respectable 20-13 record, 3.67 goals-against-average, and an 89 percent save percentage.
Jones followed up his Express career with a collegiate career at St. Norbert College, which is an NCAA Division III school. He most recently played pro hockey in Scotland and called it a career after the 2014-15 season.
Like fellow Express alum Jake Brien, Merth was not a prolific offensive machine in the BCHL. The ‘Merthinator’ played a solid, stay-at-home game. He was known more for solid checking and the odd scrap, not the highlight-reel clapper to the top shelf.
The New Westminster, BC product had a career-best 22 points in the 2005-06 season on the strength of five goals and 17 assists as the Express won the RBC Cup national junior A championship. Merth capped his experience by picking up the outstanding defenseman award at the RBC Cup tournament.
Merth followed his Express career with an NCAA scholarship to Rennselaer Polytechnic Institute, where he was an alternate captain in his junior and senior years.
Scholastically gifted, Merth was on the East Coast Athletic Conference all-academic team in his first three seasons. Merth played a handful of games in the ECHL and AHL before retiring after the 2013-14 season.
Cooper, much like his predecessors Merth and Dave Simoes, was not known for his offensive prowess. However, like the pair of RBC Cup champion blueliners who came before him, Cooper played the role of consummate leader to a perfect T. The Ann Arbor, Michigan native donned the Express jersey for two seasons and left nothing short of a lasting impression.
Following a 15-point rookie campaign in the 2018-19 season, Cooper was named team captain for the Express the following season.
Coquitlam Express D Drew Cooper is this week's Subway #BCHLPOW!
The Express captain had 6 PTS in 2 games last week and has climbed into a tied for 5th in the BCHL in d-man scoring.
— BC Hockey League (@GoBCHL) February 10, 2020
Cooper improved his offensive numbers by 20 points in 2019-20, potting 10 goals and 25 assists on his way to a 35-point season. The total placed him second on the team in scoring from the blueline and ninth in the BCHL defense scoring race.
Cooper is currently attending Ferris State University on an NCAA Division I scholarship.
Jones was born in Guelph, Ontario but grew up in North Vancouver, BC. Jones played minor hockey there where he was part of the famous smurf line with former Kelowna Rocket and Memorial Cup champion Cam Paddock.
He was also an original member of the Coquitlam Express. The young forward overcame a horrible on-ice incident in the 2002-03 season which required significant plastic surgery to his face, limiting him to only 35 games.
Jones had his best season with the club in 2003-04, leading the Express in scoring on the strength of 33 goals and 60 assists for 93 points. The total was sixth in the league and earned him a spot on the Coastal Conference all-star team.
Jones was selected by the Colorado Avalanche in the 9th round of the 2003 NHL Draft. Following his Express career, Jones attended Dartmouth College on an NCAA scholarship before turning pro.
His best professional season was in 2010-11, where he posted 45 points on the strength of 27 goals and 18 helpers with the Avs. Jones followed up his Avalanche playing days with a three-year stop in Calgary. He retired after splitting the 2015-16 season between the Flames and the Minnesota Wild.
Following in the footsteps of older brother Alex, the middle Kerfoot brother joined the Express for the 2013-14 season.
Kerfoot played two full seasons with the Express, tallying 31 points in his first full year with the club. He put up a team-leading 79 points on the strength of 24 goals and 55 assists in the 2015-16 season, good enough for eighth overall in BCHL scoring.
The West Vancouver, BC native won the Bob Fenton Trophy as the league’s most sportsmanlike player, amassing a grand total of only two minor penalties all season.
Kerfoot then followed his older brother to Harvard on an NCAA scholarship. Upon graduation at the end of the 2019-20 season, the 24-year-old forward moved to Tampere, Finland where he is currently playing for Koovee in Mestis, the second tier of Finnish hockey,
On the team that finished first overall last season and poised to take a very serious run at the Fred Page Cup and perhaps beyond, Lapointe needs to be on this list. While the 2019-20 edition of the Express sparkled defensively, Lapointe was part of a stellar offensive campaign as well.
The Granby, Quebec native led the team with 29 goals and 31 helpers for 60 points. It seemed whenever the Express needed a spark, Lapointe was the one that shouldered the responsibility and lifted the team with a timely goal.
He was well-liked by fans and had no problem speaking to any of the volunteers before the game or during intermission. Lapointe is currently attending St. Lawrence University on an NCAA scholarship.