Leading up to the start of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League’s 2020-21 season, which starts Nov. 13, 2020, the league is publishing team previews.
The Eagles finished 17th overall in the KIJHL’s regular season standings with 15 wins in 49. They didn’t qualify for the Teck Cup playoffs. Eagles coach Tyler Gunn focused on improving team speed.
“In order to be successful at this level every player needs to be quick enough to win puck races,” says Gunn.
The Eagles started the training camp later and to make up the time, the Eagles have skated twice a day while keeping practices competitive. Gunn has asked his players to push each other to a higher compete level. The Eagles have also done several game simulations in practice that has helped to keep the players motivated.
Gunn is excited about the players they have brought in, adding that each brings something different and can make a difference. Gunn anticipates four players making an impact.
Nate Prosser – Calgary, Alta., Calgary Canucks/AJHL | Northstars U18 AAA Defence- Is described as a smooth-skating, two-way player. Has 49 games at the AJHL level. Very aware on the ice and knows when to jump up to be offensive. He brings a lot of experience and poise to the back end.
Kingsley Brockett – Calgary, Alta., – Stamps U18 AA – Defence- made the transition from forward to defence during his time in Alberta midget league. He’s a very competitive player, who can join the rush as an offensive threat. His skating ability allows him to evade checkers, creating time and space for him and his teammates.
Charles Obobaifo – Calgary, Alta., – Stamps U18 AA -Iis a speedy left winger that will win puck races. His soft hands give him the ability to make moves in tight and he shoots to score every time. His high compete level and second effort mentality makes him a threat in every game.
Ben Peterson – Moose Jaw, Sask., – Warriors U18 AA – is a skilled two-way centerman. Peterson speed and agility make him hard to play against in all areas of the rink. Very offensive minded, but also defensively accountable. His work ethic on and off the ice will make him a strong player in our league.
Returning players: Gunn says all his returnees will be key, but three who will help lead the charge are Trevor Ebeling, Isaac Thomas and Brayden Haskell.
Ebeling – named captain – His work ethic is second to none and is a great example for the younger players. In the off-season, Ebeling works with the fire suppression team up in Terrac and knows the definition of work ethic and what the team needs to succeed.
Thomas– He played as a 16 year old last season – He’s very smart making decisions with the puck and is expected to run one of the power play units. Even though he’s just 17, Thomas has shown the ability to be a leader on and off the ice.
Haskell– A four-year veteran in the league, he was a huge of the offence last season and the same is expected this year. He’s got a high compete level and can be a thorn in the side of opposing teams.
“The style of play this year will be focused on speed and skill. Looking back on last year, I felt that we did not have enough team speed,” says Gunn. “Playing physical will always be a must as long as we as a team are smart about it. The days of trying to bully your way to success are virtually behind us. The game has evolved so much that every player needs to be fast in order to have any success at this level.”