KIJHL alumni Jaden Fodchuk (Princeton Posse) and Bryce Sookro (Nelson Leafs) have both contributed to the success the BCHL’s Cranbrook Bucks are enjoying this season. Fodchuk signed with the Bucks on Jan. 10 last season after putting up 31 points in 26 games as a rookie. While still considered a rookie, Fodchuk had one assist in 20 games last season. This year the Sechelt product has 14 points in 33 games. Sookro, a defenceman, had 29 points in 41 games and added 20 in 19 playoff games last season. He has five points in 23 games as a rookie.
We connected with both to talk about their respective seasons. The interview has been edited for clarity.
KIJHL: How do you feel you have been playing this season?
JF: I have been playing pretty well. I’m fast, physical and doing my job and we’re on a good little run here this year. It’s just amazing that we keep on winning and hopefully we get the outcome that we want in winning the BCHL championship.
KIJHL: What is the role that you have been asked to play to give your team success?
JF: My role is to play fast and physically, get the puck down deep and out of our zone. I’m also looked at to pump up the boys and do what I can to help them become successful. I am trying to work on adding offence and I always want to be a positive guy on the bench, a good teammate.
KIJHL: You have been chipping in more offensively this season, what do you credit to being able to do that?
JF: I’m working hard in practice and always taking the time to get better and work on skills and having my assistant coach show me things to work on. My linemates have also been helpful.
KIJHL: When it comes to improving your skills, where have you seen the biggest gains from last season?
JF: My shot has been getting a lot better and handling the puck in different ways.
KIJHL: What are things that you noticed from your time with the Princeton Posse and in the KIJHL that helped you take that next step with the Bucks?
JF: When I was there, I got a lot of minutes and got to use my speed. I gained more confidence from being in the KIJHL and it really helped me make my jump to the BCHL. I like that I got to do that.
KIJHL: Did it make playing in the BCHL a bit easier?
JF: Yes it did. It gave me the confidence in what I needed and a feel for what junior hockey is. It’s physical, fast and players make harder passes. Being in the KIJHL was a step you need to take to come to the next level and I’m happy I got to do that in Princeton.
KIJHL: What has your season been like?
BS: It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster of emotions being in and out of the lineup, but it’s been a good time with lots of learning.
KIJHL: How do you feel you have been playing of late to help your team?
BS: I’ve been a lot better lately as I’m getting more confident and contributing a bit more, playing more minutes. I’ve been asked to shut down certain lines, and just protect our zone and give good coverage.
KIJHL: What are the areas that you feel you have made big strides in becoming a better defenceman?
BS: Probably my skating and general game sense. I’m learning the different speeds of the league.
KIJHL: How did the games that you played as an affiliate last season help you with your transition to the league this year?
BS: It’s just learning about the team, meeting the players and getting a taste of the league. It’s just a bit of a confidence booster.
KIJHL: What are things from your time with Nelson and playing in the KIJHL that you feel have been a big help this season?
BS: The biggest thing for me was getting my first year of junior in with the Leafs. Coming up to junior, you get a feel of what it’s like to be on the road. You get the feel for junior hockey.
KIJHL: What was it like for you to score your first BCHL goal on the power-play?
(He laughs) We were up 7-1 and the coach threw me out there and I got a pass from Fodchuk in the middle there for the one timer and it went in. It’s just getting that first one out of the way. It almost feels like getting the monkey off your back. From there you feel a little looser.