Jennifer Small photo
Happy New Year KIJHL fans! Welcome to 2022. We hope you enjoyed your holiday season. The league got back into action on Dec. 28 and now teams are pushing for a playoff run. Many teams have made trades to improve their roster and this KIJHL Notebook touches on that.
Eddie Mountain Division
Drew Tkachuk joined the Columbia Valley Rockies from the Chase Heat in a trade on Nov. 8. Tkachuk has four points in 13 games after having seven assists in nine games for the Heat. He had his first multi-point game Dec. 17, clicking on a line with Reed Sparrow and Kaelan Shelton. Rockies Head Coach Briar McNaney said Tkachuk has really started to fire on all cylinders in all aspects of the game of late and they couldn’t be more happy with him as a player and person.
“Drew brings a variety of much-needed intangibles to our group. He is a smart penalty-killer, smart forechecker, has an energetic playing style, but most of all he is an absolute character off the ice,” said McNaney. “He is one of those individuals that every team needs to have in the dressing room and on the ice in order to be successful. You can’t help but cheer for him, and he’s deserved a lot of it in his last five games especially.”
Tenzin Bogardis joined the Kimberley Dynamiters from the North Okanagan Knights early in the season. In 17 games, Bogardis has five goals and 13 points and 14 points in 19 games total. In the KIJHL Notebook this season, Head Coach and General Manager Derek Stuart said that Bogardis brought a calming presence to the blueline.
“He is extremely poised with the puck and gets it moving north quickly,” said Stuart. “He has improved our PP as well.”
Bogardis, who has two goals and eight points on the power-play, was named the Top Defenceman for the KIJHL 3 Stars of the Week, period ending Dec. 31.
Jock Michael has two points in 11 games for the Fernie Ghostriders since joining them in a trade from Golden on Nov. 22. In 25 games split between the two teams, Michael has six points. He has contributed to helping the Ghostriders win seven games.
Former goalie McCoy Bidewell earned the BCHL’s 3rd star with the Cowichan Valley Capitals as he turned aside 74 of the 77 shots to finish the week with a .961 SP and a 1.51 GAA. The 19-year-old netminder has the third highest save percentage in the BCHL with a mark of .923. He’s 4-5-0 in nine starts and has a 2.97 goals-against average.
The Creston Valley Thunder Cats have made a few moves this season. Prior to the Christmas break, they added Luke Chakrabarti from the Osoyoos Coyotes and he has three goals and six points in four games. The Thunder Cats also added Stavros Koutsantonis from Revelstoke, who is pointless in three games and goalies Brendan Lloyd and Tanner Johnson, who has a win in his lone game. Head Coach and General Manager Bill Rotheisler said his team has improved dramatically.
“Prior to that we weren’t really in the right space mentally. Luke certainly plays a part in revitalizing our room,” said Rotheisler. “Luke, along with TJ (Tanner Johnson), have more than just replaced, but improved our dynamic on the ice, and as well as our overall culture. Prior to the break, we were simply being beat, not only outscored but outplayed and outpaced. For the last three games since their arrival, for whatever reason, we are able to play at a pace that has allowed us to analytically outplay and outshoot opponents. We are still battling a low shooting percentage, among other things and Luke is a player that can play at the highest pace, while maintaining quality plays, which will be imperative through this evolution of our group.”
Brydon Foster has nine goals and 14 points for the Golden Rockets since joining the team from the Osoyoos Coyotes. They also picked up defenceman Ethan Aebly from Castlegar and Alexander Johnson from Fernie. Aebly has two assists in three games, while Johnson has four points in 16 games. The biggest recent roster change for the Rockets is the promotion of goalie Michael O’ Sullivan, who has signed with the Manitoba Junior Hockey League’s Winnipeg Freeze. Keep an eye on the league website to read more on O’Sullivan later. Colton Day now gets an opportunity for more playing time with O’Sullivan leaving. He was brought in to be the third-string and pushed O’Sullivan and Levi Hall.
“He’s done a great job of developing. We think he will be a quality goaltender for us in the future,” said Rockets Head Coach and General Manager Chuck Wight. “In the two starts he’s had, he is 1-1 and done quite well.”
Day has been working hard with the goalie coach on positional aspects.
“He has had a very positive outlook towards his development, which is great. That is his biggest asset. He keeps pushing and he keeps getting better.”
Neil Murdoch Division
The Nelson Leafs picked up defenceman Dylan Mowery from the Castlegar Rebels and he has an assist in 11 games. He’s contributed to the Leafs winning seven games. They have won 13 of their 19 games against divisional opponents and are 12-2 when scoring first. They are 4-3 when tied after two periods.
Since joining the Beaver Valley Nitehawks, Spencer Lloyd has played in 10 games. In that time he has helped the Nitehawks win four games.
“We value his competitiveness and he has been a great team player for us,” said Nitehawks Head Coach and General Manager Terry Jones.
The Castlegar Rebels have been one of the busier teams in the league working to strengthen their roster. They picked up Tymon Sanikopoulos, Ilya Zhilinsky, Leo Chartrand, Logan Arsenault, Liam Dumelie, re-acquired Griffen Ryden, who leads the team in goals and points, Nick Woodrow, Zach Vandekerckhove and Caleb Genest.
“Zhilinsky has been really good overall. He has been one of our best D-men. Sanikopoulos is 16 and he has been one of our best defenceman,” said Rebels Head Coach and General Manager Arnie Caplan, adding the moves he’s made have improved his roster, especially the defence, which he identified as an area that needed to be better.
The Grand Forks Border Bruins added Matteus Reis and Ollie Morberg in trades. In 17 games, Reis has 14 points, including eight goals, while Morberg has eight points, including a game-winner, in 14 games.
Doug Birks Division
The lone player the Kamloops Storm added via trade is hometown product Alek Erichuk. In 14 games he has nine points.
“The first thing that comes to mind with Alek is what he has brought to our team as a person. He is a great teammate, first and foremost,” said Storm Head Coach Geoff Grimwood of Erichuk, who spent last season in the BCHL with Merritt.. “He treats everyone on the team with so much respect. He’s quiet, but has a confidence to him that I think the rest of our team feeds off of. He cares about his teammates and what’s best for the team. He’s humble and hard working and he’s made all of his teammates better.
“It was a big trade for us and I think just really balanced out our D core,” Grimwood continued. “He’s a big presence back there, but also plays with a lot of poise.”
The Storm have also had three players play in the BCHL recently. Zakery Anderson has played as an affiliate with the Salmon Arm Silverbacks, scoring a goal.
Kyle Sanford made his BCHL debut with the Merritt Centennials, while goalie Colton Phillips-Watts also played for the Centennials earning a 3-2 overtime win over the Cranbrook Bucks.
The Revelstoke Grizzlies acquired Vin Jackson, the former captain of the Creston Valley Thunder Cats before the Christmas break. He made his debut on Dec. 11 and had a two-point performance. He has three points in four games and 20 points in 23 games total.
Grizzlies Head Coach and General Manager Ryan Parent said Jackson has been great.
“He fits in well. It was almost immediate really,” said Parent. “He scored in his first game for us. I think he’s settling into a structured environment and I think he’s enjoying that. I think he’s really working to change his game. I’ll give him credit, at 19, not every 19-year-old would be willing to admit positive change into their game. I think he is really working for that.”
The Chase Heat picked up Tanner Chapman from Fernie before the Christmas break and has a goal in two games. He helped the Heat defeat Kamloops just before the break.
100 Mile House Wranglers have made a couple moves recently. On Jan. 2 they added Bryce Burnett from Lake Cowichan and on Dec. 29 brought in Cade Enns from Princeton and he has played two games. The Wranglers added Bhavin Serown from Chase and he is pointless in eight games.
The Sicamous Eagles made a couple of trades recently, adding Easton Gauthier from Creston Valley and he has played two games. They also just picked up Jesse Lee from North Okanagan. Lee had nine points in 18 games before the trade.
Bill Ohlhausen Division
The Osoyoos Coyotes picked up Tegan Neuman from division rival Kelowna and he has contributed three goals and eight points in seven games.
“He’s been on my radar for a couple of years now,” said Coyotes Head Coach Carter Rigby of the West Kelowna product. “He is 17-years-old, he’s not the biggest kid, but his skillset is phenomenal for his age. I heard nothing but great things about the kid too so it was a situation where I’m going for it this year, and to add a player of his skill level on a great offensive team already I think was a no-brainer. He has been nothing but outstanding for us since he has been with us. He gets along with the guys and he is such a coachable kid, respectful.”
Rigby’s expectation for what he wants Neuman to bring is simple.
“Goals. He’s a kid that has a great set of hands. He has got a knack for the net, too. He scores off the rush. Wrap-around goals. Overtime goals. He is a kid we can use in all situations,” said Rigby.
Levi Lamotte has two assists in five games since joining the Kelowna Chiefs on Dec. 9. He’s helped the Chiefs pick up three wins, with the two losses coming against his former team, Osoyoos. The Chiefs also added Nick Morin and he has seven points in 12 games, while Shawn St. Arnaud is pointless in eight games. Rebman said that St. Arnaud, who is 6-4, 200 pounds, will be tough to handle once he improves his skating and puck placement.
“We see him being a pretty key piece and making some really solid progress in his development,” said Rebman.
The Summerland Steam haven’t added any players via trade. In 20 games against divisional opponents, the Steam have won 11 games and they have won four of six games against Doug Birks Division teams. They have won 10 of 12 games when leading after two and are 2-0 when tied after two.
The North Okanagan Knights recently added Ty McNaughton and Paison Butler in separate trades. In eight games, McNaughton has five points.
“Over the year we have been fortunate to acquire a number of high quality individuals,” said Knights Head Coach and General Manager Liam McOnie. “Nolan Thomas has brought a lot of grit and speed to our lineup with young blood. Brayden Baustad has brought a great veteran presence and mature leadership in buying into his role and the program. Carter Wiebe is a local Vernon product and has brought consistent puck moving, being an offensive threat from the back end. McNaughton has been a hard working, heads up player with lots of drive to improve and win games. Paison is a player that really interested us with his speed, hands, and skill. He’s an offensive player which is exactly what we are trying to add moving towards the final stretch of the season as goals start to come at a premium and teams button up defensively.”
The Princeton Posse have been very active, mostly because they have dealt with several injuries. They recently picked up Colby Chavez-Leech from Castlegar, who had a big impact against Osoyoos, scoring his first career hat-trick with the game winning goal in overtime.
“I think Chevy adds some experience that our group definitely needed to have around with our group being so young,” said Head Coach Mark Readman. They also added veteran Elijah Havers earlier in the season and he has six points in 26 games and gives a veteran presence. Will Stewart has impressed Readman on a daily basis and his fit in perfectly with the group. Other notables are Mason Mowat, who “competes everyday like it is his last” and can play in any situation. Luken Murray was added from the Kerry Park Islanders of the VIJHL. “Luken brings a fun attitude to the rink everyday and is someone who just loves the game,” said Readman, adding that he recently joined the Merritt Centennials as an affiliate player. “Luken has provided some depth here with his ability to distribute the puck and compete in some of the hard areas.”