The Kootenay International Junior Hockey League 2021-22 season begins Oct. 1. Leading into the season we are providing previews on each of the teams.
Next up are the Kelowna Chiefs in the Bill Ohlhausen Division. The Chiefs head into the season with a new coach in Travers Rebman.
His philosophy on player development will factor into the team’s style of play, which will focus on being hard to compete against and being a solid two-way team. Player assessments during summer camps will be important.
“That is going to dictate our systems to some degree,” says Rebman. “Initially, it’s going to be mostly concept based rather than any strict systems. We want to allow guys to develop using their instincts and skills as we go along.”
Key Returnees: F-Spencer Horning, Matteus Reis, Chase Eising, Sam Dixon, Jaden Lohn, Maddux Nollski (with Yorkton SJHL), Tegan Neuman and Jo Lowry. Twenty-year-old defenceman Ty Marchant will be their captain and be a power-play fixture. Hunter Johnson, Owen Slauson, Brett Joseph and Jaxon Rebman.
Rookies to Watch: The Chiefs’ 16-year-olds this season are twins Alex and Ben Edwards. Rebman expects them to be fan favourites with their gritty, physical style and relentless work ethic. D-Ben Edwards – Program of Excellence .
F- Alex Edwards – Program of Excellence. Is currently at the Victoria Royals WHL camp.
F- James Hooton – RHA U18. Fans will likely be impressed by his presence on the ice as he has good size and can really shoot the puck.
D- Jacob Rausch – RHA U18. He will be a dependable defenceman for the Chiefs and is already physically mature so Rebman expects him to be able to step in right away.
F- Ryan Donovan – RHA U18. Donovan is skilled forward who can play a solid 200-foot game.
G- Fred Larochelle – Bishop’s College School Prep U16- Quebec. Reed McLennan and Liam Turner, both played zone hockey last year are all capable goalies.
Season outlook: “I expect our team will be pretty balanced overall,” says Rebman. “We have a good mix of gritty guys as well as some smooth playmakers and goal scorers. We’ve got some good size on the back end and all our D have the ability to skate the puck and make a solid first-pass.
Coach’s quote: “Up front our forward group should have a ton of skill, but they are also a competitive group that can play a physical style as well. Goaltending is a question mark just because we are going with guys that haven’t played in the league, but based on what we’ve seen through camp, we are confident they will adjust and make progress with the help of our goaltending coach Cole Holowenko.”
Marshall Porteous – Okanagan Lakers – B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League.
Isaac Dutka – Okanagan Lakers – B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League.
Jordan Woytas – Lawrence Tech University – American Collegiate Hockey Association.