Nelson Leafs defenceman Bryce Sookro has signed with the BCHL’s Cranbrook Bucks for the 2022-23 season.
The Nelson native said this is “just another step for me.”
“A pretty big step and I’m excited to be with the Bucks for next season,” said Sookro, who played two games with the BCHL organization last season as an affiliate player.
In his rookie season in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League, Sookro ranked sixth on the Leafs in points with 29 in 41 regular season games. His efforts during the regular season resulted in him being named the Neil Murdoch’s Top Defenceman. He then led the Leafs in points during the Teck Cup Playoffs with 20 in 19 games as they made it to the KIJHL Teck Cup championship.
“Bryce is a player that shows a lot of promise and had a great season last year in Nelson,” said Bucks Head Coach and GM Ryan Donald. “Bryce had the chance to play with our group as an affiliate last season, as well as gained lots of experience in Nelson. We are excited to continue to help him grow with us next season.”
The two games that Sookro played with the Bucks helped him realize that their program would be a good fit for him.
“It’s a lot faster and more skilled. You just have to be more focused and it’s a huge level,” said Sookro of playing in the BCHL.
His lone season with the hometown team was positive for Sookro, who felt he gave his best effort and gained confidence. He also improved his speed, but playing with confidence and being smarter with the puck is where he saw the most gains.
Sookro added that the long playoff run the Leafs went on also helped him.
“Going deeper into the playoffs, it taught me to keep my body in shape and healthy,” he said.