The Kootenay International Junior Hockey League has an exciting new wave of rookie talent entering the 2022-23 season, which begins on Sept. 23. Leading up to the start of the season, we will highlight those players from each team.
Next in the New Wave series are the Chase heat. The Heat finished third in the Doug Birks division with 20 wins in 42 games. They qualified for the KIJHL Teck Cup playoffs, losing in seven games to Kamloops.
Here’s a look at their new wave of rookies with insight from Head Coach and Director of Hockey Operations Brad Fox.
Goalie, U18 AA Red Deer Elks
Last season for the Elks, Gaume had a 3.06 goals against average and .916 save percentage in 21 games.
Gaume has a solid foundation in goal and he has strong work habits to get better.
“He’s got amazing reflexes, is very fit, very quick, and he doesn’t give up on pucks at all. That was impressive. You have got to have that to play in this league. He is a dialed in goaltender and that is going to make a really big difference.”
Defenceman, U18 AA CBHA Blackhawks
Dohan had 15 points in 26 games for the Blackhawks last season and collected 85 penalty minutes.
He is a highly competitive character and is going to be a real steady, hard-to-play against shutdown defenceman.
“There is an upside to his skillset. The ceiling is high, we’re just going to have to get it out of him. He has great energy and plays with an edge and you need those guys in your lineup.”
Defenceman, Southern Alberta Hockey Academy U18 Prep
In 12 games last season, Nahorney had three asists. Is a replica of Dohan and a great component in him is he is going to be able to “chew up minutes” as a strong defenceman.
“He’s got great character, high compete, he moves his feet well and those are the things that the basics and the fundamentals, first pass coming out. He’s got it figured out and he’s a student of the game. He’s very driven and pays attention to the detail.”
Forward, Calgary Northstars U18AA
Last season Lilly had 16 points in 21 games. Lilly is smaller in stature with a pretty good skill set and skates well and high compete level.
“We think that he will probably fill a pretty good role for us in our forward group because he’s really good at most things. He’s a solid two-way player. There’s not a glaring weakness in his game.”
Forward, Leduc Oil Kings U18AAA
Gagnon had 16 points in 38 games last season and is a skilled player who skates well and has a high hockey IQ with good poise.
“He has a high ceiling on what he’s capable of in getting to the next level. When kids come to you and they just have that ability to see the game well, and slow the game down well, they usually end up being pretty solid players and that’s what I see from Josh.”
Forward, Central AB Selects U18AA
Armitage had He is another well-rounded player with high compete.
“He’s a very solid two-way player that has a high ceiling in offence as well. I think we’re probably going to see some pretty good things out of him once he settles into this league. He’s got great work habits.
Forward, Maple Ridge Rustlers U18 A1
Kallin had 19 points in 34 games last season and has a high compete level with a strong skillset.
“Just watching his work habits and his attention to detail, and the learning curve that he takes on is really quick. I’m excited to see how he is in a couple of months. He can be a really good two-way player.”
| Jake Hnatiuk
Forward, South Island Royals U17AAA
Hnatiuk had nine points in 34 games and is a quick player with good hands and “he can fly.”
“He has a high compete level, he’s got the ability to be a good player up and down our roster. He’s got it. He is very driven and is dedicated.
| Matthew Crews
Forward, CNHA Black North Stars U18AA
Crews was a point-per-game player last season with 28 points in as many games. He’s a good energy player.
“He is hard on the puck, has quick feet, pushes the pace all the time and he can play up and down the lineup. I’m excited to see him. Our head scout had pointed him onto us and he has been outstanding. He’s an exceptional team guy. He just fits in the room really fast and that’s a huge component in our culture.”
| Ryan Keylor
Forward, CAC Canadians U18 AA
Last season Keylor had 13 points in 30 games and is going to be a strong power forward once he learns to play in the league.
“He’s a big body, he plays big, he’s got a good skillset, and I can just see that he is going to be very effective below the dots in both ends of the ice. He can separate the puck from the net and playing the power forward role, they are good on the walls. He will drive the net, he will go to the hard areas and do the little things well.”
Defenceman, Leduc Riggers
Last season with the Riggers, Garries had six points in 35 games.
“He has good feet and vision, poise with the puck. I can see the offensive upside to him. It will be interesting to see how that translates into playing in our league. I really like him, he thinks the game well. He never gets too high or too low. He has a nice, even poise about him, which is really valuable in this league. No panic.”
Defenceman, CAC Canadians U18AA
Last season with the Canadians, Chadi had eight assists in 27 games. He does everything well.
“He’s going to chew up minutes, is very driven and has a high compete level. He’s got a good skillset, but once we’ve had time to work with him, I can just see him climbing. He pays attention to the learning curve and the details. He is going to be an interesting player to see too.”
| Bradley Hlina,
Hlina is a forward, who did not play hockey last season, but brings the Heat a really good skillset.
“He’s got good hands, shoots the puck well and skates well. We just haven’t had the chance to work with him enough in regards to the tactical end of the game because he hasn’t played for two years. That’s going to be a learning curve for him. The foundation is there of being a really good, skilled forward.”
Defenceman, Indigenous Sports Academy Eagles
“He’s a skilled defenceman, who is a smooth skater with soft hands. As an offensive defenceman, I think has the potential to be a very effective player. He has good skill.”