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 Golden Rockets. The Rockets finished fourth in the Eddie Mountain division with 13 wins in 42 games. The Rockets advanced to the KIJHL Teck Cup playoffs, losing in the opening round in four games to Kimberley.
Here’s a look at their new wave of rookies with insight from Head Coach and GM Chuck Wight.
Defence, SSAC U18 AA Don Wheaton
He had 13 points in 24 games last season.
“He is very skilled, mobile defenceman. What we have seen of him we really like. He’s going to be a good contributor offensively and defensively.”
Forward, Thompson Blazers U17 AAA
Tsadilas is a local product who had 20 points in 34 games. He is the Rockets’ first local product in several years.
“He is a good skater that will help our team. He plays with grit and moves the puck well and sees the ice well. He is also good along the boards.”
Defence, East Kootenay Avalanche U18 AA
Watson had three assists in 15 games last season.
“He is very good at closing the gap and playing a physical game for a younger defenceman.He steps up on players in the neutral zone and does a good job of separating them from the puck. He has some upside to him in terms of being a puck mover. He’s good with his evasive moves and is a quality skater. We’re looking forward to helping him develop into a top D in our league and maybe he will get a look at higher levels too. He’s got a lot of the tools.”
Goaltender, Vegreville Vipers
Cairns didn’t play a lot due to an injury, but posted an .891 save percentage with a 4.01 goals against average in 10 games.
“We’re very pleased with how he performed at our camp. He had a great performance recently against Revelstoke, making 37 saves on 39 shots. He has good size, 6-3, and reads the play well, tracks the puck well. He is athletic down low and we like his style of play. We’re excited about him coming in to take a role in the net.”
Forward, SSAC U18 AA Don Wheaton
Barr produced 26 points in 30 games last season.
“There seems to be a good offensive touch to him, he possesses a good release. He’s a good skater with a good frame.”
Forward, MLAC U18AA
Monkman is very similar to Barr.
“He has a great release and is very good at protecting the puck. He brings a good skillset.”