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 North Okanagan Knights. The Knights under new Head Coach and GM Liam McOnie had 10 wins in 42 games. Here’s a look at their new wave of rookies with insight from McOnie.
Defenceman, Central Zone Rockets U18 AA
The Kelowna native helped the Rockets win the B.C. provincial championship last season. The 2004-born defenceman will bring a big, physical presence to the Knights’ blueline and skates very well and plays well on both sides of the puck. Last season for the Rockets he had nine points in 18 games.
“He’s got a great shot, sees the ice really well and is very mobile. I think Adam will bring a more steady two-way game to our back end.”
Zimmerman played four games with the Knights last season as an affiliate player and played a big role when asked.
“We feel really confident that he can continue to execute in that role and hopefully even take another step this season.”
Forward, North Zone Kings U18AA
Anderson is a 2004-born forward from Armstrong, who is a fast skating centreman and left winger that sees the ice well. He was a point-per-game player for the Kings and had 10 goals in 20 games.
“He is able to make good plays and support the puck offensively. That’s where his big strength is, producing points. We’re hoping that he can step in and help in that role and continue on this same trajectory that he was on with his U18AA team.”
Forward, North Zone Kings U18AA
Wheeler’s a big, fast right-handed forward who has a really good shot. The 2005-born winger from Vernon had six goals in 14 games for the Kings.
“We think that he will be able to take big strides with us this year and continue to develop and hopefully make the jump to Junior A hockey after one season in the KIJHL.
“Wheeler isn’t afraid to get into the dirty areas and is confident with his size,” continued McOnie. “He’s a confident player who is not afraid to shoot the puck and has a great presence on the ice.”
Forward, Okanagan Rockets U18AAA
The Kelowna native had nine points in 34 games for the Rockets last season.
“Sankey is a fast, physical forward who has a great net presence and shot,” said McOnie of the 2004-born forward. “He is great at winning puck battles down low and provides a much-needed physical presence and does what it takes for the team to win.”
|Ben Van Langen
Defenceman, Red Deer Elks U18AA
Last season, the 2004-born defenceman from Red Deer, Alberta had 18 points in 27 games and was able to get the puck out of the zone and move up the ice.
“Ben is a smooth skating, offensive minded puck-moving defenceman, who we feel will bring some offensive prowess to our back end. I think he’s got good experience playing in all situations from his previous teams and we feel that he can be a solid contributor to our team.”
Forward, IHA U17AA
The Jasper, Alberta native had 13 points in 29 games in the Canadian Sport School Hockey League last season.
“Baden is a hard working, hard-nosed, physical player who does what it takes to win. He understands his role on the team and does what he can. He does what the team needs more than putting his personal wants or needs above the team. We’re really excited to have Baden join us and contribute beyond just scoring goals.”
Goalie, Prairie Hockey Academy U17AAA
The Coldstream, B.C. native won seven games for Prairie Hockey Academy in the Canadian Sport School Hockey League.
“Austin is a solid, technical goaltender who has played on teams that we feel are comparable to what he may face with us. He has been forced into situations where he has had to rely on his athleticism and compete level to make saves and help his team win. We’re excited to add Austin.”
McOnie added he feels Seibel can make the jump to Junior A as an 18-year-old.