The Kootenay International Junior Hockey League has an exciting new wave of rookie talent entering the 2022-23 season.
The final team in the New Wave series are the Revelstoke Grizzlies. The Grizzlies finished first in the Doug Birks division with 31 wins in 42 games. The Grizzlies went on to win back-to-back KIJHL Teck Cup championships and won bronze at the Cyclone Taylor Cup.
Here’s a look at their new wave of rookies with insight from Head Coach & GM Ryan Parent.
Forward, Notre Dame Hounds U18 Prep
Sorken produced 13 points in 35 Canadian Sport School Hockey League games last season, then added four points in three playoff games.
“I like his confidence with the puck, and he’s not afraid to take it to the net. He’s going to be a really good offensive player in our league,” said Parent.
Forward, CBHA Rangers U18AA
Wittenberg produced at nearly a point-per-game average last season with 12 in 13 games. The six-foot-five, 189-pound forward then added five points in four playoff games.
“I’ve been impressed with how he skates and he is a great locker room person,” said Parent. “I think he’s everything that we want him to be with skill and he is going to be a really good player this year and he’s had a promising start.”
Defenceman, CAC Canadian U18AAA
A skilled blueliner, Fyfe had seven points in 38 games last season.
“He sees the ice pretty well and for a young defenceman and is catching on very quickly. Each month he is showing signs of improvement and he is going to be a solid defenceman for us. He is going to get opportunities with our special teams.”
Forward, Okanagan Rockets U18AAA
The local product produced 11 points in 32 games last season and played for the Grizzlies as an affiliate player, seeing action in the regular season and playoffs, including the Cyclone Taylor Cup as a 15-year-old.
“I’ve been a big fan of Kurtis’ for probably 10 years. He has a real passion for the game,” said Parent. “We had him in our playoff run and he delivered there and we’re really gonna see Kurtis flourish more to the middle of this season. He’s just quietly getting better and better.”
Forward, Vancouver NW Hawks U18AAA
McLeod produced 24 points in 36 games last season and added four goals and five points in six playoff games. McLeod was coached by a close acquaintance of Parent, who praised him.
“He has the size (six-foot-three, 183-pounds), he’s able to protect pucks and he likes to generate offence and he’s been very coachable,” said Parent. “We think Colton will be a top producer if he continues to work hard.”
Goalie, Moose Jaw Warriors U18AAA
Fechter won 16 games last season for the Warriors in 28 games and Parent believes he will have a promising junior career.
“He’s had a very good pre-season with us. He is technically strong, quick and agile.”
Forward, CBHA Blackhawks U18AA
Syerov had 13 points in 24 games last season for the Blackhawks and added three points in five playoff games. At six-feet, 167-pounds, the Ukrainian is a power-forward who is big and strong.
“He is getting better daily and over time, will be an emerging player in the KIJHL and has lots of upside.”
Defenceman, Thompson Blazers U18AA
Last season Wooley had 15 points in 36 games last season and played with the Grizzlies as an affiliate player, seeing action in two games, regular season and playoffs combined.
“Austin is a physical presence who knows and understands how he has to play the game,” said Parent. “His experience with us last year has helped him this year, with his confidence. He is going to be an effective defenceman, especially in a physical capacity.”
Forward, Calgary Royals U18AAA
Last season McLeod had nine points in 38 games and Parent has seen him continually improve.
“He has been a staple for us on our lineup and has good size at five-foot-11, 177-pounds. He’s working very hard to improve his game,” said Parent. “By mid-season he will have hit his stride.”
Forward, Thompson Blazers U18AAA
Preymak had 15 goals and 24 points in 36 games and Parent said he is a hard-working 200-foot player and is driven to understand the details of the game.
“We think he is going to be a really effective, well-rounded player. He has been a great teammate,” said Parent.