Welcome to Quick Shift, which provides a preview of each of the 20 Kootenay International Junior Hockey League teams, with insights from their respective general managers/head coach heading into the regular season. Next is the Kamloops Storm in the Doug Birks Division. The Storm placed second in their division with a record of 26-13-1-4 and lost in the opening round of the KIJHL Teck Cup playoffs in Game 7 to Sicamous. Storm Head Coach Jan Ludvig answered questions about his team.
Did you have a good off-season of recruiting?
We are pretty happy with our recruiting and feel that we have found players that compliment the 200-foot, heavy style of play that is Kamloops Storm hockey. I have seen a little more speed and we have good sized players who work hard. I’ve liked the attitude and work ethic and I think we’re going to be a team that relies on our grit and effort.
What do you like about the group of players returning who will play a big part on your team?
We are really happy with our group who are really good people and strong leaders. There will be no shortage of leadership and we expect a great dressing room creating a tight team overall.
Evan Douglas is entering his third year, and has grown physically over three years from 5-7, 135 pounds to 6-3, 190 pounds. He’s intelligent and highly skilled and put in a grueling summer of work with North American and European pros, as well as WHL players. He’s made some huge strides.
Our defenceman Devin Benson, 20, is going to be very noticeable as well as Brody Johnston (32 games of BCHL experience). Johnston, 6-1, 195 pounds, had 17 points in 36 games last season.
What were some key areas of success achieved last season that the organization wants to build on?
I think our key area was the relationships built between our staff and players. The group as a whole is on the same page and it showed by our positive growth through last season. When everyone involved buys into the program and are working towards a common goal, good things happen.