Welcome to Quick Shift, which provides previews on each of the 20 Kootenay International Junior Hockey League teams leading up to the start of the 2023-24 regular season. Next are the Kelowna Chiefs. The Chiefs finished last in the Bill Ohlhausen Division with a record of 6-34-1-3 in 44 regular season games. Chiefs Head Coach Travers Rebman answered questions to provide insight on the team.
What are the important characteristics/skills you look for in players to shape your roster?
We want good people first and foremost and see a high complete level with players that aren’t OK with losing. It’s nice to see a base level of skill and hockey IQ that we can then work into our systems and build up.
Did you have a good off-season of recruiting?
We feel like we did, collectively putting in a lot of effort contacting teams and players throughout western Canada. Adding two Alberta scouts will be a big help moving forward. General Manager Jason Tansem has been on the phone all off-season so we are excited about how it is going to shape up.
What do you like about the group of players returning who will play a big part on your team?
Our team was extremely young and inexperienced last year so we have quite a number of players eligible to return. We really like the group we have coming back. They will be accustomed to the level of detail required and what is expected so it will help us get off on the right foot.
What were some key areas of success achieved last season that the organization wants to build on?
Having an experienced group used to what it takes week to week to be competitive is important. It’s a world of difference from U17/U18, and especially at the AA level so it was good to get the group that experience. We shouldn’t have to go through all the growing pains this year and can get right into systems and playing the way we want.
What is the important vision you have that leads to building the team you want?
We want to get into our team concepts and systems right away to build consistency and trust. Last year we found ourselves making changes when we weren’t having success, which was quite often. That made it even tougher on our inexperienced group, so this season we have experience and a clear picture of what we want to do and how we are going to do it.