Welcome to Quick Shift, which provides a preview of each of the 20 Kootenay International Junior Hockey League teams, with insight from their respective general managers/head coaches. Next up is the North Okanagan Knights in the Bill Ohlhausen Division. The Knights qualified for the KIJHL Teck Cup playoffs with a record of 22-16-4-2 in 44 games and advanced to the second round after they defeated the Osoyoos Coyotes, then lost to the Princeton Posse. HC-GM Liam McOnie answered questions about his team.
What are the important characteristics/skills you look for to recruit the right players to shape your roster?
We like players with high character who play a hard and heavy game. Having soft skills is great, but we need more consistency this year from each line and being a strong-checking team is one of our goals.
Did you have a good off-season of recruiting?
We had a good off-season and recruited some skilled, young players. We’re excited to get started.
What do you like about the group of players returning who will play a big part on your team?
We really like that our returning players are great people, first. Their work ethic and leadership are going to bring a lot in helping create a strong culture.
What were some key areas of success achieved last season that the organization wants to build on?
We had good special teams last season and would like to take another step in improving that area. We would also like to be a more consistent team from game to game.
What is the important vision you have that leads to building the team you want?
The most important thing for us right now is building a team that plays hard night in and night out with solid leadership. It’s important that we come together as a team early and become a 25-man unit that practices and plays hard for each other.