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 manager/head coach heading into the regular season. Next is the Summerland Steam in the Bill Ohlhausen division. The Steam finished fourth in the division with a 14-24-3-3 record and lost in the first round of the KIJHL Teck Cup playoffs to Princeton. Head Coach-GM Morten Kjolby answered questions about his team.
What did you see from the players in training camp that you liked?
The returning and young players have bought into what we want to do right away. There is a culture we want to build in how we do things daily and it’s been exciting to see the last three weeks.
What is the style that you want your team to play?
We have a saying that is ‘fast, hard and smart.’ We are instilling a fast pace, hard to play against and we are going to be a four-line team. There won’t be much difference from the first to fourth-line. We are going to be younger and have to learn to take advantage of the things that are given from the opponents and play to our strengths.
Who are the experienced players that stood out to you?
Keenan Conn, our new captain, has been phenomenal. He’s a player we will rely on a lot. We are very excited to see what he can accomplish because there is a lot of upside to him.
We traded for an experienced goalie in Jasper Tait, 19, from the Nelson Leafs. He has been a great acquisition and has already started taking a leadership role. He will be crucial in helping our young defenceman. We are very excited about him and how he will perform this season. He is calm, collected, and keeps things simple and has a tremendous work ethic. Note: In 25 games last season, Tate went 12-7-3, earning two shutouts with a 3.18 goals against average with a .904 save percentage.
Who are some rookies that have looked good?
Kyle Cyr, who was an affiliate player with us last year (playing two games), is going to be interesting to follow over the year. He’s fast, has a good shot and has offensive flair. It’s going to be exciting to see what he is going to put up.
Tanner Sunderman, 16, is a smart, 200-foot player who is a great skater. He looked very good in the pre-season and is going to turn some heads throughout the season. The Penticton product played for the Okanagan Rockets U17AAA program and had 22 points in 36 games last season.
What are some key things you want to be able to accomplish that will lead to success?
We want to build a team-first culture and teach these young men the importance of being part of a team and the community. We are investing a lot of time in community initiatives and the values of building a strong culture. A culture that is going to help us recruit and make our program stronger and stronger for each year going forward.