Storm bling up Player of the Game

The Kamloops Storm have a tradition in which they name a player of the game following every win.

For years, this player has been chosen by the teammate picked before him for the things they do right in a game – following the game plan, the Storm structure.

“It isn’t always necessarily the guys that are scoring the most goals or being on the scoresheet, but a guy that is working hard and playing the game how the Kamloops Storm like to play,” says Jameson Rende, who is in his third full season with his hometown team in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League.

The selection carries more weight with it being made by the players.

“When the guy next to you recognizes the hard work you put in, and you are doing it for the guy next to you every night, it’s definitely nice,” adds Rende. “It is always followed by a speech from the player that receives it.”

When chosen, the selected player was rewarded by wearing a puffy jacket. The jacket no longer exists, so Storm assistant coach Andrew Fisher came up with an idea to replace it.

“Last year they showed up to the rink with a different attitude about them, a little bit more swagger,” he says. “They had some pretty flashy shoes, pretty flashy dress coats. I figured maybe they needed something to go along with that.”

The Kamloops Storm recognize a deserving player with this Player of the Game necklace after every win. Jayden Russell shows it off.

Fisher started brainstorming what he could come up with that would work to go with the players’ attire. The idea to have a big Storm chain necklace came to him after watching a 30 for 30 film about the University of Miami, which documented how the played with an attitude and swagger.

 “A team built locally in the Miami area. I saw some similarities with our team, built with a lot of Kamloops guys,” he says. “I saw the turnover chain that they hand out after turnovers. I got the idea from that.”

Fisher found a Florida-based company that makes big necklaces and he made the order last season. However, the necklace didn’t start being used until this season because when it arrived last year, the KIJHL season had been canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The pendant is made using coloured metal flake and finished with a glass coating over wood.

Fisher says the necklace is “another piece of culture and team building.” 

“Guys want to go out and earn that. They want to earn their teammates respect by the way they are playing the game,” he says. “I think it’s really important that the guys are recognizing each other’s accomplishments and the way they are playing throughout the games. It kind of really helps with that.”

The players take care of the necklace by wrapping it in a blanket. The chosen player gets to wear it, including on the bus after the game, then it goes back into its protective blanket.

“It’s definitely a cool thing. It was pretty cool when Fish brought it out,” says Rende.