Harrison Ewert says he could have made the jump to Junior A this season.
However, the Kamloops product chose to stay and play with his hometown Kamloops Storm in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League. After putting up nine goals and 23 points in 30 games last season, which was cut short by a broken collar bone, Ewert had an assist in two games this season.
The work he did helped him earn an opportunity to sign with the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League’s La Ronge Ice Wolves.
“It’s really exciting. I’m really excited to go there and start playing,” says Ewert, who played one game with the Storm as a 16-year-old affiliate in 2018-19. “I had a great time here in Kamloops, but I think that’s the next level and I’ve been wanting to get there for a while.”
Listed at six-foot-three, 200 pounds, Ewert believes in his ability to produce, but also likes to get in people’s way playing the pest role.
“I like being a guy that not a lot of other guys like to play against,” says Ewert.
The areas Ewert worked on was his speed and handling the puck with pace.
“That was a big part of my game and my release,” he says. “Coming into the zone, I did a lot of shooting stuff in practice this year. Changing my angle right before I shoot. I think that is going to help me and gaining more confidence with the puck and what I can do with it.”
Ewert chose La Ronge as they were the first organization to offer him an opportunity, but he’s confident that the Ice Wolves program, which has several KIJHL players, is the right place for him.
“The coach Kevin Kaminiski, it looks like he has a pretty good resume and I know a few players from the KI that have gone there and it looks like they fit in pretty well,” says Ewert, who didn’t want to pass up on the good opportunity.
Ewert will arrive at the Ice Wolves camp ready to show how he can fit in. Ewert says being in the KIJHL was a good step for him.
This past season his confidence took a big step and part of it was just getting into a couple of games. During his rookie season, he jumped in at the end of the season and had to catch up quickly.
“This year was good to catch up from that and get stronger. I think just touching up my game,” says Ewert. “We had a good group and good ice times the whole season. We had a lot of good players out there with us. Lots of guys have moved on to play in the bubble (BCHL Pod season and WHL).
When Ewert was in midget, playing in the KIJHL as an affiliate opened his eyes to how different junior hockey is. He saw that players are bigger and stronger. He adjusted to that, as well as the busy schedule which helped him develop.
“The Storm was by far the best experience I’ve had playing hockey in a lot of years,” he says. “It was really fun. A lot of hometown kids. They care a lot about the development of players. That’s what I liked about playing there.”
Storm GM Matt Kolle says that Ewert bought into their program during the three seasons he was part of it. He stuck with the process understanding that the goal was seeing him get to the next level.
“He has steadily trended upward in his overall development and now will see the reward for being patient and focussed,” says Kolle. “At this point Harrison checks all the boxes necessary to move to the next level. He’s a big, strong, and physical player who can finish around the net. When he uses his size at the next level, he will be a regular contributor and even a game-changer. I can see Harrison playing a top six role in La Ronge and being a key piece to their success. He is a positive influence on his teammates and is a team-first type of player which will enhance the team’s environment and better their chance for success.”