KIJHL Notebook: BCHC Prospects Game experience
When Ryan Larsen was added to the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League (KIJHL) Top Prospects team late due to an injury/illness to another player, that gave the Kamloops Storm three players in the B.C. Hockey Conference Prospects Game, which started with Owen Aura and Jake Phillips-Watts.
Larsen ended up with a goal and two assists, including helping set up the winning goal in a 4-3 final against the PJHL Top Prospects. Storm GM Matt Kolle said firstly he was happy for his players and as an organization, it confirmed that they are meeting their goals and objectives.
“We sell it to people and take pride in the fact that we develop hockey players,” said Kolle, prior to the BCHC Prospects Game at the Sardis Sports Complex in Chilliwack. “We build hockey players and when it comes to an event like this, and we have three players, it confirms that we’re getting things right.”
Kolle hopes that with Aura, Phillips-Watts and Larsen representing the Storm in the BCHC Prospects game scouted by 15 BCHL teams, that it further supports that they have a program student-athletes will want to be part of if they want to be hockey players.
“It’s a hockey players’ playground,” said Kolle. “What we put into developing our players, we believe is at another level.”
Part of that includes having partnerships with three fitness facilities.
“We put a lot into what these players get for their development. I think the results show that what we put into it and what the players put into it has successful outcomes,” he said.
And the work they are doing is making it easier for the Storm to recruit players, especially considering where they were five years ago.
“We were begging players to play for us and were in tough financially. It has been a long haul,” Kolle said. “The program in place recruits for itself. People know the quality of the program and it’s become that much easier and the level of players that we do get, we will be in contention. Last year we had a really good squad and this year we really believe in our team and I wouldn’t think that we won’t be in the mix when the season comes to an end.”
This week’s KIJHL Notebook focuses on the KIJHL Top Prospects players and their experience over the two days at the BCHC Prospects Game in Chilliwack. As mentioned earlier, the KIJHL team defeated the PJHL 4-3.
One common theme among the players is that they enjoyed getting to know each other and creating new friendships.
Keenan Ingram of the Columbia Valley Rockies said it was great and an “honour to represent the KIJHL.”
Ingram, who scored to give the KIJHL a 2-1 lead, said he learned “it’s pretty easy to make friends and new teammates and everybody gets along and I think that was pretty cool.”
The five-foot-nine, 155-pound forward from Calgary felt he played pretty well and battled.
Evan Tsadilas of the Golden Rockets said being there was a “great learning curve.”
“I learned lots of new things while I was here. Hard work and determination is one of the keys to making it far in anything you do, not just hockey,” said Tsadilas, who assisted on Ryan Larsen’s goal to even the game at 1-1. “I think I played well and could have capitalized on a few opportunities. I was moving my feet, working hard.”
Max Chakrabarti of the Creston Valley Thunder Cats said the experience was fun as they did several team activities to build the group together. A takeaway for him is how hard they worked in practices, which is something he wants to take back to his team.
“I played pretty good. We had a slow start, then picked it up as the game went on,” he said. “We started to get confidence and going. I moved the puck well out of the D-zone, and had some nice offensive chances.”