Reinhart and McGill destined for Team Canada
Kootenay ICE Update
Kootenay ICE fans can expect plenty of excitement in the 2013/14 Western Hockey League (WHL) season, with a Christmas bonus.
Not only do hockey fans have a chance to watch Sam Reinhart, an early pick to go first overall in the 2014 National Hockey League (NHL) draft, they stand to get a double dose during the World Junior Championship over the Christmas holidays as Reinhart June 30 was one of 35 players invited to Canada’s National Junior Team summer development camp, set for Aug. 4-10 in Brossard, Que., and Lake Placid, N.Y.
While highly touted and accomplished already in his hockey career, Reinhart has an added backed in the room as Ice head coach Ryan McGill will be working as an assistant coach to head coach Brent Sutter, a two-time gold medal winning coach of Canada’s junior team. Benoît Groulx, head coach and general manager of the QMJHL’s Gatineau Olympiques will also serve as assistant coach.
Reinhart will be joined at the camp by his older brother Griffin Reinhart of the Edmonton Oil Kings (New York Islanders).
McGill, 44, is the reigning WHL coach of the year. He is in his second stint as bench boss of the Ice. McGill worked with the NHL’s Calgary Flames for six seasons, as an assistant coach from 2009-11, after four years as head coach of their AHL affiliates in Omaha and Quad Cities. McGill was the head coach of the AHL’s Hartford Wolfpack for three seasons from 2002-05 after guiding the Ice from 1998-2002. McGill led Kootenay to two Memorial Cup appearances, in 2000 and 2002, winning the championship in 2002.
A total of 33 WHL players heard their names called during the draft, including eight in the first round – led off by Portland Winterhawks defender Seth Jones at number four.
Despite having a rough start to the season, Skapski showed enough to entice the Rangers.
He appeared in 65 games with Kootenay last season and posted a 34-25-1 record, with a 2.78 goals against average and .910 save percentage, with seven shutouts.
ICE select Habs pick with second import selection
Kootenay Ice general manager Jeff Chynoweth, announced July 3 that 18-year-old Russian defenseman Rinat Valiev (first round, 25th overall) and 18-year-old Finnish Forward Artturi Lehkonen (second round, 85th overall) in the 22nd annual Canadian Hockey League import Draft.
“Our number one priority today was to select a defenseman who could step into our lineup immediately and contribute to our team. Rinat was a player who was ranked by a number of NHL teams for the NHL Draft and even though he was not selected every NHL team we spoke to felt his game was suited for the CHL. He played last year in the USHL so he is accustomed to the North American culture as well as speaking and understanding the English language which is huge from our end,” said Chynoweth on the ICE’s website.
“The selection of Artturi Lehkonen was a complete flyer on our end. He is a world-class player (second round selection, 55th overall by the Montreal Canadiens in the 2013 NHL Draft) who plays professionally in Finland. We had some other forwards on our list who were selected just before our pick so we decided to take a chance on Artturi,” added Chynoweth.
A recent edition of The Hockey News listed Lehkonan as being the third best available prospect (in the recent draft) for ‘Best hands/skill’ – behind Jonathan Drouin (taken third overall by the Tampa Bay Lightning) and Max Domi (taken 12th overall by the Phoenix Coyotes).
Jay Henderson brought aboard as assistant coach
Chynoweth also earlier this month announced the club has hired Jay Henderson as their new assistant coach. Henderson, who has signed a two-year contract, replaces Chad Kletzel who resigned in May to resume his teaching career in Lethbridge, Alberta.
“We are excited to add Jay Henderson to our coaching staff. Jay is passionate about the game and has been learning the coaching side of the business by giving back at the both the minor hockey and college levels for the past number of years. He was a leader throughout his professional career (team captain in 2004-2005 and three time AHL Man of the Year for Community Service) and played the game at the highest level and will be a good complement to Ryan McGill,” Chynoweth stated.
“Having coached Jay as player in both the Western Hockey League and American Hockey League I know firsthand that his hard work, character and commitment to getting better each and every day will allow him to succeed as a coach. He played professional hockey for 13 years and our players will benefit from his playing experiences and his knowledge of the game,” commented McGill.
Henderson played four seasons in the WHL with the Red Deer Rebels (1994-1996) and Edmonton ICE (1996–1998). He was drafted by the Boston Bruins in 1997 NHL Entry Draft (9th round – 246th overall) and played 33 games with the Bruins over three years. Jay also played parts of nine seasons with four AHL teams winning three Calder Cups in his career (Providence Bruins – 1998-1999, Houston Aeros – 2002-2003 and Milwaukee Admirals – 2003-2004). He finished his professional career in 2010 after playing in Germany (2005-2008), Austria (2008-2009) and England (2009-2010). For the past two years Jay was an Assistant Coach with the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) Ooks of the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference. During his time at NAIT he also worked with Hockey Alberta as a head coach for the Alberta Cup and as an instructor with Team Pacific.
Henderson is a 34-year-old native of Sherwood Park, Alberta. He and his wife Megan are the parents two children; daughter Mila (5) and son Seamus (3).
Lead image of Sam Reinhart from: hockeycanada.ca