The Kootenay International Junior Hockey League has an exciting new wave of rookie talent entering the 2022-23 season, which begins on Sept. 23. Leading up to the start of the season, we will highlight those players from each team.
Next in the New Wave series are the Fernie Ghostriders. The Ghostriders finished third in the Eddie Mountain division with 22 wins in 42 games and lost in six games to Columbia Valley in the opening round of the KIJHL Teck Cup playoffs.
Here’s a look at their new wave of rookies with insight from Head Coach and GM Ty Valin.
Forward, U18 PAC Saints
Last season, Desjarlais put up 20 points in 32 games. Valin has known the Spruce Grove, Alberta product for a few years as he attended their spring camp and earned a roster spot.
“He’s just a big (6-2, 185 pounds) power forward, he is going to grow into his size and he plays a very solid 200 foot game. He likes to use his size and his strength as he’s developed physically the last few years. He’s understanding what his strengths are as a player. He has the ability to play a big body game and go to those dirty areas. He plays with pace, he can skate and shoot the puck, make good decisions.”
Forward, U18 St. Albert Steel
Romeo produced at nearly a point-per-game clips for the Steel with 30 points in 32 games. His skating is one of his biggest strengths.
“He’s a very smooth skating player and puts himself in good situations all the time. His hockey sense is very high and he’s got the ability to put the puck in the net. He can contribute away from the puck and play gritty when he needs to. He won’t shy away from anything.”
Defenceman, U18 CNHA Black
Randhawa had 12 assists in 27 games for the CNHA Black last season. He earned a roster spot out of spring camp displaying his smooth skating.
“He makes good decisions with the puck in our zone and isn’t afraid to contribute on the offensive side of things as well, pushes the pace. He is able to get up in the play and what I like about him is he is very poised with the puck when he has it. He isn’t afraid to hang on for that split second longer to make a proper decision.”
Forward, St. Albert Raiders U18 AAA AEHL
Johnson had 13 points in 38 games last season for the Raiders. He plays a gritty style and isn’t afraid to get his nose dirty.
“He can skate well and has a good shot on him. He makes really good decisions when he has the puck and you can tell the way he plays, a structured game, he has been coached very well. He is able to play within a structure well, which is a very good asset to have.”
Forward, Lethbridge Hurricanes U18 AAA
At 6-2, 205-pounds, he’s a big power forward, who throws his weight around.
“He won’t go out of his way looking for a hit. He is smart in that regard. He can contribute on the offence and is very strong. He is just starting to fill out to his body and learning how that strength will help him in those dirty areas. He is a really nice player to watch and is always involved in teh play. He has a great shot on him.