In the weeks to come, the KIJHL Notebook is putting a spotlight on a New Wave of players – it’s rookies. The head coach-GM of respective teams have been asked to provide scouting reports on their players. We begin in the Kootenays with the Eddie Mountain division.
Columbia Valley Rockies
Tysin Mulligan (2005 – 5-9, 165 pounds) – Mulligan is a very dynamic goal scorer and wins faceoffs.
“He has been one of our few young guys to produce a lot of points early,” said head coach-GM Taylor Sincennes of the Rocky Rapids, Alberta native. “He was a late cut from the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League and came in with the right attitude. He is a good leader and does the small things the right way and is benefiting with the numbers he has put up to this point (12 goals, 19 points in 17 games).”
Mulligan has been selected to play for the KIJHL prospects team in the BCHC Prospects Game.
Carter Velker (2005 – 6-1, 175 pounds) – “He wins a lot of puck battles and does a lot defensively that maybe goes unnoticed because of his offensive output (16 points in 17 games),” said Sincennes of the Calgary product. “He brings a work ethic every day and is fun to have around.”
Gage Sather (2005 – 5-11, 175 pounds) – Sather’s a very good skater, who plays with pace and the right attitude.
”He’s another one that has been awesome. He got released from the SJHL and has put in the work to get better,” said Sincennes of the Cochrane, Alberta product with nine points in 16 games. “We have seen progression from him week to week, which is awesome.”
Danny Schmirler (2005 – 6-1, 170 pounds) – Schmirler skates really well and hasn’t gotten the offensive bounces he’s worked for.
“He’s creating chances every night, flying around the ice,” Sincennes said of the Calgary product, who has six points in 12 games. “He is getting stronger.”
Justin King (2005 – 6-2, 185 pounds) – King is an effective defensive centre who has strong details in his game.
“He’s working hard to improve his skating ability,” said Sincennes of the Calgary product with
six points in 17 games.
Tyson Sandhu (2005 – 5-11, 185 pounds) – Sandhu has high-end skill with the offence just waiting to come.
“It’s right there, you see it week in and week out,” said Sincennes of the Airdrie, Alberta product, who has five points in 16 games.
Oleg Bitus (2005 – 6-0, 190 pounds) – Bitus possesses a high-end shot that the coaches are working with him to release quicker.
“I think he struggled out of the gate just being so far from home (Los Angeles). He has brought a refreshing mindset to us as coaches where he is asking for help and wants to see video. It’s slowly starting to show in his play.”
Bitus has four goals in 13 games.
Carter Krause (2005 – 5-11, 175 pounds) – Krause can be found in a shooting area behind the Eddie Mountain Memorial Arena shooting pucks each day. An offensive force at the Midget AA level, the offence hasn’t come yet for the Calgary product with two assists in eight games.
“He’s getting better. He is making sure to bring something new to the table and honing in on the defensive side trying to get better at the little aspects of the game. I’ve been pleased with the progression.”
Ben Sharp (2005 – 6-2, 175 pounds) – Sharp has offensive potential that doesn’t show from the two assists in 12 games. Sincennes believes the Calgary product can be “a big time scorer in this league.”
“It is slowly coming along as he brings an element of size,” he said. “You can’t teach the size he has. He is getting comfortable using his body to protect the puck. We’re hoping to get that out of him after Christmas.”
Johnny Lozeman (2005 – 6-1, 175 pounds) – Lozeman is a solid two-way centre, who wins faceoffs. The Rockies are using the Banff product on the penalty-kill and count on him defensively.
“He is having a tough time scoring, but he is getting chances. It is going to come for him.”
Lozeman scored his first goal against Fernie on Thursday and has three assists in 16 games.
Ethan Adair (2005 – 6-2, 195 pounds) – Adair is big, strong and skates really well.
“He has a heavy, hard shot and brings an element of skill, while being a power-forward type player.”
The Calgary product began playing this month as he recovered from an injury sustained at an SJHL camp.
Maxence Guay (2005 – 6-2, 185 pounds) – Guay is very dynamic.
“He brings an element of puck skill and is working to improve defensively as he is counted more in a defensive role, as the older guys take charge of the offence.”
The Calgary product has seven points in 10 games.
Wyatt Wurtz (2005 – 6-0, 210 pounds) – Wurtz brings that rancher’s work ethic.
“He does all the small defensive things really well. He’s the first guy to get down and block a shot and finishes his checks and is a grinder.”
With seven points in 14 games, Sincennes sees offensive upside in the Dalmeny, Saskatchewan product “that has maybe gone a bit untapped” as Wurtz has focused on the defensive side of the puck.
Kaelen Bodnarchuk (2005 – 5-10, 170 pounds) – Injuries have impacted the Okotoks, Alberta products development as he has three assists in eight games.
“He’s a very good skater and brings confidence with the puck, which we haven’t got out of him yet. It’s coming. Once he gets healthy we can really tap into that.”
Dawson Ashcroft (2005 – 6-3, 190 pounds) – Ashcroft has unbelievable range and size. He’s very good with his stick defensively and is working on his skating.
“We’re just cracking the surface on what Dawson can bring to the table in this league,” he said. “He brings physicality and doesn’t shy from shot blocking.”
The Red Deer product has one assist in 10 games.
Jaiden Jakubowski (2005 – 6-1, 170 pounds) – Jakubowski has been awesome, along with being “kind of a sponge.”
“He is always picking the brain of starter Nate Glenn, who is a good guy being one of the best goalies in the league. Jako has been right there with him.”
Along with having a 4-1-0 record, the Prince George product has a .928 save percentage and a 2.17 goals against average, which has him ranked amongst the league leaders.
Dryden Harding (2005 – 6-4, 185 pounds) – Harding has offensive abilities and so far has four points in 10 games.
“He’s really responsible away from the puck. As a rookie centreman, he’s been in and out of the lineup and he’s starting to figure the league out getting more scoring chances,” said Dynamiters head coach-GM Derek Stuart.
The Okotoks, Alberta product came to Kimberley as a point producer from U18AA and has a very good shot. He sees the ice well and is able to make plays.
Hayden Selin (2005 – 5-10, 160 pounds) – Selin “is kind of the same mold as Dryden.”
“He’s another guy that put up a lot of points at U18AA. He has a really good shot, good offensive awareness and is a powerful skater.”
The St. Albert, Alberta product has six points in nine games.
Nate Murdoch (2005 – 6-2, 165 pounds) – Murdoch “is playing excellent right now.”
“He’s starting to figure out his role and is very good on the penalty kill, a hard worker, and very tenacious on the forecheck.”
The Kimberley product is pointless in seven games.
Carter Hensch (2005 – 5-10, 170 pounds) – Hensch put up a lot of points in U18AAA.
“He has taken a bit of time as most rookies do to figure out the league. He’s very good with the puck, has good vision to make plays and offensive skills.”
The Grande Prairie product has five points in 12 games.
Callan Valstar (2005 – 6-0, 185 pounds) – The Dynamiters acquired Valstar in a trade with the Kindersley Klippers and Stuart said he has played well in his two games.
“He’s very steady, smart. He is responsible with the puck and is physical too and is a huge addition for us on the defensive side.”
The Calgary product has played two games.
Connor Grainger (2006 – 6-1, 175 pounds) – Grainger is “playing very well for a 17- year-old,” said Stuart. The Cranbrook product is the lone 2006 on the roster.
“He is figuring out how to play in this league. He’s very strong, pretty aggressive and tough to play against, especially in front of our net. On the PK, he has been thriving and was named to the KIJHL prospects team for the BCHC Prospects Game, so it’s nice to see his hard work rewarded.”
Reese Walsh (2005 – 6-1, 180 pounds) – Walsh is very good defensively, which Stuart says is his strength.
“He is big and strong and physical and good on the penalty kill.”
The Fort Saskatchewan product has two assists in nine games.
Jackson Murphy (2005 – 5-10, 170 pounds) – Murphy is a very quick, agile puck-moving defenceman.
“I think there is more offence there from him, but we’re focusing on the defensive side right now. He’s progressing really well for a young rookie defenceman.”
The Calgary product has three points in 13 games.
Ryder Ponto (2005 – 6-1, 170 pounds) – Ponto, a Beaumont, Alberta product, has been good winning all five games he’s played with a 2.90 goals against average and .911 save percentage.
“He’s only had one game that he probably would like a do over on. He understands his role as the back up behind Matt and he’s learning from him. He’s learning that this league is a lot better than perhaps some people thought and he is progressing.”
Liam Munro (2005 – 6-2, 180 pounds) – Munro has been playing great as head coach-GM Ty Valin said he’s off to a good start, 12 points in 13 games, which started in exhibition for the Calgary product.
“It’s been a nice transition for him. He’s a playmaker who can help us with that area we struggled with the last couple of years. He can score and is one of those players that has the skill and mindset – the poise and composure to make plays. That’s huge.”
Kyler Watson (2005 – 6-0, 205 pounds) – Watson started the season in the Alberta Junior Hockey League with the Olds Grizzlys and Valis says he’s having a successful transition from Midget AAA.
“He’s got a great shot and knows how to use it,” said Valin of the Grande Prairie product, who has eight goals in 14 games. “His release is incredible. He is a bigger body and can play physically and his defensive zone play is improving.”
Riley Enns (2005 – 6-0, 190 pounds) – Enns, a Gibbons, Alberta product, is a quick power forward, who Valin says is finding his legs. With six points in 13 games, Valin says “he’s been a big part of the success we have had recently.”
“He is fast, can make plays and shoot the puck. He has all the pieces there. He’s another guy that is getting better every day, puts the work in and is great in the dressing room.”
Braeden Jack (2006 – 6-1, 175 pounds) – The Fernie product is “doing an extremely good job for us,” said Valin.
“He’s a playmaker with high puck skills and vision,” said Valin of Jack, who has three points in seven games. “He can make plays that our 19- and 20-year-olds make. For a young guy that goes a long way. He’s going to be a really nice junior hockey player as he develops.”
Ben Skarsen (2005 – 5-10, 170 pounds) – Skarsen, a Bonnyville, Alberta product, is a quick player, who has been effective on the penalty-kill and has a great shot.
“He can place it anywhere he wants and flat out beat goaltenders when he gets in alone with them. His hockey IQ is through the roof,” said Valin, as Skarsen has two assists in nine games.
Joshua Kallies (2006 – 5-10, 163 pounds) – The Fernie product plays defence and forward giving the Ghostriders valuable flexibility.
“This is a big development year for him as he’s learning to play at this level,” said Valin, as Kallies has played in four games. “He has made some big steps over the summer, working on his speed and puck skills. “
Easton Zenko (2005 – 5-10, 185 pounds) – Zenko has a strong hockey sense and is becoming a nice defenceman.
“He brings a lot of offensive upside, which is huge. He is almost like having an extra forward on the ice, but can also play defence. He plays a heavy, hard-hitting game and is great on the PK. He’s got the ability to block shots and win races in the D zone.”
The Spruce Grove, Alberta product has one assist in seven games.
Nik Jones (2005 – 5-10, 180 pounds) – The Edmonton product came in a trade from the SJHL’s Yorkton Terriers and is a shutdown defenceman.
“He plays a very physical, hard-hitting game. He’s arguably one of our better defensive defencemen right now. He embraces his role, loves the hard minutes and he’s playing great.”
Nick Kunyk (2005 – 6-0, 140 pounds) – Kunyk has figured out the KIJHL quickly.
“He’s off to a great start right now for us,” said Valin, as the Spruce Grove, Alberta product has five wins in the six games he’s played with a 1.66 goals against average and a .939 save percentage and was selected to the KIJHL Prospects team for the BCHC Prospects Game.
“He’s an undersized goalie who competes hard, tracks pucks well, and doesn’t chase the game. He is always square to the play, very athletic and has lots of energy.”
Creston Valley Thunder Cats
Keegan Fellows (2005 – 5-9, 165 pounds) – Fellows uses his speed well, which head coach-GM Brad Tobin says, “is his big strength.”
“He needs to use it a little bit more. He has a great shot and is a solid two-way forward.”
The Hinton, Alberta product has a goal in 13 games.
Brendan Kindlein (2005 – 6-1, 170 pounds) – Kindlein uses his size and skates really well.
“We’ve been really impressed with him since training camp. He gets some power-play opportunities with the top guys as a net-front presence. We’re really happy with how he has been playing.”
The Calgary product has six points in 15 games.
Lucas Hughes (2005 – 6-0, 182 pounds) – Hughes, a High River, Alberta product, has a great shot that Tobin wants to see more. Hughes is strong and continues to work as he learns what it takes to be successful in the league. Hughes has two goals in 12 games.
Simon Hamilton (2005 – 5-10, 160 pounds) – The Bay Tree, Alberta product was added from Fredericton in the Maritime Hockey League and has four points in eight games.
“He’s a really good player, who is skilled and has a great, effective shot. Once he gets going, he can be a true goal-scorer in this league, ” said Tobin. “His hockey sense is really good and we’ve really liked how he’s come into the lineup.”
Bradley Boyarski (2005 – 5-11, 168 pounds) – Boyarski was acquired in a trade from Revelstoke uses his speed really well.
“For him to be effective, he has to use his body in puck battles more, move the puck more,” he said. “We do see the potential in him to be a solid 200-foot player.”
The Calgary product has one goal in nine games.
Dreyton Hayward (2005 – 5-9, 160 pounds) – The Calgary product is a puck mover and has three points in 14 games.
“It’s taken him a bit to get up to speed with the KIJHL and how hard you have to battle in the defensive zone. He has it in him to go up against bigger opponents and it’s making sure he’s in the right position to be effective.”
Govind Dhillon (2005 – 6-2, 185 pounds) – Dhillono, a Calgary product, was acquired from Columbia Valley, where he had four points in eight games.
“He played a couple games last week and I like his skating, physicality, and the way he uses his stick effectively in the D-zone. I can see him being a big part of our defensive core moving forward.”
Davis Young (2006 – 6-0, 165 pounds) – Young, a Cranbrook product, is strong and solid.
“If he continues on his path, by his 20-year-old year, he will be one of the top defensive defencemen in the league. He uses his body well, moves the puck and gets in the right spots. We’ve been really happy since day one.”
Dario Cantini (2004 – 6-4,194) – The Cap-Pele, New Brunswick product has impressed winning three of his six games with a 2.34 GAA with a .926 SP
“He’s a big goalie and is very effective. Off the ice he works really hard and the sky’s the limit for him.”
Draeden Bear (2005 – 5-11, 160 pounds) – Bear, a Saskatoon product, has four points in 12 games and has done quite well, said Head Coach-GM Chuck Wight.
“He plays that 200-foot game and is pretty tenacious on the forecheck and we really like that about him. He is doing quite well getting involved at both ends.”
Pierson Main (2005 – 5-8, 180 pounds) – Main, a Saskatoon product, plays with grit and determination and has produced three points in 12 games.
“He is tenacious with the forecheck and I like to see him be a good 200-foot player. He has also filled in on the PK and done quite well.”
Cooper Thompson (2005 – 5-11, 160 pounds) – Thompson has three points in 13 games and the Ardrossan, Alberta product brings a good offensive skill set.
“I think he’s one of those players that has adjusted nicely and is doing quite well. We will see a lot of upside with him as he’s good in tight with the puck and a pretty strong skater.”
Jake Yakubowski (2005 – 6-1, 175 pounds) – Yakubowski has been very steady and the Rockets have used him in all forward positions.
“He is becoming a bit of a swiss army knife. He has filled in quite nicely,” said Wight of the Saskatoon product, who has three points in 12 games. “He’s going to eventually become a power forward for us and is a speedy skater.”
Deegan Wapass (2005 – 6-2, 170 pounds) – The Big River First Nations product was acquired from Nipawin in the SJHL. In four games, Wapass has a goal and an assist.
“I think we will see more of that as he’s a very good puck possession-type player. He has got a long reach, very quick hands and a great shot.”
Brock McIlwain (2005 – 6-2, 185 pounds) – McIlwain started the season with a high ankle sprain and will play his first game soon. The Calgary product impressed during the exhibition season.
“He will be a pretty solid centre or winger, as he’s a good skater and very strong on the boards. He has a lot of speed for a power player and he will start to contribute offensively.”
Brandon Spilchen (2005 – 5-11, 180 pounds) – The Yorkton, Saskatchewan product has four points in 14 games, displaying his offensive skills.
“He has been very good at fitting into our system and being aggressive, stepping up and making plays. He has been pretty solid for us.”
Stephen Bodtker (2005 – 6-0, 160 pounds) – Bodtker has been a very solid puck mover.
“He is very strong with his skating ability and moves the puck well in the offensive zone when he is given the chance. He has been playing on the PP and did well.”
The Calgary product has three assists, one on the power-play, in 14 games.
Isaiah Stotz (2005 – 6-4, 180 pounds) – Stotz has a good frame and is always working on his skills.
“He is a very solid skater and uses his reach quite nicely,” said Wight. “I think we’re going to see more out of him as he gets used to playing a little more physical.”
The Calgary product has two assists in nine games.
Chaz Jaeb (2005 – 6-1, 170 pounds) – The Sturgis, Saskatchewan product likes to play physical.
“He is pretty strong on his skates and has adjusted quickly. I’m looking forward to bigger and better things from him as he has done quite well with the amount he has played.”
Jaeb has two assists in 11 games and averages 22:39 of ice time a game.
Kaeden Serpa (2005 – 6-0, 150 pounds) – Serpa has done quite well earning his first win by a shutout. Wight says the Burlington, Ontario products .902 SP is decent and they’re “looking at him from a long term point of view.”
“He will be pretty strong down the road and is playing very well at the moment. He tracks pucks well, is very quick, similar to Levi Hall.”