The Kootenay Ice have acquired defenceman Tyler Strath and a conditional fifth round draft pick in 2019 from the Lethbridge Hurricanes for the WHL playing rights to Austin Wong.
The 2000-born Strath spent the 2016-17 season with the Foothills CFR Bisons of the Alberta AAA Midget Hockey League. Strath – listed at six-foot-two and 185-pounds – recorded 10 assists in 43 games with the Bisons last season, while also playing one game with the Hurricanes.
“Tyler skates well, is a good puck mover and we expect him to compete for a roster spot as a 17 year old player,” said Matt Cockell, President and General Manager.
Strath was drafted by the Hurricanes in the third round (58th overall) in 2015.
Peter Anholt, general manager for the Lethbridge Hurricanes, had high praise for Strath when the franchise signed him following the 2015 WHL Bantam Draft.
“I was really pleased,” Anholt said in a team release. “As every pick went by that he wasn’t picked, I got a little bit more antsy and ansty all the time thinking we were going to get a chance at him; this guy’s a legit player.
“…Strath is a big, strong defensive defenseman. He takes care of his own end, makes good first passes and he skates really well for a big man. It’s a real important building block for our organization.”
Heading to Lethbridge, Austin Wong will be entering some familiar territory given the legacy his older brother, Tyler Wong, left after five years with the club. The elder Wong turned pro after the past season, but left the ‘Canes with a few impressive benchmarks, including third all-time games played, third all-time goals and sixth all-time in points.
Now, Austin will have the chance to follow in his brother’s footsteps.
He was drafted in the 11th round (232 overall) by the Ice in 2015 and played in the Alberta Junior Hockey League with the Okotoks Oilers last season. He tallied 10 goals and 10 assists and 150 penalty minutes in 53 games, and racked up an additional five points in 12 playoff appearances.
“Austin played Junior-A last year as a 16-year-old in Okotoks and had a good season,” said Anholt, in a team release. “Okotoks has done a nice job developing him and we are excited to acquire his rights from Kootenay. We think this moves helps build the depth to our 2000-born age group. Obviously there is a history with the family, so we know the pedigree with what we are acquiring in Austin.”
Ice training camp begins with a prospects camp on Friday, Aug. 25th, with main camp for returning players begins the following Monday.
Troy Murray heads to school
Overage defenceman Troy Murray will not be returning to the Ice this upcoming season, opting to go to school at the University of Regina and joining their men’s hockey program.
“Troy has made an informed, thoughtful decision to start his education at the University of Regina,” said Matt Cockell, President and General Manager. “The organization supports Troy, wish him success and is excited that he is using his WHL Scholarship package to pursue his education goals.”
The White City, Saskatchewan native was selected 10th overall by the Ice in the 2012 draft.
The 1997-born Murray played four seasons with the ICE collecting seven goals, 53 assists and 60 points in 266 regular season games. Murray also played in 20 playoff games registering three assists.
The University of Regina Cougars hockey team has an Ice connection, given that bench boss Todd Johnson is a former assistant coach with the WHL club. Former Kootenay skaters on the Cougars roster includes Zach McPhee, Tyler King and Landon Peel.
This year’s recruiting class also includes former Ice forward Zak Zborosky, who was traded at last year’s deadline to the Hurricanes.