It’s game on for 2016/17

It’s game on for 2016/17

2016 JustICE League Members

If the Kootenay Ice want to be competitive this season, they’re going to need some superheroes, but who’s up to the task?

  • Sep. 22, 2016 11:00 a.m.

Last season, the Kootenay Ice struggled to find the success that this town is used to seeing from their WHL team. With league and franchise lows in both wins and goals scored, the team needs to come back to life. To regain their competitive edge, they can no longer just be regular old hockey players — they’ll need to be superheroes. Sports Editor Brad McLeod takes a look at who’s got what it takes.

Superman: Zak Zborosky

If the Ice want to be a strong contender in the WHL this year, Zborosky’d better get his cape on. Last season he was the team’s point leader and now that he’s entering his fourth and final season with Kootenay, there will be substantial pressure for him to be consistently ‘super’ again this year. Although he missed 14 games due to injury last year, he was their ‘Man of Steel’ in 2014-15, when he played all 72. If he can do that again, it should help their consistency up front. Zborosky fought his way into the big city this summer, earning a spot at the NHL’s New York Rangers prospect camp and tournament, and now that he’s back in Smallville, the team needs him to lead the way.

Batman: Payton Lee

Kootenay’s man behind the mask will need to provide some heroics this season for the Ice to stand a fighting chance against their opposition. A new acquisition for the team this year, Lee needs his athleticism and technical prowess to shine as he returns to his own personal Gotham – Cranbrook, the community he grew up in. A big and highly intelligent goalie, who has a lot of experience in some of the darkest areas of the league (he played on the 21-win Vancouver Giants in 2013), Lee may be the hero the Ice deserve and the one they need right now.

Robin: Declan Hobbs

Although Lee will be getting the start in the Ice’s opening game, Hobbs has been impressing the coaching staff as of late and the team could very well have a dynamic duo between the pipes.

Hobbs is a couple of years younger than Lee, and a couple pounds lighter, but the young ward needs to prove that he can give the Ice a chance every time he gets the start. If Hobbs and Lee can push each other for the starting position it could help the Ice’s goaltending, as having a highly skilled sidekick is always a good idea.

The Wonder Twins: Keenan and Kaeden Taphorn

For those who aren’t familiar with the 1970s Hanna-Barbera cartoon, “The Super Friends”, The Wonder Twins are a sibling pair of extraterrestrial superhero twins. One has the power to transform into any form of water and the other can turn into any animal. If the Ice want to be a super team, they need the Taphorn twins to tap into their own unique power to turn any puck into a bucket of goals. The rookie brothers have the potential to do precisely that, just like they did in 2014-15 during their final year of Bantam hockey with the Yorkton Terriers, where they combined for 71 goals in just 31 games. It will help the Ice if they can activate their twin powers this season.

The Flash: Cale Fleury

With the departure of the now 21-year old Tanner Lishchynsky on the backend, Cale Fleury may very well have to be superhuman to keep opponents from lighting up the scoreboard. Speed will be a big factor to his success, as his ability to quickly rush the puck, suddenly appear for a big hit and fire a mach 12 slapshot could certainly help lead the Ice to victory.There are many who think Fleury is up to the task. He’s already been listed in the official 2016-17 Central Scouting’s Futures List and was listed by TSN analyst Craig Button as a “Player to Watch”. If he can start off the year like a bolt of lightning, watch out!

Aquaman: Matt Alfaro

At 20 years old and entering his fourth season with the Ice, Alfaro has developed into quite possibly the team’s slipperiest player. If he can continue to find open space and slide past defenders with the ease he did in some games last season, not only will he have an impressive final WHL season, but he’ll help rack up team wins. The way Aquaman takes to the water, Alfaro will have to take to the Ice. Being able to telepathically communicate with his teammates wouldn’t hurt either.

Just Posted

The latest EKASS survey confirms a steady decline in substance use among EK youth over the years. (image compilation via Pixabay)
Latest survey show steady decline in adolescent substance use over the years

Starting in 2002, the survey has been conducted every two years to monitor changes in substance use patterns, attitudes and behaviors amongst East Kootenay youth.

Residents line up outside the Vernon Recreation Complex for their COVID-19 vaccine Saturday, June 5. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
No appointments necessary for first dose COVID-19 vaccine: Interior Health

People can just show up at clinics, register on the spot and get the shot

It happened this week in 1914

June 6 -12: Compiled by Dave Humphrey from the archived newspapers held at the Cranbrook History Centre and Archives

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry on Thursday, June 10, mentioned Grand Forks among two other COVID “hot spots” in B.C. Photo: Screenshot - YouTube COVID-19 BC Update, June 10, 2021
PHO Henry says West Kootenay city is a COVID ‘hot spot’ in B.C.

There are 11 cases of COVID-19 in the Grand Forks local health area, according the BC CDC

Supporters — and shoppers — lined up waiting at the Cranbrook Health Care Auxiliary Thrift Store on 8th Avenue South, waiting for the doors to open on the store's first day of operations since the pandemic forced its closure. (Photo courtesy Kate Fox)
CHCA Thrift Store re-opens in Cranbrook

After a closure of 15 months, due to the pandemic, the Cranbrook Health Care Auxiliary Thrift Store on 8th Avenue South has once again opened its doors for business.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

Most Read