The Kootenay Ice have parted ways with 18-year-old defenceman Jordan Steenbergen.
“It was a mutual parting of the ways,” said Kootenay Ice general manager Jeff Chynoweth. “He wasn’t going to be happy being a number-six, seven or eight defenceman or on the fourth line [as a] forward.
“He wanted to play more and we couldn’t guarantee that. We reached a mutual decision to part ways.”
The move was announced via Twitter Wednesday morning.
It is expected that Steenbergen will report to the Olds Grizzlys of the Alberta Junior Hockey League. According to Chynoweth, the Ice will retain Steenbergen’s WHL rights.
Steenbergen played one full season in Cranbrook, tallying three assists in 49 games during the 2013-14 WHL campaign.
“Thanks to the @WHLKootenayICE for giving me an opportunity to play and be a part of this organization the last year and a half,” Steenbergen tweeted Wednesday afternoon. “And a huge thank you to my billets and teammates. I am very excited for what the future holds! #newbeginnings”
The native of Sylvan Lake, Alta. was pointless in 12 games to start the 2014-15 WHL season.
A natural defenceman, the return of import blue liner Rinat Valiev saw Steenbergen shifted up to the Ice’s forward ranks. In last night’s 5-0 loss to the Prince Albert Raiders, Steenbergen began the game skating on left wing alongside Vince Loschiavo and Levi Cable.
In 62 career WHL games, all with the Ice, Steenbergen registered three assists, a minus-seven rating and 86 penalty minutes.
The Ice drafted the 6-foot, 192-pound defenceman in the third round (61st overall) of the 2011 WHL Bantam Draft.
The release reduces the Kootenay Ice roster to 23, including 14 forwards, seven defencemen and two goaltenders.