Ice prospect commits to BCHL Powell River

Defenceman Andy Stevens has committed his services to the BCHL's Powell River Kings for the 2015-16 season

Kootenay Ice prospect Andy Stevens

Kootenay Ice prospect Andy Stevens

Another Kootenay Ice defensive prospect has committed his services to the BCHL.

Andy Stevens, a 2013 WHL Bantam Draft selection of the Ice (fifth round, 98th overall), has committed to the Powell River Kings of the BCHL.

The Powell River Kings made the announcement via press release Sunday.

“We’re moving ahead without [Stevens] and wish him nothing but the best in Powell River,” said Jeff Chynoweth, Kootenay Ice president and general manager, Monday afternoon.

“He’s going to stay on our list. Hopefully down the road he looks at it and wants to move up another level. That will be up to him as his career moves along.”

The news on Stevens comes less than a week after Chynoweth and the Ice discovered defenceman Griffin Mendel, the team’s 2014 first-round pick (14th overall), had committed to the BCHL’s Penticton Vees for the 2015-16 season.

Stevens, a 6-foot-2, 195-pound blue-liner, spent the 2014-15 season playing for the Campbell River Storm of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League (VIJHL). He posted two goals and 17 points in 40 regular-season games while helping his club to three Junior ‘B’ titles — the VIJHL championship, Cyclone Taylor Cup (B.C. Junior ‘B’ Provincial championship) and Keystone Cup (Western Canada Junior ‘B’ championship).

“When I was an AP last season, I found out first hand that Powell River was such a first-class organization with a great coaching staff and a great group of guys in the room,” Stevens said in a Kings’ press release. “It seems like a great place to live and a good place for me to develop.

“Junior ‘A’ is a faster game. I felt I did well as an affiliate last season, but I need to work on getting faster and more powerful.”

Stevens, a native of Campbell River, found his way into eight regular season games and four playoff contests with Powell River during the 2014-15 season.

“Andy is a high-end defenceman who garnered a lot of WHL and BCHL interest,” said Kent Lewis, Powell River head coach and general manager, in a team press release. “Even at 16 with us last season in the regular season and playoffs, he showed a lot of maturity with the puck and his play away from it. He was a good kid to have in the room down the stretch and we’re happy to add him to the roster permanently this season.”

The Powell River Kings finished the 2014-15 BCHL campaign third in the Island Division with a record of 27-21-1-9 before falling in the second round of the post-season to the Nanaimo Clippers in a seven-game defeat.

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The search for a new head coach continues in Cranbrook.

“Nothing to report yet…It takes time,” Chynoweth said. “You just want to make sure you make the right decision, that’s the main thing. There are lots of candidates and we’re trying to put a list together and move forward from there.”

On April 15, Chynoweth announced the Ice was mutually parting ways with head coach Ryan McGill upon the expiration of his contract June 30.

McGill spent eight seasons as coach of the Kootenay Ice, compiling a regular-season coaching record of 280-222-53, adding two conference titles, two WHL championships (2000 and 2002) and one Memorial Cup championship (2002).

McGill’s playoff record with the Ice was 53-33 and he was named WHL Coach of the Year in 2012-13.

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