Defenceman Nathyn Mortlock

Defenceman Nathyn Mortlock

Ice release Mortlock

The Kootenay Ice announced the release of defenceman/forward Nathyn Mortlock Thursday afternoon

The Kootenay Ice announced the release of defenceman/forward Nathyn Mortlock Thursday afternoon.

“I give Nathyn a ton of a credit — he knew from the get-go the position he was in,” said Luke Pierce, head coach of the Ice. “He was willing to do everything he could to make it work. He wanted to have a chance and be on the team.

“With the addition of Dylan [Stewart, acquired from the Prince Albert Raiders Wednesday], it just doesn’t make sense for us to have a 19-year-old who is not a natural forward playing up front and taking away minutes from some of our young guys that we’re trying to grow.”

The 6-foot, 183-pound Mortlock is set to join the Melville Millionaires of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League, where he played 20 games during the 2014-15 season.

“This way, Nathyn can get on and focus on playing tier two, having a big impact and playing a big role and enjoying the game a little bit more,” Pierce said.

In 11 games with the Ice in 2015-16, the native of Medicine Hat, Alta., registered one goal and 10 penalty minutes while splitting time as a forward and a defenceman.

In 46 career WHL games with the Ice and Regina Pats, Mortlock has tallied two goals, four points and 18 penalty minutes.

With the release of Mortlock, the Ice roster now stands at 24, including two goaltenders, nine defencemen and 13 forwards.