Kootenay Ice goalies Payton Lee (left) and Declan Hobbs (right) share a net in practice.

Kootenay Ice goalies Payton Lee (left) and Declan Hobbs (right) share a net in practice.

Ice take three goalie act on the road

Kootenay Ice coach Luke Pierce says team will wait until after upcoming road trip to decide on season’s goaltending duo.

Brad McLeod

In the opening weeks of the season, the Kootenay Ice were forced to make several difficult roster decisions. Heading into Thanksgiving weekend their lineup is almost set, but they still have one more big cut to make — they need to get rid of a goalie.

Unlike most of their WHL competition, the Ice are still holding three goaltenders. So far this season, Payton Lee, Declan Hobbs, and rookie Jakob Walter have all traded off spending time in net, on the bench, and in the press box.

After Walter’s admirable debut performance against Moose Jaw on Tuesday, in which he made 32 saves on 35 shots and was named the game’s third star, management’s decision has been made even harder.

“It’s [going to be] really tough [but] it’s a good problem to have,” coach Luke Pierce said on the crowded situation in net. “Depth in that position is extremely important and we feel confident in all three guys and I don’t know that we’re in a huge rush to make that [decision].

“I think we’ll talk a little more this week and we’ll take all three guys on the trip with us and then see from there.”

For their part, the goaltending trio doesn’t seem too concerned.

“It’s [been] fun, we all get along,” Walter said following Tuesday’s game. “We all know we’re fighting for a spot here so we just keep playing hard and [wait to] see what happens.”

Walter also said that despite the competition, he’s taken advantage of the opportunity to learn from his colleagues.

“[Lee] is a good mentor, he tells me to keep going and just keep working hard, doing what you’re doing and [success] will come.”

As one of the Ice’s three designated 20-year-old players who was brought in during the off-season to give the Ice stability, Lee is unlikely to be going anywhere.

Hobbs also has an assumed advantage over Walter, due to having played for the Ice in 24 games last season and being a year older.

The fact that Walter has stuck around as long as he has, however, gives cause to believe that he could overtake Hobbs, if one of them either falters or exceeds expectations.

So far this season Lee has gotten three starts and has a team-best 0.920 save percentage, while Hobbs and Walter both have one start apiece and have 0.914 and 0.870 save percentages, respectively.

General manager Jeff Chynoweth previously told the Townsman that the team’s goal was to get to two goalies by around Thanksgiving.

Although choosing their two goaltenders is important, the team is also in desperate need of their first win. Lee would be the safest bet on putting up a ‘W’ but with the real battle for a roster spot looking to be between Hobbs and Walter, Kootenay might also look to ensure that they both get action in Saskatchewan.

But will the team opt to go with three different starters during a very challenging weekend, on the road, against extremely talented competition? And if not, how will they ensure they’ve made an informed choice?

These questions will certainly be answered over the next few days. The Ice are in Regina on Friday to take on the Pats, they then head to Moose Jaw for a Saturday night game against the Warriors, and finally close out the trip in Swift Current where they play the Broncos on Monday afternoon.

Just Posted

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.

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

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

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Most Read