Jeff de Wit in action with the Kootenay Ice on Saturday, October 14, 2017 in a game against the Everett Silvertips. (Brad McLeod Photo)

Jeff de Wit in action with the Kootenay Ice on Saturday, October 14, 2017 in a game against the Everett Silvertips. (Brad McLeod Photo)

Jeff de Wit quickly finding success with Kootenay Ice

Forward scores two goals in second game for Cranbrook club, sees great potential for young team

There’s just something about Western Financial Place that seems to work for Jeff de Wit.

The 19-year-old forward made his debut for the Kootenay Ice last Thursday and quickly proved his worth. In game two on Saturday, he scored a pair of goals and was given a rousing ovation as the night’s first star.

It was the second multi-goal performance of de Wit’s WHL career. His only other two-goal game was on December 31, 2015 as a member of the Red Deer Rebels during a road game in Cranbrook.

“I think you can see the talent he has,” said Ice head coach James Patrick after Saturday’s 5-3 win over the Everett Silvertips. “He can make high-end plays [and] he can play [in our] top six forward [group].

“I know he wasn’t playing as much in Regina, so I think his conditioning still has a way to go. Hopefully, in the next couple of weeks, he can really pick up on that.”

de Wit was acquired from the Pats on October 10 in exchange for gritty fourth line winger Tanner Sidaway and a seventh-round draft pick. While he played his first game centering the checking line without any practice time on Thursday, for Saturday he was promoted to a top line winger.

“He was a first-round player coming into this league and he showed that [on Saturday],” Patrick said. “He’s obviously got talent.”

His abilities were on full display in the first period against the Silvertips, when he opened the night’s scoring with a toe-drag to bar-down wrist shot that quickly got the crowd on their feet.

He was rewarded at the end of the game with an empty net goal, assisted by linemate Colton Kroeker, to solidify his team’s 5-3 victory.

“I’m excited to be here [and] I’m excited for the opportunity ahead,” de Wit said on Friday afternoon about playing for the Ice. “I think we have a young team, but [are] a group that’s able to make a push for the playoffs.”

While, as a member of the Memorial Cup host Regina Pats, de Wit was guaranteed a long post-season, he believes that his experience can help Kootenay make the leap this year to being a more competitive team.

In three full seasons in the league, de Wit has competed in the Memorial Cup with the Red Deer Rebels and went to league finals last year with the Pats.

“I know there are a few guys [here] that haven’t had a taste of the playoffs yet [so] I guess what I can tell them is that playoffs is a whole lot of fun,” de Wit said. “It’s definitely something that, as the year goes on, you have to push for. Games in October and November are huge. We’ve got to stay the course here [and know that] every game counts.”

As for his own game, the Red Deer-native has a solid idea of what he is expected to bring to the table.

“As an older guy, [I’ve] got more responsibility as a player,” he explained. “Offensively, I need to chip in and I need to play a 200-foot game.”

He also said that he is finding the transition into the new locker room and city to be pretty seamless.

“It’s an easy group of guys to get along with [and] with my character and my personality, it’s not too hard to fit in with a new team,” de Wit said. “It’s good. I’m not too worried about that. Day by day, it will get better.”

Captain Cale Fleury agreed and expressed excitement at his new teammate’s early success after the Saturday win.

“It’s awesome [to see him doing well],” Fleury said. “[We] actually made mention of that after the game too, how easy we made it for him to transition into the team on and off the ice. I’m happy that he’s happy here and I’m glad to have him on the team.”

With 11 career games at Western Financial Place as an opponent and now a member of the Ice, de Wit has 7 total goals. He will look to continue his success in the Cranbrook arena during the team’s next home game on Tuesday against the Moose Jaw Warriors.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Interior Health reported 79 new cases of COVID-19 and two new death in the region Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (Ben Hohenstatt/Juneau Empire)
79 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths reported in Interior Health

Both of Friday’s deaths were both recorded at long-term care homes

Vancouver Giants defenceman Bowen Byram could be playing for Colorado when the NHL resumes play. (Rik Fedyck/file)
Cranbrook product Bowen Byram makes NHL debut with Avalanche

Highly touted prospect marks first pro game following World Junior tournament in Alberta

CNOY is a family friendly walk/fundraiser hosted by Canadian Mental Health Association for the Kootenays to help those who are hungry, homeless and hurting. Our goal is to raise at least $20,000 and we need your help! The CNOY is set for Feb. 20.
There’s a place for everyone: Coldest Night of the Year walk is back

CNOY fundraising walk to raise money for charities serving people experiencing homelessness, hurt, and hunger set for Feb. 20

1914
It happened this week in 1914

Jan. 17-23: Items compiled by Dave Humphrey from the archived newspapers held at the Cranbrook History Centre and Archives

Kootenay-Columbia MP Rob Morrison speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons. File photo.
MP Morrison calls Keystone XL permit cancellation ‘devastating news’

Kootenay-Columbia MP reacts to the Conservative Party’s removal of a controversial Ontario MP

Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021 is International Lego Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 24 to 30

Lego Day, Talk Like a Grizzled Prospector Day and Puzzle Day are all coming up this week

Sunnybank in Oliver. (Google Maps)
Sunnybank long-term care in Oliver reports third COVID-19 death

The facility currently has an outbreak with 35 cases attached to it

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a daily briefing in Ottawa. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)
31 cases of COVID-19 variants detected in Canada: Health officials

Dr. Theresa Tam made announces 13 more variant COVID-19 cases in Canada

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. (Dave Eagles/Kamloops This Week file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak declared at Kamloops’ Royal Inland Hospital surgical unit

Despite 6 South being a surgical unit, RIH said surgeries are continuing at the hospital

Daily COVID-19 cases reported to each B.C. health region, to Jan. 20, 2021. Island Health in blue, Northern Health green, Interior Health orange, Vancouver Coastal in red and Fraser Health in purple. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate stays stable with 508 cases Friday

Vaccine delivered to more than 110,000 high-risk people

Volunteer firefighters from Grand Forks Fire/Rescue head towards the scene of fatal car crash near Gibbs Creek Road, below Highway 3, Thursday evening, Jan. 21. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Motorist dies in Highway 3 crash west of Grand Forks

City first responders were called to the scene Thursday evening, Jan. 21

The District of Saanich’s communications team decided to take part in a viral trend on Thursday and photoshopped U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders into a staff meeting photo. (District of Saanich/Twitter)
Bernie Sanders makes guest appearance municipal staff meeting in B.C.

Vancouver Island firefighters jump on viral trend of photoshopped U.S. senator

Most Read