After claiming four divisional points on the opening weekend of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League season, the Kimberley Dynamiters are taking the show on the road for three games in three nights through the Doug Birks Division.
The Nitros open the slate with a Friday-night affair in 100 Mile House against the Wranglers, before continuing on the face the Kamloops Storm in a KIJHL championship rematch on Saturday. Finally, the Dynamiters close the three-game swing against the Sicamous Eagles Sunday afternoon.
“For us, early in the season, it’s a great opportunity for the guys to get to know each other,” said Mike Reid, assistant coach and general manager of the Dynamiters, Wednesday afternoon.
“It’ll be a good test to see how we respond on the road. We’ve got three pretty good teams we’re going to be playing. For us, the road is where you see who people really are. It’s easy to play at the Civic Centre on a Saturday night in front of a bunch of fans.”
The lineup will be bolstered by the addition of two forwards, one familiar to Nitros fans and the other a newcomer.
Forward Sawyer Hunt (1997) was officially returned to the club Sunday night from the Canmore Eagles of the Alberta Junior Hockey League.
The native of Nelson is expected to be available to the Dynamiters this weekend.
“He had a good run over in Canmore, but at the end of the day it was just a numbers crunch and now he’s back with us,” Reid said. “We’re happy to have him back. He definitely brings speed to our lineup, which we don’t lack that, but it definitely is a great compliment to our lineup.”
The other forward added to the roster comes in the form of Ricky Bateman (1997), a native of Fort St. John, B.C.
The 5-foot-11, 180-pound forward sustained a shoulder injury early in training camp and as a result, wasn’t able to show all he had to offer.
Upon being cleared for contact on Monday, Bateman was added to the roster as Reid hopes to give the 18-year-old an extended opportunity to prove his worth.
“He tried to play [the injury] but it just didn’t work,” Reid said. “He’s a good kid. We wanted to make sure he got a fair shake at [making the team].
“We feel he fits into our plans…He’s older, stronger and we’re looking for a guy to fill that kind of role on our team — to be a good, solid winger up and down the boards. We’ll give him a good chance to make the team, so he’s coming with us this weekend and hopefully he’ll fit right in.”
In 26 games with the Fort St. John Huskies of the North West Junior Hockey League last season, Bateman tallied five goals and 14 points.
In other roster-related news, highly-touted blue-liner George Bertoia (1998) is expected to be available after sitting out the first two games on opening weekend.
The native of Taber, Alta., had his KIJHL debut delayed after transfer papers made their way through BC Hockey to Hockey Alberta.
“He’s a school-aged kid who has changed provinces, so BC Hockey has to do its due diligence to make sure that it’s a legitimate move,” Reid said.
Bertoia’s father lives in Cranbrook, so there’s no question in that regard when it comes to the 6-foot-2, 190-pound defenceman.
“BC Hockey has approved him, but it has to go back to Alberta for them to approve him,” Reid said. “It’s hung up in Alberta since last Friday [Sept. 11], which is disappointing. As a hockey person, a teenaged kid’s chance to play is being held hostage by bureaucracy, which is hard. But those rules are put in place to protect the game and protect the kids. We understand. We just want to get him in the lineup.”
Reid is hopeful Bertoia will be cleared in time for Friday’s tilt with the Wranglers.
Also expected to make his Dynamiters’ debut on Friday is backup goaltender Mitch Traichevitch.
The Dynamiters play six consecutive games on the road to round out the month of September, beginning with this weekend’s three-game tour through the Doug Birks Division.
Next home action for the Dynamiters is set for Friday, Oct. 2, when the Revelstoke Grizzlies visit the Kimberley Civic Centre.