With their preseason finishing up on Saturday night, the Kootenay Ice quickly pared down their roster the following afternoon and released six players.
Leaving the team after the exhibition play was 1997-born goaltender Mario Petit, 2001-born goaltender Jesse Makaj, 1997-born defenceman Jordan Henderson, 2000-born defenceman Tyler Strath, 2001-born forward Blake Allan and 1999-born forward Evan Thomas.
Petit and Henderson are perhaps the two most notable players on the list, as both were acquired during the off-season and expected to fill two of the team’s three overage spots.
Both players struggled in the preseason, with Petit putting up a 4.84 goals against average and 0.821 save percentage in three games and Henderson only putting up one assist and being a -8 in two exhibition appearances.
The team now has 25 players on their roster with two goalies, eight defenceman and 15 forwards. They will eventually cut their lineup even further to only include 23 members.
The team’s goaltending duo is composed of two players who were just acquired by the team this past week and have a total of four WHL regular season games between them.
Kurtis Chapman, who was traded to the Ice from the Regina Pats on Wednesday, played parts of four preseason games in 2017, including a 25-save win for the Ice against the Calgary Hitmen on Saturday.
Bailey Brkin, who the team received in exchange for forward Max Patterson and a draft pick last Sunday, played in three preseason games and backstopped the Ice to a 45-save win on Friday night over the Lethbridge Hurricanes.
The Ice’s defence is made up of returning players and three notable 16 and 17-year-olds: Zachary Patrick (2001-born), Bobby Russell (2000-born) and Loeden Schaufler (2000-born).
Patrick, an undrafted 16-year-old from Winnipeg, has been a frequent source of praise from head coach James Patrick and was not originally expected to make it this far with the team.
“The level of play has picked up as we’re getting near the start of the season and [Patrick] has been fine,” the coach said after the last preseason game. “He certainly hasn’t looked out of place. It’s still a learning experience for him, [but] we’ve got him killing penalties [and] we’ve got him doing [a lot of] different things out there.
“He’s got a long way to go, but he’s had an outstanding camp for a guy who [was a] ways down the depth chart coming into camp.”
As for the forward group, there are few surprises. The only player who is yet to suit up for the Ice is 20-year-old Colton Veloso, who was traded to the team from the Portland Winterhawks on Friday.
Veloso is one of only two overage players now on the team, alongside veteran forward Colton Kroeker, who tied for the Ice’s lead in preseason scoring with six points.
In the preseason, the Ice finished with a 3-3-0-0 record and begin the regular season against the Calgary Hitmen on Friday, September 22 at Western Financial Place.
Full Kootenay Ice Roster
Bailey Brkin, Kurtis Chapman
Martin Bodak, Cale Fleury, Dallas Hines, Sam Huston, Zachary Patrick, Ryan Pouliot, Bobby Russell, Loeden Schaufler
Brett Davis, Jake Elmer, Cameron Hausinger, Michael King, Gilian Kohler, Peyton Krebs, Colton Kroeker, Eli Lieffers, Vince Loschiavo, Barrett Sheen, Tanner Sidaway, Sebastian Streu, Kaeden Taphorn, Keenan Taphorn, Colton Veloso