The Kootenay Ice have announced defenceman Tanner Lishchynsky (1995) will remain with the team through the end of the 2014-15 WHL campaign.
The team made the announcement via Twitter prior to Saturday’s game against the Edmonton Oil Kings.
“He definitely made a positive impression on the coaching staff and myself,” said Kootenay Ice general manager Jeff Chynoweth Monday afternoon. “We looked at it and thought, he’s won a Royal Bank Cup with Yorkton. This is something we should seriously look at.”
Lishchynsky was called up by the Ice as an affiliate player (AP) Dec. 27 after starting the season with the Flin Flon Bombers of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL). As an AP, Lishchynsky was limited to playing five games with the Ice. With the removal of his AP tag, Lishchynsky is here to stay.
The 20-year-old native of Saskatoon registered five goals and 18 points in 29 games this season with the Bombers, and also brings big-game experience having won the Canalta Cup (SJHL championship) and RBC Cup (Canadian Jr. A championship) with the Yorkton Terriers in 2013-14.
On top of his extensive Junior-A track record, Lishchynsky — who turned 20 on Monday — brings 78 games of prior WHL experience, all with the Prince George Cougars (2012-14). In parts of two seasons with the Cougars, the 6-foot-1 defenceman tallied three goals and five points.
Since joining the Ice, the 185-pound rearguard has chalked up two assists in five games.
With Lishchynsky in the fold, the Ice are carrying seven healthy defencemen, including Rinat Valiev, who will return from Team Russia and the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship in time to suit up Friday when the Red Deer Rebels visit Cranbrook. Dylan Overdyk, who missed 15 games due to a concussion suffered Nov. 21 against Lethbridge, returned to action Friday, Jan. 2 in Red Deer.
The lone blue-liner out of action is Tanner Faith. The Minnesota Wild prospect, who only suited up in 10 games last season due to an upper-body injury, has likely seen his 2014-15 WHL campaign come to an end after sustaining an upper-body injury Dec. 6 in Spokane. Faith has only suited up in 19 games for the Ice so far this season.
With Faith out of commission, Lishchynsky is one of three active 1995-born defencemen on the Kootenay Ice roster, including Tyler King and Valiev.
“He’s been a very consistent player for us,” Kootenay Ice head coach Ryan McGill said of Lishchynsky. “It helps those young guys that shouldn’t be playing as much as they are. Hopefully he can continue with his strong play.”
Even including Faith, Lishchynsky still represents the oldest blue-liner on the club. Bryan Allbee, Troy Murray and Dylan Overdyk are all 17 years old, while Cale Fleury, 16, represents the youngest of the crew.
Lishchynsky was originally selected by the Vancouver Giants in the 2010 WHL Bantam Draft (10th round, 211th overall).
Next action for the Kootenay Ice (21-18-0-1) comes Friday, Jan. 9, when they welcome the Red Deer Rebels (21-14-3-2) to Western Financial Place.