Forward Max Patterson (#19

Forward Max Patterson (#19

Prospects show promise on opening day of Kootenay Ice training camp

Plenty of potential on display at Western Financial Place as Kootenay Ice prepare for influx of youth

With substantial roster turnover coming to the Kootenay Ice this season, Monday’s prospect sessions may have been the most important scrimmages this team has seen in years.

The Kootenay Ice opened training camp Monday at Western Financial Place with a pair of prospect games sandwiched around a veterans-only skate to set the stage for the remainder of the week.

With the likes of Tim Bozon, Sam Reinhart and Rinat Valiev turning pro and a sizeable handful of 1995-born players left battling for three coveted overage roster spots, there’s plenty of space for new faces in the Kootenay Ice dressing room this coming season.

“When you lose a lot of guys like we’re going to lose, it’s always tough,” said 19-year-old Luke Philp following the veterans practice Monday afternoon. “But other guys have got to jump in and step up. We’re going to have a way younger team this year than we did last year and years past.

“It gives some of the younger guys a good chance to come in and fill roles.”

Those younger guys Philp referred to hit the ice for the first time Monday morning in a prospect game that featured 41 players and saw a dominant Team Black beat up Team White by a 12-3 final score.

After a shuffling of the deck, the afternoon prospect game proved a much more competitive outing, with Team Black getting past Team White by a 6-4 margin.

“The first game, [the players] are nervous. They’re trying too hard and they’re afraid to make mistakes,” said Garnet Kazuik, director of scouting for the Kootenay Ice.

“The improvement in the second game was much better. They relaxed. They settled in. Overall, everybody was that much better.”

Forward Max Patterson, a fourth-round selection (77th overall) of the Kootenay Ice at the 2014 WHL Bantam Draft, jumped to the forefront as one standout through the pair of prospect sessions.

The Kamloops native, who doesn’t turn 16 until Dec. 27, showed a certain ninja-like presence as he pick-pocketed a few opponents, which on two occasions led to goals.

By the time the day had wrapped up, the 6-foot-3 forward had found the back of the net four times.

“It feels pretty good…It’s going to be a fun year, hopefully,” Patterson said following his two-goal effort at the morning prospect scrimmage.

Patterson is in his second year at Kootenay Ice camp, this being his first year of eligibility in the Western Hockey League.

The lanky winger spent the 2014-15 season with Okanagan Hockey Academy before getting a taste of the junior game with the Kamloops Storm of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League.

“It’s way faster,” Patterson said of the jump from midget to junior hockey. “You always have to be moving your feet, shooting the puck hard and always bearing down.”

While Patterson is looking at his first opportunity to break into the WHL, another Ice prospect is staring down his second chance at cracking the major junior ranks.

For Jared Legien, the 2014-15 season began in Cranbrook after he made the opening-day roster as a 16-year-old.

A first-round pick (ninth overall) at the 2013 WHL Bantam Draft, Legien went on to play at three different levels throughout the 2014-15 season.

“It feels great. It’s nice to be back in Cranbrook, it’s a nice place to play and hopefully it lasts longer this year,” Legien said Monday morning.

“It was great to be able to come up and play with the guys [in Cranbrook last season]. You learn a lot. It’s a huge jump from midget to the WHL. Playing a couple games last year made the transition a bit easier.”

The native of Pilot Butte, Sask., lasted 13 games with the Ice in 2014, registering one assist, before being sent back to his Midget ‘AAA’ team in Moose Jaw with a little bit of homework.

“Jared needs to work on some things — some little every day things,” Kazuik said. “We’ve talked to him about that over the last two years. We sent him home with some marching orders or work orders — some things he had to improve through the winter and it looks like he has done that, but at the same time, he’s still got some room for improvement.

“If he’s an honest player, if he competes every day, it’ll be fine. But if he doesn’t, he’s in the same boat as everybody else — it doesn’t go so well.”

In 29 games with the Moose Jaw Generals, the 6-foot-1 left-winger tallied 10 goals and 19 points.

On top of that, he snuck into one contest with the Yorkton Terriers of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League, making for a well-rounded set of experience in his 16-year-old campaign.

With the roster turnover about to set in, there’s never been a better opportunity for the former first-round pick to hunt down and hold on to a roster spot in Cranbrook.

“I think it was good to be able to play at every level last year,” Legien said. “Obviously the Western League is, I think, the hardest league to play in. It’s the fastest and the strongest. Being able to play in those leagues, I figured out where I want to be. I think it helped me push myself this summer to get to where I want to be.

“With the turnover here, if I work hard, hopefully I can land a spot and just battle, just never give up.”

Camp wears on Tuesday at Western Financial Place with the prospects and veterans thrown into the ring together for the first time this year.

The day breaks down into five separate ice times, with scrimmages taking place at 9 a.m., 11 a.m., 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Wedged between the scrimmage sessions is a goaltender-specific ice time at 1 p.m.

Notes: Skating at veterans practice Monday were alumni F Adam Cracknell and G Nathan Lieuwen, in addition to D Rinat Valiev.

Just Posted

The latest EKASS survey confirms a steady decline in substance use among EK youth over the years. (image compilation via Pixabay)
Latest survey shows steady decline in adolescent substance use over the years

Starting in 2002, the survey has been conducted every two years to monitor changes in substance use patterns, attitudes and behaviors amongst East Kootenay youth.

The Aquatic Centre at Western Financial Place.
Cranbrook Aquatic Center to close temporarily

The annual shutdown of the Aquatic Center at Western Financial Place will begin earlier than scheduled this year and does not have a defined end date at this time.

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

1914
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

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

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

Most Read