Roster set as Ice make final releases

Defenceman Kyle Krabben and import Petr Vesely round out the final cuts.

Kootenay Ice prospects can breathe a sigh of relief.

The roster has been set.

The Kootenay Ice made their final releases on Monday, jettisoning defenceman Kyle Krabben to a team yet to be determined, while Czech import Petr Vesely will head back to Europe.

The roster is now complete, with three 20-year-olds, three 19-year-olds, six 18-year-olds, eight 17-year-olds and two 16-year-olds.

The club has 12 forwards, eight defencemen and two goaltenders, which include 15 returning veterans, six new rookies and one import.

“It’s been competitive with a competitive training camp and continued right into the exhibition season and the regular season and there were a lot of tough decisions,” said Ice general manager Jeff Chynoweth. “You want that, you don’t want easy decisions and now we’re down to the 22 that we’re going to carry, barring any trades, injuries or suspensions, but we’re excited to see how this group grows.”

Newcomers include goaltender Wyatt Hoflin, defencemen Matthew Thomas and Tanner Faith, while Collin Shirley, Kyle O’Connor and Luke Philp complement the forward ranks along with import Jakub Prochazka.

Philp was a late cut from the team last year, but got in 17 games to cover injuries, while Thomas, an undrafted and unlisted player who came to camp on invite, cracked the roster.

Vesely, who was selected 29th overall in the CHL Import Draft last June, was released and will return to the Czech Republic.

Chynoweth relies on word-of-mouth from scouts when making selections in the import draft and said Vesely didn’t quite fit into the WHL level of play.

“[When] you participate in the CHL Import Draft, you’re relying on other people, you haven’t seen the player yourself play—that’s the chance you take and unfortunately, Petr just wasn’t the player we expected to get,” Chynoweth said.

Prochazka, who Chynoweth selected 59th overall after trading for Tri-City’s first-round import pick, made the cut and will add some European flavour to the roster.