After bouncing between Junior A and the WHL’s Regina Pats

After bouncing between Junior A and the WHL’s Regina Pats

Versatility, simplicity name of game for Mortlock

Defenceman/forward hoping hard work earns him opportunity after coming to Kootenay Ice camp from Regina Pats

Nathyn Mortlock is hoping a versatile and simple approach to the game will give him a shot at cracking the Kootenay Ice.

The 19-year-old native of Medicine Hat, Alta., is plying his trade at Kootenay Ice training camp this week after spending part of last season with the Regina Pats.

Mortlock, who is listed as both a forward and defenceman, is hoping versatility and simplicity provide the key to a permanent place in the Western Hockey League.

“It’s always good for the coaching staff to have options,” Mortlock said after scrimmaging Wednesday morning at Western Financial Place. “If you can play every position, that looks better. I think it’s a little bit of an advantage being able to play both.”

While, Mortlock won’t be playing every position — goaltender is a little bit outside of his realm — he’s most comfortable on the blue-line and has spent training camp anchoring the right point.

Only four regular defencemen from last season’s contingent stand fair odds at returning to the Ice blue-line.

Rinat Valiev is expected to turn pro, while Tanner Faith and Tanner Lishchynsky, along with an injured Tyler King, represent a trio of 20-year-olds hoping to scrape out an overage spot.

An overage battle rages on with six players in competition — including goaltender Wyatt Hoflin and forwards Jon Martin and Luke Philp, not to mention the fact forward Jaedon Descheneau is still eligible to return from the St. Louis Blues.

With all that in mind, nothing is guaranteed for this year’s 20-year-old crew.

That leaves Troy Murray (1997), Cale Fleury (1998), Bryan Allbee (1997) and Dylan Overdyk (1997) the remaining veterans vying for ice time.

At the end of the day, a veteran presence like Mortlock might not be a bad thing should one of the 20-year-olds not stick.

The 6-foot-1, 183-pound Mortlock has 35 games of WHL experience, including 28 contests at the end of the 2014-15 campaign with the Regina Pats.

To top it off, he worked his way into eight playoff games with the Pats, and by all accounts, was reliable and serviceable.

“We made a pretty good playoff run [in Regina],” Mortlock said. “We lost to a pretty good team in Brandon, but other than that, I was pretty happy with the way I played.

“It is a good experience playing junior hockey. You learn a lot just being committed and working hard.”

Outside of his time in Regina, Mortlock spent 20 games with the Melville Millionaires of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League.

According to Jeff Chynoweth, president and general manager of the Kootenay Ice, Mortlock became available after he was released by the Pats following the 2015 WHL Bantam Draft.

This fall, the versatile junior veteran has his eye on a permanent place in the WHL after being invited to Cranbrook by Garnet Kazuik, director of scouting for the Ice.

“I’m just focusing on myself and playing the best that I can, showing the coaching staff what I can bring to the team,” Mortlock said. “I’m trying to just keep it simple and not do too much out there. Hopefully, if I play the way I do, I have a shot at making this team.”

Kootenay Ice training camp concludes Thursday at 6 p.m. with the annual United Way Intrasquad Game at Western Financial Place.

Notes: The WHL has announced it will be moving to a three-on-three, five-minute overtime period following any regulation tie during the 2015-16 season. The change was made from a five-minute, four-on-four overtime period in an effort to eliminate the number of shootout decisions. The change aligns with overtime rule changes made by the National Hockey League earlier this off-season.

Just Posted

Vendors and customers at one of the Cranbrook markets in 2020. (Corey Bullock/Cranbrook Townsman file)
Cranbrook Farmers Market updates operating hours for the summer

Markets will continue to run from 10a.m. to 1p.m. until October 30th

City council passed first reading of a text amendment to a downtown zoning bylaw that would permit the land use for a craft brewery. Photo courtesy City of Cranbrook.
Downtown zoning amendment allowing craft brewery passes first reading

An application is moving forward that will tweak a downtown zoning bylaw… Continue reading

City council deferred moving forward on a proposed development in Wildstone, requesting a meeting with the developer to get clarification on project details. Photo submitted.
Cranbrook city council debates proposed Wildstone development

Cranbrook city council held off on moving forward with a proposed apartment… Continue reading

Interior Health is reporting a COVID-19 exposure at Selkirk Secondary in Kimberley. Bulletin file.
COVID-19 case identified at Selkirk Secondary in Kimberley

Interior Health is conducting contact tracing

Cranbrook Arts will finally open the doors to their brand new gallery space on Friday, June 18th, 2021 at 4pm. To see what is behind these doors, be sure to check out the exhibit, Kootenay's Best, running until Labour Day weekend. (Cranbrook Arts file)
Cranbrook Arts’ inaugural exhibit, Kootenay’s Best, opens this Friday

The exhibit features over 50 Kootenay-based artists and will run until Labour Day Weekend

The border crossing on Highway 11 in Abbotsford heading south (file)
VIDEO: Western premiers call for clarity, timelines on international travel, reopening rules

Trudeau has called Thursday meeting, premiers say they expect to leave that meeting with a plan

St. Joseph's Mission site is located about six kilometres from Williams Lake First Nation. (Photo submitted)
Williams Lake First Nation to search residential school site for unmarked graves

St. Joseph’s Mission Indian Residential School operated from 1886 to 1981

Tuesday’s Lotto Max draw went unclaimed. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Tuesday’s Lotto Max draw went unclaimed. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lotto Max jackpot goes unclaimed again

42 of the 64 Maxmillion prizes of $1 million were won, the majority were sold in Ontario

FILE - This July 6, 2017 file photo shows prescription drugs in a glass flask at the state crime lab in Taylorsville, Utah. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)
Contaminants in generic drugs may cause long-term harm to DNA: B.C. researcher

Scientist says findings suggest high volume overseas facilities require strict regulation

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., on April 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Labour shortages, closed borders major obstacles to B.C. restaurant, tourism restarts

Industry expert says it won’t start to recover until international travellers can visit

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

(pixabay file shot)
B.C. ombudsperson labels youth confinement in jail ‘unsafe,’ calls for changes

Review states a maximum of 22 hours for youth, aged 12 from to 17, to be placed in solitary

Grace (left), a caribou that was born in a maternal pen north of Revelstoke, is alive and well said the province. It appears she even has a calf. Maternity pens aim to increase caribou calf survival by protecting them from predation until they are older and less vulnerable. (Contributed)
For the first time in years, caribou numbers increasing near Revelstoke

North herd growing but south herd still concerning

Most Read