Ice rookie Eli Lieffers (#26) skates alongside Warriors forward Noah Gregor (#22) Friday night. Lieffers

Young Lieffers debuts for Kootenay Ice

15-year-old forward sees first Western Hockey League action after weekend recall

Eli Lieffers was sitting in math class back at home in Saskatoon when his phone rang.

On most occasions, it isn’t advisable for a 15-year-old kid to answer his cell phone during school, but Wednesday morning, the Kootenay Ice prospect took a chance.

And boy, was he glad he picked up that phone.

“I was nervous — I felt sick to my stomach,” Lieffers said, remembering Wednesday’s phone call requesting his services in Cranbrook, following Friday’s 2-1 win over the Moose Jaw Warriors. “But I knew if I come out here and I work hard and do what I can do, it will be okay.”

Work is exactly what he did as he made his Western Hockey League debut Friday night.

Stepping onto the ice surface at Western Financial Place, the fourth-round pick of the Kootenay Ice couldn’t help but reminisce on growing up watching his hometown Saskatoon Blades.

“I always used to go watch Blades games,” Lieffers said. “It was kind of weird to be in a different role, instead of watching [WHL] games, playing in the game. It was a good experience for me.”

For a 15-year-old to make his WHL debut, there needs to be pretty extenuating circumstance and faced without six regular skaters Friday night, Luke Pierce found himself scrounging for healthy bodies.

While the 6-foot-2, 155-pound Lieffers might have some maturing to do, Pierce sees plenty of upside in his game.

“After his first two shifts, there really wasn’t much to tell him,” Pierce said Friday. “He’s a smart kid. He gets it.

“I was impressed with how he played.”

After his debut Friday, Lieffers suited up for his second night of action Saturday against the Swift Current Broncos — another 2-1 victory for his Kootenay Ice.

“It was a good experience just to be on the bench and feel the atmosphere of the players,” Lieffers said. “It was a lot of fun.”

A fourth-round pick (78th overall) of the Ice at the 2015 WHL Bantam Draft, Lieffers skated at his first  WHL training camp this fall, getting into one exhibition game wit the Ice before returning to the Saskatoon Contacts of the Saskatchewan Midget ‘AAA’ Hockey League.

In 16 games since then, Lieffers has posted two goals and three points. With this weekend’s two-game WHL recall, he now has a better taste for where he needs to get to if he wants to be a full-time member of the Kootenay Ice when he is eligible come the 2016-17 season.

“I’m just very fortunate that the coaches and management gave me the opportunity to play in this game,” Lieffers said. “I’m just happy to be here.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

test tube with the blood test is on the table next to the documents. Positive test for coronavirus covid-19. The concept of fighting a dangerous Chinese disease.
Interior Health records third COVID-19 death

A new community outbreak was reported at Okanagan Men’s Centre in Lake Country

NAV CANDA is considering closing its station at the West Kootenay Regional Airport. Photo: Betsy Kline
Nav Canada considering closing station at West Kootenay Regional Airport

The organization is conducting a service review at Castlegar’s airport

Wreaths are placed on the cenotaph in Rotary Park during the 2019 Remembrance Day ceremony. There will be no formal ceremony held in Rotary Park this year due to COVID-19, however personal displays of remembrance are encouraged. Wreaths are available for purchase through the Poppy Campaign. (Cranbrook Townsman file)
Remembrance Day different, but not forgotten, says Cranbrook Legion

The Legion will not be hosting their traditional ceremony at the cenotaph this year

City council approved a zoning amendment to permit construction of a new apartment building.
Council approves zoning change for proposed apartment building

Cranbrook city council approved a rezoning application that would permit construction of… Continue reading

East Kootenay Regional Hospital in Cranbrook. Google maps photo
EKFH Starlite campaign to support youth mental health care centre

Together with the Ktunaxa Kinbasket Family and Child Services Society (KKFCSS), the… Continue reading

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count jumps by 287, another senior home outbreak

Two more deaths recorded, community outbreak in Okanagan

An untitled Emily Carr painting of Finlayson Point was donated to the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria by brothers Ian and Andrew Burchett. The painting had been in their family for several decades. (Courtesy of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria)
Never before seen painting by famed B.C. artist Emily Carr gifted to Victoria gallery

Painting among several donated to Art Gallery of Greater Victoria

The B.C. Centre for Disease control is telling people to keep an eye out for the poisonous death cap mushroom, which thrives in fall weather conditions. (Paul Kroeger/BCCDC)
Highly poisonous death cap mushroom discovered in Comox

This marks first discovery on Vancouver Island outside Greater Victoria area

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
Rescued bald eagle that came to life in B.C. man’s car had lead poisoning

Bird is on medication and recovering in rehab centre

Janet Austin, lieutenant governor of B.C., was presented with the first poppy of the Royal Canadian Legion’s 2020 Poppy Campaign on Wednesday. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
PHOTOS: B.C. Lieutenant Governor receives first poppy to kick off 2020 campaign

Janet Austin ‘honour and a privileged’ to receive the poppy

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Premier-elect John Horgan and cabinet ministers are sworn in for the first time at Government House in Victoria, July 18, 2017. (Arnold Lim/Black Press)
Pandemic payments have to wait for B.C. vote count, swearing-in

Small businesses advised to apply even if they don’t qualify

Every year, for the past three years, we have gone camping for Halloween weekend at HaHas Lake (pictured). This year we shall return for the last weekend of October. (Corey Bullock file)
Farm life: Another month come and gone

What I read, watched, listened to and made in October

Most Read