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

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.”

Just Posted

Students at Creston Valley Secondary School put together an art installation of a replica residential school room. (Photo by Kelsey Yates)
Creston students create art installation of residential school room

The replica was decorated with a small bed, school uniform, and notes written with pleas for help

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Second dose vaccinations accelerating throughout region: Interior Health

To date, more than 675,000 doses have been administered throughout the region

1914
It happened this week in 1914

June 13 - 19: Compiled by Dave Humphrey from the archived newspapers… Continue reading

Prince Charles Secondary School
School District 8 votes in favour of name change for Secondary School in Creston

In an act of reconciliation, a new name will be chosen for Prince Charles Secondary School

Kootenay-Columbia MP Rob Morrison. Photo courtesy Conservative Party of Canada.
MP Morrison appointed to parliamentary national security committee

Kootenay-Columbia parliamentarian one of five candidates appointed to national security committee

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

A Heffley Creek peacock caught not one - but two - lifts on a logging truck this month. (Photo submitted)
Heffley Creek-area peacock hops logging trucks in search of love

Peacock hitched two lifts in the past month

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the patients likely acquired the virus in the hospital

The first suspension bridge is the tallest in Canada, with a second suspension bridge just below it. The two are connected by a trail that’s just over 1 km. (Claire Palmer photo)
PHOTOS: The highest suspension bridges in Canada just opened in B.C.

The Skybridge in Golden allows visitors to take in views standing at 130 and 80 metres

BC Green Party leader and Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau introduced a petition to the provincial legislature on Thursday calling for the end of old-growth logging in the province. (File photo)
BC Green leader Furstenau introduces old-growth logging petition

Party calls for the end of old-growth logging as protests in Fairy Creek continue

B.C. Premier John Horgan leaves his office for a news conference in the legislature rose garden, June 3, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. premier roasted for office budget, taxing COVID-19 benefits

Youth addiction law that triggered election hasn’t appeared

A vial containing the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is shown at a vaccination site in Marcq en Baroeul, outside Lille, northern France, Saturday, March 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Michel Spingler
mRNA vaccines ‘preferred’ for all Canadians, including as 2nd dose after AstraZeneca: NACI

New recommendations prioritizes Pfizer, Moderna in almost all cases

Most Read