The Kootenay International Junior Hockey League has an exciting new wave of rookie talent entering the 2022-23 season. We will highlight those players from each team.
Next in the New Wave series are the Columbia Valley Rockies. The Rockies finished second in the Eddie Mountain division with 30 wins in 42 games. They qualified for the KIJHL Teck Cup playoffs, advancing to the second round losing to Kimberley.
Here’s a look at their new wave of rookies with insight from Head Coach & GM Emery Olauson.
Goalie, Maine Nordiques U18 program
McDevitt won 11 of the 16 games he played in last season, and also played two games in the North American Hockey League. He also played two games in the USHL as a 16-year-old.
“He comes highly recommended out of U.S.A. Hockey. Ewan has just always missed that opportunity to play full-time. Now at 18, Ewan is looking to really establish himself and have a great season.”
He is very close to being able to play at the Junior A level and when he’s in goal, everyone plays more comfortably as he is very controlled in his play and positionally sound.
“He is very athletic at 6-2, 185-pounds and is flexible and has been well coached. He plays the puck well, there is nothing glaring in his game that I would say is holding him back. It’s really just getting a chance to run out some starts and get himself into a groove.”
Forward, NWCAA Stamps U18AA
Ingram racked up 56 points in 27 games last season and Olauson said he is one of the more dynamic forwards he has seen at the junior level.
“His skating ability impresses me the most, if you take the fact he has an absolute pro level shot and release. We’re pretty excited about Keenan and it’s polishing him up and playing a consistent two-way game. If the kid gets scoring chances, the puck is going to find the back of the net and we’re pretty excited that he’s here. I’m honestly shocked that he’s not playing Junior A right now.”
Forward, Calgary Northstars U18AAA
Mason produced 25 points in 38 games last season. Olauson coached his older brother Trey in Grand Forks. At 6-2, 180-pounds, he can get to the net.
“He can get around pretty good. He is another shooter and we’re pretty excited about him and with him in our lineup we get more dynamic.”
|Lucas De La Salle
Forward, CAC U18AAA
De La Salle had 23 points in 38 games last season.
“He’s really motivated to be on a team with a chance to win. He’s another one of those guys with a lot of intangibles. When our forward group was being created, what we saw was probably a need for a guy that can win a lot of pucks, battles on the wall, has vision off the wall and competes hard in the defensive zone. Lucas checks all those boxes. He was a late cut from the Weyburn Red Wings.”
Defence, Northstars U18AAA
Hamilton put up nine points in 38 games last season. He was one of the top defenceman on the North Stars team.
“He is a very dynamic defenceman. He is a gifted puck-mover that plays a 200-foot game. I think Lucas was a huge pickup for us. He was one of the last cuts from the Kindersley Klippers camp. He has put up points and we expect him to come in and even though he is a first-year player, provide us with some stability on the back end.”
Defence, Thompson Blazers U18AAA
Cormier had 13 points in 36 games last season. He is physically developed at 6-2, 180-pounds with a nice skillset.
“He’s very smooth-skating and will play the right side and a two-way game. He will be counted on not only to defend in situations against other team’s top line, but we think he can provide quite a bit of offence. He would be a guy that I think will be playing in the KIJHL for one year or less and then play Junior A. He’s just a talented, well-rounded individual.”
Defence, Calgary NW Flames U18AAA
Girard had nine points in 34 games last season on a good Flames team. He recently converted to playing defence during Rockies camp.
“He’s a big body (6-4, 200-pounds) and a great skater. He covers a ton of ice and has a really good reach. What impressed me the most with Roan was just his skating ability. You add that to his size, there is just a lot of ice being covered. Offensively, having been a forward, he is really comfortable with the puck. We are really excited about what we think Roan can turn into as we feel he can be one of the elite defencemen in our league.”
Defence, Calgary NW Flames U18AAA
Hughes had five points in 25 games for the Flames and is a gifted offensive blueliner. His older brother played with the Rockies.
“Hughes has very good vision and has always put up points. He’s very competitive, smooth skating and I would say that the skill that sets Nick ahead of the other defenceman is his vision and his offensive ability.”
Defence, St. Albert Steel U18AA
Karran had 19 points in 31 games, but jumped out to Olauson because of his big frame (6-5) and is extremely hard working and gritty. He blocks a ton of shots. A late arrival to camp, he has been a pleasant surprise.
“He doesn’t move like he is six-foot-five. He is a mature skater and is very strong. He was one of the leaders on his AA team. He has persevered his way into our lineup through hard work, grit and determination.”
Defence, Prairie Hockey Academy CSSHL Prep
Franz produced 21 points in 34 games last season and joined the Rockies early this week. He was among the last cuts at the Weyburn Red Wings camp and is coming off a very productive season.
“He is very dynamic with good size at 6-2, 200-pounds. He has some offensive skills and is another defenceman who can get up and down the ice and competes hard and makes plays with the puck.”
Defence, IHA Prep CSSHL
Donohue had four points in 36 games last season. Donohue is a local product expected to add depth to the Rockies.
“He is a real hard-working kid and has strong skating ability. We’re excited that he’s added to our group. At 17, he does everything well and we feel like when given the opportunities to play, he will be able to compete with the best of them.”
Defence, Calgary Northstars U18AA
Aldridge produced more than a point-per-game with 24 in 17 games last season. He has the highest point total of any AA defenceman that the Rockies had at camp and brings a 6-3, 180-pound frame and is mobile.
“He has stick skills and vision with the puck and ability to get pucks through, so you know there is going to be some offensive skill there. When he has the puck on his stick, things happen and usually those things are good scoring chances. So far he has impressed us with his poise with the puck as well.”
Forward, Leduc Oil Kings U18 AAA
David had 11 points in 22 games last season and brings strong vision with a drive to compete hard on pucks.
“He plays a big game (at 5-8, 170-pounds) and what we like about him is anywhere you put him in the lineup, he’s competitive, he’s a good draw guy and we think he can move anywhere from the fourth line to the first line and contribute. He’s just a versatile two-way centreman that we think can turn into a very good player.”
Forward, Calgary Northstars U18AAA
Last season Fath produced 26 points in 38 games for the Northstars. He looked very good in Rockies camp and has a very good work ethic.
“He has good vision with good second efforts on pucks and possesses a pretty good shot. He works hard on the defensive end, back checks hard and battles for pucks.”
Forward, Wenatchee Wolves 18UAAA
Anselmo had 10 points in 26 games last season for the Wolves. Players that come out of the Wolves program have been taught the entire game and work out really hard. They are not allowed to let their foot off the gas.
“Bobby comes in and he does everything right. He blocks shots, he can win draws when put in the middle. He can battle pucks out on the blueline. He’s one of those guys that makes his teammates better. Makes practices better by his work ethic.
Forward, IHA Prep CSSHL
Devine put up 27 points in 35 games last season for IHA Prep. Devine was second on the Rockies in points in exhibition play.
“Carson is a very dynamic player, who is a speedy, plays two-way game and competes very hard on pucks. He has good vision and a very good shot. He gets the puck to the scoring area a lot and there is a lot to like about Carson. His compete level is what I like the most.”