Welcome to Quick Shift, which provides a preview of each of the 20 Kootenay International Junior Hockey League teams, with insights from their respective general manager/head coach heading into the regular season. Next is the Columbia Valley Rockies in the Eddie Mountain division. The Rockies won their division for the first time in 19 years with a record of 31-9-2-2, then lost in the opening round of the KIJHL Teck Cup playoffs to Fernie. Rockies Head Coach-GM Tayler Sincennes answered questions about his team.
Did you have a good off-season of recruiting?
It was a good off-season of recruiting. There were some challenges with sudden coaching changes, but we have a lot of players in our camp that we are excited about. I’ve noticed improved talent from our recruiting year after year and I think the record speaks for itself with 30 and 31 wins in the two years I was an assistant coach. It’s players wanting to play in the KIJHL who are becoming better.
What do you like about the group of players returning who will play a big part on your team?
Our returning players are going to add an element of poise and calmness amongst a pretty young group. They will be led by Kobe Mason, Teo Fath, Kaelen Shelton, as well as Nate Glenn and Ellis McGeough, who we traded for.
Shelton is in his third year (41 points in 61 regular season games) and is very passionate and cares about the team. He wants nothing but the most success. Mason is in his second year (22 points in 30 games) and is a quiet leader who goes out and leads by example. Teammates follow his lead and it’s fun to watch. He’s very patient with the puck and plays the game the right way. Fath (20 points in 39 games) just goes out there and does it and expects guys to follow him. They will go out and do the job.
What were some key areas of success achieved last season that the organization wants to build on?
We won the Eddie Mountain Regular Season division title for the first time in 19 years and we would like to take that regular season success and build it into postseason success.