Creston Valley Thunder Cats rookies pave the way for progress

Rookie Corbin Cockerill is Creston’s leading rookie scorer; 12 points in 12 games for Ty Grisedale


The Creston Valley Thunder Cats’ record in the first 15 games of the 2019-2020 season was 9-3-0-3 — easy to see it’s better than the 5-8-0-2 start from the year before.

Although the wins have been fewer and farther between than what was seen at the beginning of the season, all it takes is a quick peek under the covers to see that this Thunder Cats team is much more than what its record says it is.

With 12 rookies on the roster, there are only five teams with more first-year players than Creston and three of them are below the Cats in the standings. Of the 14 other teams with the same amount or less first-year players, the Cats are ahead of five of them. What this means is that even though teams are allegedly supposed to perform better with more veterans and less rookies, Creston is working on proving that wrong.

As a whole, 38 of the 116 goals this team has scored – 32.7 per cent – have come from rookies. Taking that stat even farther, first-year players have scored the game-winning goal in eight of the Cats’ 15 wins this season.

The recruiting job done by head coach Nick Redding might be going unnoticed because of the team’s current record, but the underlying numbers shine a positive light toward where this team could be headed.

Corbin Cockerill is the team’s leading rookie scorer, with 10 goals and 23 points in 33 games. What’s more impressive than that are his four game-winning goals, which not only lead the team, but are good enough to be tied for sixth in the entire league.

Ty Grisdale started the season off with a bang, scoring in his first two games and putting up seven points in his first six. He cooled off towards the middle of the season but has quietly scored 12 points in his last 12 games, including a four-point night, a feat only one other person on the team has been able to do.

Impressive rookie numbers aren’t only reserved for skaters. In between the pipes, Riley O’Laney has been a steady force for the Cats, and is another case of the record (8-10-0) not entirely reflecting the impact a player is having. He’s one of only five rookie netminders who have played over 1,000 minutes this season, and has done so with the third-best goals-against-average. Furthermore, comparing first-year goalies with at least 15 games played, he’s given up the third-least goals despite facing the fifth-most shots.

The Kootenay International Junior Hockey League has such a high turnover with its players from year to year, because a player can age out after they hit 20, make the jump to Junior A or the WHL, or even just decide to head off to school. That makes finding a balance between new players that can compete in the league and veterans who know what it takes to win one of the most important and challenging aspects that every junior hockey team faces, and the Cats are no different.

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

Just Posted

Province looking at steps to dissolve Jumbo resort municipality

Disincorporating municipality will likely require a legislative change, according to the province

Changes to Kootenay Lake terminals underway

Progress is reported on new vessel, dredging, and terminal changes

Almost 20,000 parking tickets issued by Interior Health at hospitals in 2019

In 2018, pay parking in Interior Health hospitals totalled $5.3 million of their $2.2-billion budget

Over 7,600 birds in Creston Valley’s 2019 Christmas Bird Count

Over 60 volunteers participated by counting Creston Valley birds on Dec. 27

VIDEO: Mass coronavirus quarantines seen in China won’t happen in Canada, authorities say

‘If a case comes here, and it is probably … it will still be business as normal’

Province’s oldest practising lawyer shares advice at her 100th birthday party

Firefighters bring Constance Isherwood a cake with 100 birthday candles

Vernon woman suing McDonald’s for spilled coffee

Woman seeking nearly $10K, says employee failed to put lid on properly

Diners’ health tax not catching on in B.C., restaurant group says

Small businesses look for options to cover employer health tax

B.C. comic wins judgment after club owner slaps cellphone out of his hands

Incident happened last summer when Garrett Clark was performing in Abbotsford

Mayors call for ‘calmness’ as highway rockslide cuts Tofino, Ucluelet off from supplies

Ministry of transportation expects to open road for “essential travel only” from noon-8 p.m. Friday.

Owner surrenders dog suffering from days-old gunshot wound to B.C. SPCA

The dog was also found to be emaciated and suffering from a flea infestation

B.C. man dies after police called for ‘firearms injury’ in rural Alberta

Victim is 30-year-old Greater Victoria man, say police

Most Read