For the 2021/22 season, the Creston Valley Thunder Cats are returning to the ice with “a really special group of players”.
“They take their game seriously, work hard, and are all very emotionally invested,” said head coach Bill Rotheisler.
“This is a product of many architects with former coaches influencing many aspects of this roster. What stands out is their ability to stay driven through everything.”
Last year, the Thunder Cats were shut out with three losses before the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League closed down games due to the pandemic.
“We will have to work hard to score goals, but we have a full line-up of players that can play and outlast other clubs,” said Rotheisler.
“It takes mental strength to be able to play a game like this, which we believe our guys are more than capable of doing.”
There are 17 returnees this year, including:
• Team captain Vin Jackson, Corbin Cockerill, Hassan Himour, Reece Nelson, Liam Hennessy, Clayton Brown, and Blake Hiltermann.
Leaders last season included:
• Eric Van Loon led with two goals last season.
• Reece Nelson and Clayton Brown tied with two points each.
Rookies to Watch:
According to the coach, here is a list of skilled players to keep an eye on:
• Ethan Boutcher – Grande Prairie Storm U18 AAA – “As he physically matures, his game will transition exceptionally well to the junior level. His natural hockey IQ and skillset make him a very unique player and at the top of our recruiting hit list last season,” said Rotheisler.
• Ben Narowski – Calgary NW Flames U18 AAA – “He’s a smart player who makes good exit plays, he is also a physical presence and all-around first-class player.”
• Adam Redding – West Coast Renegades USPHL U18 Prep – “Adam carries himself and plays like a pro. Redding is skilled and understands and maximizes the skills he has and is very coachable. Adam came recommended by many much higher level coaches and scouts as a potential target. He plays a simple and smart game.”
• Denon Bamber – Grande Prairie Storm U18 AAA – “Denon was somebody we have liked for a long time. He is a good two-way player, is extremely coachable, and fits our systems and culture exceptionally well.”
• Nikolai Morrison – SSAC U18 AA – “Nikolai was one of our big surprises in camp and is a reminder of why we have a camp season. A relative unknown, he quickly won the group over with his willingness to really be the ultimate team player. He is skilled and works exceptionally hard, and is versatile, and can fill pretty much any hole in the line-up. He can make plays at a high pace.”
• Evan Leggett – Thompson Blazers U16 AAA – “Leggett has an incredible amount of potential. His technical game is refined more than almost any goaltender his age, 16. As he continues to develop under (Goaltender Coach) Matthew Armitage and veterans Laser-Hume and Carlos Siso, we feel Leggett has the potential to be a top-end goaltender.”