The Kootenay International Junior Hockey League 2021-22 season begins Oct. 1. Leading into the season we are providing previews on each of the teams.
Next up are the Beaver Valley Nitehawks in the Neil Murdoch Division. Like the Wranglers, the Nitehawks opted out of playing in the 2020-21 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Key Returnees: G- Kevin Engman, D- Brennan Wilson, Jarred Macasso and Jesse Ihas, Kaleb Percival, F- Ethan Jang.
Engman, 20, is a Trail product, who went 12-3-0 in 2019-20 for the Nitehawks. Wilson, 19, was with the Steam last season and played 10 games in the BCHL Pod with the Penticton Vees. Ihas, 19, a Fruitvale product, has seven points in 27 games for the Nitehawks in 2019-20. Percival, 18, a Nelson product, played nine games for the Nitehawks in 2019-20.
“They know how things roll and I’m excited to have them back. We’re fortunate to have a few guys that know the culture and what we’re trying to accomplish as a team,” says Nitehawks Head Coach Terry Jones. “We’re pretty much forced to start from scratch.”
Rookies to Watch: F- Judah Makway, Ollie Clement, Hayden Stocks, Hunter Burgeson, G-Owen Albers.
Makway – West Kootenay U18AA – “Judah has been from day one – he is a bigger player who moves really well and is really hard to play against.
Clement – West Kootenay U18AA – “Ollie has just been the hardest working guy every day as we started camp and deserves to be here.
Burgeson – Airdrie CFR Bisons – “He’s a guy who really moves well. I think he is going to have a great year for us.”
Albers – NWCAA Bruins A18AA – “He has had a really good training camp. I really look forward to what he is going to bring to our team.”
Season outlook: “We just want to work on being a good team, playing for each other and playing the right way. Once we get to those things, we’ll start to be a team to be reckoned with. Expectations are low to start and we will gradually build.”
Coach’s quote: “I’m really excited about the fact that we have a bunch of young players that are keen and eager to play and learn. That’s a great way to be. We’re really green. We’ve got a lot of local players. We have a lot of learning to do. If our guys continue to work hard, and believe in each other, and come to the rink every day, I really feel like we have a tremendous opportunity to grow as a team.”