Kayde Kinaschuk of the Columbia Valley Rockies, Hayden Stocks of the Beaver Valley Nitehawks, Jacob Biensch of the Chase Heat and Jack Henderson of the Osoyoos Coyotes were named the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League Top Scorer divisional award winners.
Henderson – Bill Ohlhausen Division – Henderson, the KIJHL points champion with 65 points in 40 games for the Osoyoos Coyotes, said he “couldn’t have done it without my linemates and Head Coach Carter Rigby putting me in positions to get points on the power-play and just playing me all the time.”
Henderson closed out the regular season on a 23-game point streak in which he put up 21 goals and 36 points.
“I’ve never done that before. It was just nice to be consistent and obviously playing on the best team in the league helps as well,” he said.
Consistency was the key for the Quesnel native who only went three games without getting a point.
“I feel like I’ve always been an offensive player,” he said. “It’s something I have always taken pride in and just putting up numbers and contributing in that way. I think just this year, I came in as an older guy, I had a relationship with Carter, coming into the season already. He thrusted me. Just from day one he pretty much said ‘You’re going to be the guy every time we want to score. We will give you the opportunity to do it. I found a way to do it. It was just confidence and Carter having faith in me.”
Kinaschuk – Eddie Mountain Division – “It’s a pretty big honour and I’m definitely proud of it. I couldn’t have done it without my teammates and my coaches and everyone supporting me.”
In his first season in the league, Kinaschuk finished second in points with 33 goals and 54 points in 39 games, which led the Columbia Valley Rockies. Kinaschuk, who recently signed with the Manitoba Junior Hockey League Neepawa Titans, said it took him about a month to get used to the league, his teammates and build confidence. Scoring has always been his strong suit.
Kinaschuk said the skills he improved were “his patience and trust in my linemates and using my linemates and getting open.”
“There are a lot of good players in this division,” said Kinaschuk.
Biensch – Doug Birks Division – “It felt pretty good to get rewarded this year, especially after last year,” he said. “All the credit is due to my teammates, I couldn’t have done it without them. Pucks are going into the net pretty easy when they are giving it to me, and setting me up and I’m setting them up.”
The Marsden, Saskatchewan product finished third in the league in points with 26 goals and 27 assists for 53 points in 37 games for the Chase Heat. His 1.43 points per game average was third best in the league among active players.
Biensch credited the fact he was given a bigger role this season and more ice time. On the power-play, playing with Matthew Poole and Mikkel Hrechka helped too.
Improvement for the 5-11, 170-pound forward came from being one of the few veterans on the team, having a top-line role and that gave him a confidence boost.
“You’re not afraid to make mistakes and you still try to make the same plays after you make a mistake and that was a big thing,” he said.
Stocks – Neil Murdoch Division – “It was really exciting,” he said of the award. “It’s nice to get recognized for helping my team out in the regular season and getting us a good spot in the standings.”
Stocks scored 20 goals and added 25 assists for 45 points in 42 games for the Beaver Valley Nitehawks, which ranked him ninth in the league and fourth among rookies.
“It was probably the best season of my life. It was really cool,” he said. “I had some good teammates to help me out.”
Stocks got off to a hot start then experienced a short cooldown, but based on his start, he knew what it took to produce. As his confidence grew, he knew he needed to find a level of consistency to help keep producing.
It was exciting for him to contribute and “to be a guy that the coach will put out when you are down one. Or when you need a goal in the last couple minutes of a game.”