Ten years after…the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League awarded a franchise to Chase, we have arrived at a significant milestone in local hockey history.
With an unexpected pandemic crushing normal life as we all know it, junior hockey has returned with a myriad of rules and protocols to keep everyone involved safe. While the fans and the majority of volunteers can’t attend the Art Holding Memorial Arena, they can catch all the action on www.hockeytv.com.
The early theme for this season’s roster has to be “New Parts – Fresh Start!”. After opening weekend there are 5 returning vets hitting the ice. All of them are Assistant Captains; Rhys Lepine, Marino Bordin, Trevor Kennedy, Cameron McKenzie and Jacob Biensch . A wholesale change is an inadequate way to describe the turnover. Through serious recruiting, aging out of junior hockey, trades, advancing to Junior A and lastly deciding to sit out this season, the team in their flashy 10thAnniversary jerseys is a new model to be watched!
Opening weekend found the new crew “cohorting” with the Kamloops STORM and North Okanagan KNIGHTS. The KIJHL with direction from Viasport and BC Hockey have divided the teams into Cohorts. For the next 6 weeks Kamloops, Armstrong and Chase are going to see a lot of each other. Then the cohorts change twice more during the 30 game regular season. Confused yet…best to just let it play out and watch your team on computer or TV. It’s guaranteed to be interesting as you watch safely from home.
In keeping with the uncertain times the first games were played on Friday the 13th! Things were just fine on that evening in spite of testing superstition. The HEAT slipped and slid to Mac Park in Kamloops to face the also heavily adjusted roster of the STORM. On Olympic size ice there was plenty of flash and dash as both crews wanted a win. In the 1st period Chase earned the initial tally, Jared Sigouin finishing off a bisquit in the basket from old-timers Cameron McKenzie and Jacob Biensch. In the 2nd Trevor Kennedy scored after help from new-comers Rory Christie-Hoyle and Noah Schindel. The 3rd saw the tables turn as Kamloops pocketed a pair, and the foes were off to overtime to settle the score. With 2:36 gone the Loops lads earned victory on a 3 on 1 rush. The HEAT earned a valuable point for the tie score in regulation. Kiev Kineshanko denied 32 of 35 shots he faced between the pipes.
On the 14th of November back in the fanless but comfy confines of the local “Chaos Castle” the locals hosted the North Okanagan KNIGHTS. This entertaining 60 minute contest was 90 percent offensive with a small effort at defence. Back and forth they went, Knights got on the board first, then meandering Max Goldade popped in his first from Biensch. North Ok got the lead back before Garrett Martin tied the match assisted by Brandt Grimeau and Marino Bordin. Knights added another to make it 3-2 after 20 minutes. In the 2nd McKenzie in his 100th KIJHL game popped in a pair, the first one from Biensch and the second from Schindel and Aiden Brown. The visitors tallied to even things up at 4-4. In the final stanza North Okanagan gained the lead, but the tables once again turned and Chase scored 3 times to put this one away. Brown from Grimeau and Bryan Fraser, Biench from Christie-Hoyle and Kennedy on the powerplay and finally an empty netter from Kennedy aided and abetted by Biensch and Sigouin. Kineshanko outdueled his visiting counterpart stopping 32 of 37 shots.
Next weekend the HEAT travel to Armstrong on Friday the 20th to face the KNIGHTS, and then welcome a gathering STORM on Saturday the 21st at the Art Holding Memorial Arena. While we won’t see you at the rink you can catch the action at www.hockeytv.com.
Broken sticks and missed hip checks: Head Coach Brad Fox is back for his 10th season with the HEAT. Supporting him along the way are Cody Inkster and Kolten Moore. Fred Bott is the new play by play voice as “Jumping Jack Flash” Whitney and “Chiliarena” Koch are semi-retired.
Aiden Brown arrived by late trade from the Kimberley Dynamiters and has made an immediate impact. The powerplay arrived late in the 3rd period of Game 2, the puck movement kept us on the edge of the old rec room sofa.
Gavin Mattey and Matthew Poole appear to be staying with the SJHL Junior A La Ronge ICE WOLVES.
Carden Alec is the only local product on the team, however Marino and Matteo Bordin live in the bedroom community of Sorrento. Does that make them local?