When Ryan Larsen was added to the KIJHL Top Prospects team late due to an injury/illness to another player, that gave the Kamloops Storm three players in the B.C. Hockey Conference Prospects Game, which started with Owen Aura and Jake Phillips-Watts.
Larsen ended up with a goal and two assists, including helping set up the winning goal in a 4-3 final against the PJHL Top Prospects. Storm GM Matt Kolle said firstly he was happy for his players and as an organization, it confirmed that they are meeting their goals and objectives.
“We sell it to people and take pride in the fact that we develop hockey players,” said Kolle, prior to the BCHC Prospects Game at the Sardis Sports Complex in Chilliwack. “We build hockey players and when it comes to an event like this, and we have three players, it confirms that we’re getting things right.”
Kolle hopes that with Aura, Phillips-Watts and Larsen representing the Storm in the BCHC Prospects game scouted by 15 BCHL teams, that it further supports that they have a program student-athletes will want to be part of if they want to be hockey players.
“It’s a hockey players’ playground,” says Kolle of Kamloops. “What we put into developing our players, we believe is at another level.”
Part of that includes having partnerships with three fitness facilities.
“We put a lot into what these players get for their development. I think the results show that what we put into it and what the players put into it has successful outcomes,” he said.
And the work they are doing is making it easier for the Storm to recruit players, especially considering where they were five years ago.
“We were begging players to play for us and were in tough financially. It has been a long haul,” Kolle says. “The program in place recruits for itself. People know the quality of the program and it’s become that much easier and the level of players that we do get, we will be in contention. Last year we had a really good squad and this year we really believe in our team and I wouldn’t think that we won’t be in the mix when the season comes to an end.”
This week’s KIJHL Notebook focuses on the KIJHL Top Prospects players and their experience over the two days at the BCHC Prospects Game in Chilliwack. As mentioned earlier, the KIJHL team defeated the PJHL 4-3. One common theme among the players is that they enjoyed getting to know each other and creating new friendships.