Friday, May 20, 2011

Wiest to Lethbridge

Enchant, Alberta's Mike Wiest is the latest graduating Rebel to find somewhere to play next season. He'll wear the blue and gold of the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns in 2011-12. Great news for a guy who suffered an unfortunate injury in Castlegar's playoff run last season, but remained a big part of the team from the sidelines. Castlegar certainly could have used his 63 regular-season points in their march to the league finals.

Wiest was no stranger to rinks across the KIJHL, having spent time in Beaver Valley and Fernie before being acquired by the Rebels last December in the Andrew Walton trade.

One of the things Wiest said in an interview I did with him yesterday was how nice it will be for him to play in front of family and friends after effectively spending his whole junior career away from home. To hear our conversation, click here.

Wiest becomes the fifth member of the 2010-11 Rebels to move on to college/university hockey, joining forwards Ryan Aynsley, Anthony DeLong and Erik Wentzel as well as defenseman Ryan Reid.

Congrats Mike!

AGM: Castlegar will hold their Annual General Meeting Tuesday night at the Complex, at 7:00 PM. Unfortunately, my duties at the radio station will preclude me from attending, but expect at least some of the juicy details as next week progresses.

Bits & Bites:
Creston Valley defenceman Skylar Pacheco has committed to the BCHL's Prince George Spruce Kings for 2011-12. The young d-man put up 17 points in his 16 year-old season in the KIJHL, and represented the Kootenay Conference in the Prospects Game in Fernie.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Junker Talks Recruiting

I chatted yesterday with Rebels bench boss Steve Junker about the DHI Prospects Showcase held last weekend in Nelson, it sounds as though recruiting for the 2011-12 season is well underway on many fronts. To take a listen, click here.

Bits & Bites: Creston Valley will see head coach Joe Martin back behind the bench for the next two years, as first reported by the Creston Valley Advance earlier this week. The T-Cats came ever so close to knocking off the Fernie Ghostriders in Round Two of last season's KIJHL playoffs. The USHL Draft was held yesterday, and Penticton Lakers defenseman Zach Urban went 35th overall (3rd round) to the Fargo Force. Victoria (BCHL) announced today they will have centre C.J. Lillies on their roster next season, the 16 year-old split time with Osoyoos and Princeton last year.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Prospects Camp, New GF President

Junior-aged players from as far away as Edmonton and Prince Rupert are set to descend on Nelson this weekend for the first West Kootenay edition of the DHI Prospect Showcase camp.

The Rebels are expected to be among the local teams involved in this weekend's events and have been advertising the camp on the team website as part of their 2011-12 recruiting process.

I chatted with Princeton Posse head coach Dale Hladun, who has been running similar camps in Prince George since 2007, earlier this week. To listen to that interview, click here.

I found it interesting that Hladun made reference to the fact that there will be 20 year-olds at the camp, due to the presence of SJHL, MJHL and college coaches and scouts in Nelson this weekend. Usually a prospects camp is meant to identify the younger players in the junior hockey system, but he told me his goal is to get kids of all ages playing at the highest possible level.

New Bruins President: After Michael Wirischagin stepped down earlier this week, the Border Bruins have named Ward Faust the new team president. In chatting with Faust, it seems as though the Bruins are hoping the new blood off-ice will translate into a rebirth of the team on the ice and in the community. To listen to my conversation with him, click here.

Winds of Change: My friend and colleague Jon Zacks has, unfortunately, been laid off as sports director at Mountain FM due to some tough economic times in our industry. It's a real shame, as Jonny did a heck of a job with the Trail Smoke Eaters (and Rebels) last season and was a pleasure to work with (read his take on the situation here). That means, though, that my position will now involve a lot more sports reporting than was usually the case, so in the coming months this blog may transform from having a strict focus on the Rebels to having more of a West Kootenay/Boundary flavour, though I don't expect anything to change regarding my volunteer positions with Castlegar. If you, the reader, have any suggestions on what you'd like to see, don't hestitate to drop me a line at

Bits & Bites: A bit late on this one, but Beaver Valley's Colton Donselaar has committed to SAIT for the 2011-12 season. Last year's Nitehawks captain spent four years in Fruitvale and was the club's only 20 year-old. Nanaimo (BCHL) has received commitments from a pair of KIJHLers, Shawn Holliday (North Okanagan) and Colton Dahlen (Revelstoke). Holliday had 77 points in two seasons as a Knight, while Dahlen put up 21 points in his rookie year with Revelstoke in 2010-11.