It seems like so long ago that we were talking about an entertaining Game 7 vs the North Okanagan Knights that left a sour taste in the mouths of the Summerland Steam. In actuality it was only just over 4 months ago, but in the past 142 days the Summerland Steam Junior Hockey Club has been hard at work beginning preparations for the 2014/15 KIJHL season. The goal is always to be better year over year, but this season they have a division title to defend.
The 2014/15 season kicks off for the Steam with their home opener on Friday, September 12th vs the division rival Kelowna Chiefs. These are the same Chiefs whom the Steam overtook on the last weekend of the 2013/14 Season to take home the Okanagan Division crown that they will now begin defense of. With a few players moving on to life after hockey and a few moving on to the next level, the Summerland Steam took their first steps to shaping their 2014/15 roster on Friday.
The Steam started the day by announcing the arrival of Assistant Coach Wade Parker to the organization. Parker is a local product who has a background in coaching at the minor hockey level as well as with Elite U-16 programs in BC. Alongside Head Coach John Depourcq and Assistant Coach/GM Gregg Wilson, Parker will look to provide a steady voice and superior hockey knowledge to the young men who don the red and black.
The Steam also announced on Friday the signings of 5 players for the 2014/15 season. All 5 players played in elite level midget programs last season, 2 being from the Provincial Champion Kelowna Midget T1 Rockets in Cole Williams and Braden Eliuk.
Williams is regarded as a solid 2 way defenseman who plays a big, strong, defensively responsible game while also being able to jump the rush at any given moment. With a heavy shot from the blue line and a good hockey IQ, Williams will be a welcome addition to the Steam blue line for the upcoming season.
Eliuk is billed as an offensively gifted young man with exceptional playmaking ability and a deadly release of his shot. In 48GP in Tier 1 Midget last season, Eliuk was the Rockets top scorer tallying 46 Goals and 38 Assists while maintaining a +42 +/- on the road to a Provincial Championship.
Both Williams and Eliuk come highly regarded out of the Kelowna Midget T1 program as very talented hockey players as well as great teammates.
In addition to those two signings, the Steam have also signed '96 born Forward Wyatt Gale and '96 born Forward Jarrett Malchow out of Whitehorse in the Yukon Territory. In 27 Games last season with the NAMHL's Midget AA Flyers, Malchow collected 10 goals and 21 assists for 31 points, while Gale contributed 17 Goals and 22 Assists in 32 GP.
To compliment these 4 players, the Steam have also signed '97 born Goaltender Alex Kong from the Burnaby Winter Club. Will update with stats when they are obtained.
All 5 of these young men will be welcome additions to a team looking to defend their Okanagan Division title during the 2014/15 KIJHL Season.