When the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League meets the Pacific Junior Hockey League in the 2022 Prospects Game in Chilliwack, three players from the Neil Murdoch Division will be front and centre for scouts to assess.
Leafs defenceman Tyler Seminoff caught the eye of KIJHL head coach Dave Hnatiuk to represent the interior league against players mainly born in 2005 and 2006 from the PJHL.
The 18-year-old Seminoff, of Oliver, joins Chad Bates of and Ben Edwards of Grand Forks as players on the team from the Eddie Mountain Division.
“I get a lot of time on the penalty-kill, and I do whatever my team needs,” Seminoff explained.
“I’ve gotten a lot more physical, in this league there is more physicality and I feel like I’m definitely getting a little bit bigger, a little bit stronger.”
Bates, 18, is fourth on the Grand Forks Border Bruins with 15 points in 17 games. Of his nine goals, one is a game-winner.
The six-foot-two, 180-pound forward is on a four-game points streak with six points. He had a four-point performance against the Chase Heat on Oct. 21.
The Regina, Saskatchewan product says he’s had a great start to the season and the last few games have gone really well for him, getting a lot of momentum. He’s produced four goals and six points in four games.
“I’m a bigger body (six-foot-two, 180-pounds), I can get in front of the net. I think I’m pretty skilled for a bigger guy, winning puck battles and being a reliable player,” he said.
Bates has seen improvement in his physical play and forechecking.
“Coming from midget, it was a lot less physical, so the physical game was a big thing to get used to in this league,” he said.
Meanwhile, Edwards, 17, is right behind his teammate Bates with 15 points in 16 games to lead their defence in that category. The second year blueliner, and hometown product, has already equaled his point totals from last season with the Kelowna Chiefs in nearly half the games. Of his 15 points this season, four are assists on the power-play.
The six-foot-one, 195-pound defenceman is very happy with his play.
“I like to be a team player, pass the puck around and I’ve started to shoot a bit more, which has got me two goals this season,” he said. “Coach Dave Hnatiuk, he puts a lot of trust in me and he uses me out there on the power-play.”
The biggest area where Edwards has improved is with his confidence, which has grown since the end of last season.
Mark Readman of the Princeton Posse and Ty Valin of the Fernie Ghostriders join Grand Forks skipper Hnatiuk behind the bench as the KIJHL coaching staff.
The 2022 BCHC Prospects Game will see the top young players from the KIJHL and PJHL face off in front of Junior A coaches and scouts Tuesday, November 22 at the Sardi Sports Complex in Chilliwack.
— With files from Emanuel Sequeira, KIJHL Communications Director