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KIJHL gets upper hand on Pacific Junior Hockey

The KIJHL Top Prospects edged the PJHL 4-3 in the BCHC Prospects Game at the Sardis Sports Complex in Chilliwack. — KIJHL photo

When Ryan Larsen was added to the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League 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 KIJHL Top Prospects victory against the Pacific Junior Hockey League 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.”

Tyler Seminoff of the Nelson Leafs said the B.C. Hockey Conference Prospects Game experience was really good, especially getting the exposure and playing against the PJHL.  

The 6’3”, 175-pound defenceman learned from the KIJHL Prospects coaching staff of Head Coach Dave Hnatiuk (Grand Forks Border Bruins) and assistants Ty Valin (Fernie Ghostriders) and Mark Readman (Princeton Posse), and seeing different plays and how everyone plays a bit differently.

“The game was really fast paced and a bit more physical,” said Seminoff, the KIJHL team assistant captain, who is an affiliate with the BCHL’s Powell River Kings.

“I felt I played pretty good. I learned a lot of things, and going back now, I can improve my game a bit more. Overall it was a great game to play in.”

Seminoff helped push his team by being vocal on the bench and he was honoured to be selected as part of the leadership group. 

“I thought I fit that role pretty well. I tried to be as vocal as I could and motivate the team and get them going every shift.”

Neil Murdoch teams return to action Friday with Grand Forks Border Bruins at Creston, Beaver Valley Nitehawks hosting Kelowna Chiefs at 7 p.m. in the Beaver Valley Arena and Castlegar Rebels at Chase Heat.

Saturday, Nelson hosts Kelowna Chiefs at 7 p.m. in the NDCC Arena.

— With files from Emanuel Sequeira, KIJHL Director of Communications