It’s awesome to be back at the rink watching some skilled young men tear up the ice as they prepare for the 2013-14 BCHL season.
Training camp is now underway, which means we’re getting our first real look at the 2013-14 Warriors.
So who is here???
Well let’s start at the top, with Rylan Ferster embarking on a newly printed five-year contract extension. As you’ve probably heard by now (check out the story on the WW website) Ferster has made some changes to his staff. Brent Gough is back, as is therapist Mike Bois. However, Shae Naka has moved on to a great opportunity with POE. New members of the staff include former Lloydminster Bobcats Head Coach Ryan Parent and former NHLer Cory Cross. Not bad, eh?
On the ice, it’s great to see everyone back, but there are a few names in particular that I’ll flag for you.
Matt Anholt – It’s not that common for Junior teams to name new captains in the middle of summer. Last year WK had a captain in place at this point, but Max French had taken the ‘C’ over during the previous year. So it’s obviously a tribute to this young man and how ready he is to take this team over. Anholt seems to have a quiet confidence too – he’ll be vocal when he needs to, but I would imagine he’ll be more the ‘lead by example’ type.
Taylor Graham – Acquired from Fort MacMurray for Reid Simmonds, Graham looks poised to be this club’s #1 blueliner this year. Is he a Josh Monk type? Well no, and naturally every player is a little different. But watching Graham so far, I can tell you that he skates like the wind and will do a heck of a job moving pucks up ice in a hurry.
Cole Holewenko – Almost three years since his first tour of duty with the Warriors, the Penticton native is back in the Junior ‘A’ ranks and looking to put his Major Junior experience to work. It’s still tough to tell how the goaltending situation on this team will pan out (even ’97 Cody Porter has a shot at a spot), but that’s not a bad thing. These guys will all have to compete hard for spots, and there’s still plenty of time to sort out who plays. But, being a semi-local guy and knowing a bunch of the guys already should (I would imagine) help Holewenko feel at home and make a push for the starting job.
David Pope – It’s been an unreal summer for this young man, and he’ll only get more and more attention as he continues to develop. Safe to say, after being drafted by the Detroit Red Wings, Pope is set to terrorize offensive zones. He’ll be the trigger-man for a lot of what the Warriors do offensively this year, and there are plenty of other skilled guys (like Seb Lloyd and Ambrose Firkus) to create space for him. To re-iterate a theme that we’ve already been talking about; this forward group will be very young but also very skilled.
Max French, Shawn Hochhausen, Tyler Krause. Sorry fans. They’re just here for a skate before heading to college. But it is wonderful for new and hopeful Warriors to hang out with the former engines of this team and to see how they go about their business.