Marino Bordin (18) of the Chase Heat tries to steal the puck from a Kelowna Chiefs player during KIJHL action last season. Bordin is among the veterans returning this season. Dunsmoor Creative photo
Leading up to the start of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League’s 2020-21 season, which starts Nov. 13, 2020, the league will be publishing team previews.
These stories will highlight areas of focus for the respective organizations as well as players. We started with the Castlegar Rebels and now head to the Doug Birks Division to feature the Chase Heat.
The Heat finished second in their division with 30 wins in 49 games, but lost in five games in the first round of the Teck Cup playoffs to the 100 Mile House Wranglers. Moving into this season, Heat head coach Brad Fox says their primary focus is consistency in being more defined throughout their line up and harder to play against.
“We have a pretty significant turn over this year with the majority of our group moving on. Our core group of returning guys is small,” says Fox. “The group will not be overly young per se, but inexperienced at this level. Our preparation on and off the ice will be focused on teaching our players what is required to be successful at this level in our approach.”
Leading up to the regular season, the Heat will use their time on and off the ice to educate and create good habits to be prepared. Fox says they have the resources to ensure they cover all the entities and the time - teaching and designing a game plan that will work in the cohort model.
Fox believes it will be a challenge to keep players motivated until the season starts, which is his main concern. It will be the staff’s job to be creative in creating a replacement for competition within and recognizing how and when to keep it fun.
The Heat have 15 players on their roster that are new to the KIJHL.
“Our head scout Sean Gilbert has done a great job of [finding] our identity in players of character, work habits and a skill set. We have some under the radar players as well, but exceptional commitment to the program,” says Fox. “We have some real potential in our first-year players overall, but at the end of the day, I believe it will come down to detail within on and off the ice.”
Kiev Kineshanko, 17, Abbotsford, B.C. Knights of Columbus Pats, goalie, 15 GP, 3.55 GAA, .909 SPCT.
Blake Simpson, 16, Kamloops, Thompson Zone midget, goalie, 7-3-0, 2.70 GAA
Andrew Guss, 18, Calgary, CNHA Blazers, forward, 26 GP, 8G, 15A, 23 PTS.
Matteo Bordin, 16, Sorrento, played a game with the Heat as an affiliate player. Defenceman.
Max Goldade, 18, Calgary, Alta., CNHA Blazers, defence, 26 GP, 14 G, 8 A 22 PTS Bhavin Serown, 17, Kamloops, Thompson Blazers midget
Bryan Fraser, 17, Kamloops, defenceman. Played two games with the Kamloops Storm last season.
Drew Tkachuk, 18, Calgary, NWCAA Bruins, forward, 20GP 4G, 8A, 12 PTS
Kobe Pavlovich, 18, Kamloops, San Diego Sabers, forward, 44GP, 2G, 5A, 7 PTS
Jarod Sigouin, 18, Calgary, NWCAA Bruins, forward, 19GP, 6G, 11A, 17 PTS.
Caden Dehoog, Thompson Zone midget AAA, forward, 20GP, 3G, 6A, 9PTS
Andrew Guss, 18, Calgary, CNHA Blazers U18, forward, 26GP, 8G, 15A, 23 PTS
Tyson Mallet, 18, Calgary, Sturgeon Sting U18 AA, forward, 31GP 6G, 16A, 22 PTS
Rory Christie-Hoyle, 19, Revelstoke, Maple Leaf Athletic Club, forward, 35GP, 4G, 7A, 11 PTS
Brandt Grimeau, 19, Calgary, CBHA Rangers (Calgary), forward, 14GP, 2G, 1A, 3 PTS (2017-19)
Rhys Lepine, Cameron McKenzie, Trevor Kennedy, Jacob Biensch and Marino Bordin.
“When your core group begins with that much experience, the workload of leadership now becomes double,” says Fox. “What will be crucial for them is to not attempt to put too much weight on themselves, but put them on everyone in that room to take a piece of the responsibility. Leadership is much more about what you can do and are willing to do. We will have 25 guys that will have to learn on the fly the value in leadership by committee.”
Fox isn’t changing how the Heat will play this season - a high tempo style with players competing hard, with high hockey IQ and discipline between the whistles. Photos provided by the Chase Heat.