Leading up to the start of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League’s 2020-21 season, which starts Nov. 13, 2020, the league is publishing team previews.
These previews will highlight areas of focus for the respective organizations as well as players. Our last story featured the Creston Valley Thunder Cats, and now we shift over to another Eddie Mountain Division team and highlight the Fernie Ghostriders.
Heading into the season, the Ghostriders look to adjust their approach and focus to be harder to play against on a nightly basis. Last season the Ghostriders were swept from the opening round of the Teck Cup playoffs by the Columbia Valley Rockies.
Johnny Elias is among a small group of returnees. Ghostriders/Free Press photo
The Ghostriders strengthened their roster by adding Princeton’s top scorer, Brendan Adams, in a trade completed October 4.
“Brendan brings a ton of experience, a scoring touch and leadership to our group,” says Ghostriders head coach-GM Jeff Wagner, who dealt Owen Titus, Carson Cecconi and Kaden Katelnikoff (acquired in the dispersal draft) to get Adams.
Despite the obstacles from the current pandemic, Wagner says their organization and the community has done a great job of adapting.
“Community members have stepped up in many capacities, most notably - billet homes, sponsorship, access to facilities,” he says. “We have been conducting our program as normal since main camp on Sept. 25, replacing games on Friday and Saturday with intrasquad games.”
Sawan Gill- he returns as the captain and played a lot of minutes last season, being counted on in all situations.
Johnny Elias- returns for his 20-year-old season. The University of Michigan-Dearborn commit, was a top special teams player last year, scored 50 points and the same is expected this year.
Andrew Bonham and Kyle Klein are the only other returners and they will both be given the opportunity for expanded roles on and off the ice.
“The maturation process for both these players has been a fun one to watch,” says Wagner.
Learning from last year’s playoffs, the Ghostriders are making changes they feel will lead to better results.
“Last year we felt that - while our skill, structure and offensive creativity could get us through most nights - there was an element missing to reach our goals,” says Wagner. “This year we want to improve our attention to detail, our urgency and our toughness in the gritty areas of the ice.”