The Summerland Steam Junior B hockey team is optimistic to begin the KIJHL 2021-22 season. (Contributed)

The Summerland Steam Junior B hockey team is optimistic to begin the KIJHL 2021-22 season. (Contributed)

Summerland Steam preparing for Junior B hockey season

Several rookies to join lineup for upcoming season

The Summerland Steam Junior B hockey team is preparing for the upcoming 2021-22 hockey season.

“We will be a fast, skating, hardworking young group that will be fun to watch,” said Nick Deschenes, head coach and general manager of the hockey team. “We believe our group will be one of the hardest working in the KIJHL. Even though our youth and inexperience will play a factor early on, we believe we’ve identified players willing to learn and be hungry to get better.”

This year’s key returnees include forwards Tristan Weill and Ethan Swift, defence Cole Waldbillig and goalies Ben Lewis, Colton MacAulay.

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Deschenes says Lewis and MacAulay are ready to handle goaltending duties, while Weill and Swift, 16, are poised to have an impact in the league. Waldbillig is entering his third season with the Steam.

The team has several rookies to watch for this year.

Defence Brody Elchyson, (2003) IHA Prep, is a smart, mobile defenceman who makes good passes and has offensive upside. “We are looking for him to have an impact on our blueline,” said Deschenes.

Forward Marc Ducharme, (2003) Shawnigan Prep, has worked hard to improve his game in recent years. “He has the skills and ability to adjust quickly to junior hockey and we hope his learning curve remains steep.”

Forward Grayson Chell, (2003) Pacific Coast Academy Prep, is a solid player who is responsible with and without the puck.

“We’re looking for him to get out of his comfort zone and grow his game.”

Forward Prezton Stewart (2005) OK Rockets U16 has the ability to be an impact player at 16. “There may be an adjustment period, but we believe he’s up for the challenge.”

Deschenes said the team is younger this year, which will affect the hockey season.

“Half of our players are still of midget age. We may have a rocky start, but I anticipate we will find our stride by Christmas,” he said.

“We will be leaning on our goaltenders to keep us in games. They are both poised to have good seasons and we’re excited to see them carry our group along.”

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Junior B Hockey