February 22, 2013, West Kelowna, BC (ISN) – The Warriors are heading for the playoffs. 2012/13 has been a memorable season so far and the team is preparing for even greater success.
But amidst the excitement of returning to the BCHL post-season, the organization is still tending to the future.
The team has committed to four midget players for the upcoming season, as Head Coach / GM Rylan Ferster looks to fill the inevitable holes his squad will be left with.
Two of them are imports, as Ferster goes back to one of his favourite breeding grounds. Forwards Adam Osczevski and Kylar Hope have both committed from the Prince Albert (SK) Mintos. Ferster himself hails from Prince Albert, as does current Warriors forward (and Minto graduate) Matt Anholt.
Hope has spoken to Anholt about coming to West Kelowna and reports “he’s told me nothing but good things about it.”
Oszcevski also says he connects with Anholt ‘almost daily.’ He insists “it’s the only place for me, and it’s really going to help me develop my game.”
While recruiting takes Fester and his staff to Saskatchewan and beyond, the team is still keeping a close eye on local talent.
Okanagan Rockets forward Brett Mennear has been called up to the Warriors on seven occasions this year and will join the team full-time next year.
“Playing games as an ‘AP’ has helped with believing that I can play at that level competitively” says the Kelowna product. “And it has improved my confidence going back to the rockets as well.”
With 49 points in 34 BCMML games this year, Mennear believes his Rockets have a shot at winning the league and making it to the Telus Cup.
Standing in his way will be a future teammate. Liam Blackburn is also heading to West Kelowna next year, but he’s still intent on winning BC’s midget championship with his Caribou Cougars squad.
The Prince George native currently sits second in BCMML scoring with 73 points after 36 games this year. “We set ourselves up to play at home for the first two rounds” he states. “If we play our hockey we will be successful.”
With around eight current Warriors forwards already set to return next season, Ferster’s new recruits all seem to understand that they’ll have to earn their ice time next year.
Still, the prospect of playing in the BCHL and being seen by NCAA scouts is more than enough incentive.
“Education has always been very important in my family” Mennear stresses. With 11 current Warriors already committed to division I programs in the NCAA, Mennear and the other recruits know what BCHL careers can lead to.
Before that, however, there’s midget playoffs, graduations, and squats all summer.