Victoria Cougars head coach Suneil Karod must have liked what he saw during Spring Camp. So much in fact he signed four players shortly thereafter.
“I was very happy with the turnout we had, especially the level of talent,” Karod said. “The pace was faster than I expected and there were a lot of surprises for us. It was nice to see players come in and work hard and try to earn a spot with us for this upcoming season.”
One of the signees includes 2001-born forward Rowan Miller.
As an affiliate player last year, Miller posted two goals and two assists in eight games for Victoria. Miller suited up for two playoff games as well.
Standing 5’11 and weighing 150 pounds, the native of Scottsdale, Arizona, led the South Island Royals in scoring with 14 goals and 14 assists.
“I decided to join Victoria because I believe they would be the best program to develop me as a player and a person. They have great coaches and personnel which is what makes the Cougars a winning program,” Miller said. “They push the boundaries each and every day making their players improve. I am here so they can make me the best player I can be.”
Also signing on the dotted line was Matthew Clark, a 2001-born forward.
Standing 5’10 and weighing 160 pounds, the Victoria, British Columbia native is a product of the prestigious Pacific Coast Hockey Academy.
“Matt has a natural touch with the puck and knows how to score, just look at his stats. He has a quick hard release and will be a very dangerous player for us this year,” Karod said.
Clark finished sixth in team scoring with 20 goals and 10 assists in 35 games.
“I am excited about the opportunity to play this upcoming season with the Cougars,” Clark said. “A dream does not become reality through magic. It takes sweat, determination, and hard work and I can bring that. I am grateful for this opportunity.”
2000-born forward Cole Ford was also signed.
“We had seen Cole play a few times last year when his team was down in Victoria and he was on our radar. He plays a physical game and has an instinct and game awareness which you can’t teach,” Karod said.
A native of Nanaimo, British Columbia, Ford spent last season playing for Nanaimo Clippers Midget A1 and affiliating with the North Island Silvertips.
“It was a surprise to get signed,” Ford said, “I cannot wait to put on the Cougars uniform when the season rolls around and to be part of an organization that knows what it takes to be successful.”
And the fourth and final signee from Spring Camp was 2000-born forward Bryce Irwin.
Like Miller, the 5’9, 145 pound Victoria, British Columbia native affiliated with Victoria last year and did not look out of place at all against much older and faster competition.
“Irwin and Miller were impactful affiliates for us last year, playing our systems and weren’t afraid to showcase their talent all while fitting in our dressing room. They are skilled guys that want to work hard,” Karod said.
In six games for the Cougars, Irwin recorded a goal and an assist.
Spring Camp ran May 4-6.