Former Beaver Valley Nitehawks star goaltender, Tallon Kramer, is returning to the West Kootenay to help the Selkirk College Saints make a run at the BC Intercollegiate Hockey League championship.
Kramer along with former KIJHL forward Logan Styler and defenceman Cole Arcuri, players with local roots and a résumé of excellence in junior hockey, will join the Saints for the second half of the season.
“We’re obviously excited to have these three young men join our program,” Saints coach Brent Heaven told reporter Bob Hall. “They are going to make us stronger and the competitiveness within the group is going to increase. We have more depth now, so with the inevitable adversity that you face, we are now better equipped to work through it.”
Kramer played in 35 games with the Nitehawks last season, posting a 1.81 goals-against-average, and a superlative .935 save percentage. He backstopped the Hawks to a KIJHL championship, the provincial Cyclone Taylor Cup title, and came within a goal of winning the Western Canadian Jr. B championship Keystone Cup.
The 21-year-old committed to University of Jamestown in North Dakota where he played in nine games, before deciding to make the move to Selkirk College and the Saints.
“The Kootenays have become home for me and I couldn’t be happier to be back,” said Kramer.
Styler grew up in the Prince George area, but in 2013-2014 came to play in the KIJHL with the Creston Valley Thunder Cats. He finished his Junior B career with the Castlegar Rebels where he led the league in scoring last season with 26 goals and 54 assists.
Arcuri grew up in Nelson and played on both the Kootenay Ice Midget AAA team and the Nelson Leafs in the KIJHL. The 21-year-old blueliner also counts three seasons of Junior A experience with the Powell River Kings and Merritt Centennials.
“You are always looking to improve your program, not just for this season but into the future,” Heaven says of the three additions. “We want to win a championship and by adding these three players it only increases our chances.”
The Saints didn’t add the new players due to weakness in the first semester line-up. The team blazed out to a perfect 10-0 start to the season before suffering their first loss in mid-November to the Trinity Western University Spartans.
The Saints dominate league scoring leaders with captain Dallas Calvin 13 points ahead in top spot and Derek McPhail, Parker Sharp and Dane Feeney also in the top-10. Goaltenders Brett Huber and Patrick Zubick had a solid first semester, both currently leading the league in save percentage.
Even though all three players come with impressive backgrounds, Heaven says they need to earn their spots in the line-up and their ice time during games.
“When you add a player mid-season, the first thing is that you need to show your teammates that you are here for them and willing to do whatever it takes to be a good teammate,” Heaven says.
The first major test of the second semester for all the Saints starts at home this coming weekend when Trinity Western visits the Castlegar & District Recreation Complex on Friday and Saturday. The Spartans currently trail the first place Saints by three points in the standings with one game in-hand. The puck drop goes at 7 p.m.
With files from Selkirk College – Bob Hall.