BCHL: Smokies shore up defence

Based on their performance last season and at Smokies camps, the Smokies signed goaltender Linden Marshall and defenceman Nii Noi Tetteh.

With the Trail Smoke Eaters Whistler Camp concluded on Sunday, head coach and GM Nick Deschenes announced two signings on Tuesday intended to bolster the team’s back end.

Based on their performance last season and at the Smokies spring and Whistler camps, the Smokies signed 16-year-old goaltender Linden Marshall and defenceman Nii Noi Tetteh, 17.

Marshall played with the Pacific Coast Hockey Academy last season, under the tutelage of Trail native Brady Robinson, who is also the goalie coach for the WHL’s Victoria Royals.

“He (Linden) is just an incredible athlete,” said Deschenes. “He’s had a couple of 60 shot save performances, and averaged about 45 shots per game. He’s projected to be a really good goaltender, and there were other teams talking with him as well, he just really stood out.”

The six-foot-three, 170-pound goaltender had a 4-15-0 record with Pacific Coast Prep, a .904 save percentage, and a 4.42 goals against average on a team that struggled last season in the Canadian Sport School Hockey League, finishing eighth in the Prep division.

Tetteh meanwhile led all defenceman as a rookie on the Revelstoke Grizzlies of the KIJHL last year, scoring six times and adding 15 assists. A fast and mobile defenceman, Tetteh is a five-foot-nine, 185 pound talent, that will be a solid addition to the Smokie blueline.

Tetteh and Marshall joins 17-year-old Greater Trail talents Ross Armour and Spencer McLean as the latest post-camp signees. While all four are 16-17 year olds, Trail’s coach is not intentionally pursuing a youth movement.

“There always needs to be a little bit of balance,” said Deschenes. “And to be honest with you, it’s almost like regardless of age, and Penticton kind of showed that, you try to go for the best players, and really Nii Noi was the best defenceman in our camp and so was Lynden.”

Deschenes, along with assistants Craig Clare and Barry Zanier, will be joined by new assistant Ryan Donald this week, as the staff continues recruiting potential Smoke Eaters.