Building the Smokies for next year

The Smoke Eaters announced three commitments this week, highlighted by the addition of homegrown hockey product Ethan Martini.

The Trail Smoke Eaters didn’t waste any time getting back to work.

“We have to get ready for camp, and find some guys for next year that are ready to play in this league, and I don’t know if the work ever really ends,” said Smoke Eater interim coach Curtis Toneff.

The Smoke Eaters announced three commitments this week, highlighted by the addition of homegrown hockey product Ethan Martini.

“I am honoured to get the chance to play for my home town team and be a part of such a great organization,” Ethan said on the Smoke Eater website. “I am excited that after two years of living away from home, I not only get to come back and be with my friends and family, but play for a team that I have dreamed of playing for since I was five years old.”

The six-foot-four defenceman from Trail has been away for two seasons honing his game at the Edge School for Athletes in Calgary.

Martini played in 35 games this season registering four points and 90 penalty minutes and will add size and strength to the back end. Martini was also a third round pick in the 2015 WHL Bantam draft, going 54th overall to the Swift Current Broncos.

The Smoke Eaters alsoinked Vancouver native Henry Rhyu and 18-year-old Ryan Murphy of Orono, Minn.

Rhyu, a five-foot-11, 195-pound forward played for the Yale Hockey Academy U-18 prep team this season, collecting 24 points in 34 games and was a Smokies affiliate player in two games this season.

Murphy is a highly-skilled forward who spent two years at the Okanagan Hockey Academy (OHA), and skated last season with the Aberdeen Wings and Minnesota Magicians of the North American Hockey League. The five-foot-11, 180 pound forward scored 39 goals and added 47 assists for the OHA in 2014-15.