Coach satisfied with signings

The Trail Smoke Eaters lost one hopeful but managed to seal a number of deals with promising young players as they prepare for camp in August.

The Trail Smoke Eaters lost one hopeful but managed to seal a number of deals with promising young players as they prepare for camp in August.

After the Smoke Eaters spring camp in March, coach Bill Birks was bursting with optimism at the crop of talented skaters but committing and signing them proved to be two different matters.

After a verbal camp commitment from Dryden Hunt of Nelson, who played four games as a 14-year-old with the Smokies last year, he decided to sign with the Westside Warriors.

While Hunt’s decision is disappointing to the first year coach, the signing of 16-year-old Luke Bertolucci and 17-year-old Jesse Knowler more than made up for it.

“It’s a good thing we got Luke on board, he is probably more highly sought after than Dryden, so to get him committed and play here is going to be good.”

Bertolucci and Knowler were teamates on the Major Midget Kootenay Ice. Bertolucci, a Montrose native, also played on Team BC at the Canada Games.

Knowler from Castlegar, captained the Ice and played great as a call up for the Rebels as they went to the KIJHL championship.

“He is going to be the biggest surprise of them all, that kid’s going to be a great, great player.”

Matt Larose returns between the pipes. He sported a 2.87 goals against average and two shutouts in 15 games for the Smokies last year.

“We’re still looking for a backup but I’ve got seven or eight guys coming to camp that are going to fight it out.”

Other high-end signings include Daniel Del Bianco, 16, from Coquitlam and U-17 B.C. Cup grads Brandon Egli, 16, from Victoria and Kyle Horseman, 16, from the Sunshine Coast as well as Chris Derochie, 18, from the Beaver Valley Nitehawks.

The Smoke Eaters main camp goes at the end of August but Birks also confirmed attending teams to their Labour Day tournament, September, 1-3.

The Wenatchee Wild from the North American Hockey League is a new entry while Brooks Bandits from the Alberta Junior League and the Powell River Kings from the BCHL make their third appearance. They will join the Smoke Eaters in the three-day season primer that attracts college scouts from across North America.

Just Posted

L-R: Patients of Dr. Sarah Tucker, Dr. Trevor Aiken and Dr. Stephanie Cameron must call Columbia Primary Care Clinic at 250.368.9394 to make appointments after July 1. Photo: Submitted
Three doctors at Trail clinic on the move

Drs Tucker, Aiken, and Cameron move to Columbia Primary Care Clinic effective July 1

Kurt Swanson’s dog Kona takes a break from the heat on the Summer Solstice near Cranbrook, B.C. (Kurt Swanson photo)
Very warm temperatures forecast across the Kootenays this weekend

Nelson, Castlegar forecast to hit 39, Cranbrook 37

Fire at the former Alpine Disposal, and now GFL recycling facility, on Hwy 22 South of Trail. Photo taken just before 6 p.m. Monday June 21. Photo: John Piccolo
Industrial fire outside of Trail ravages recycling plant

Photos: The fire is reported to be at the GFL recycling facility

“We all need to consider our lives and how we managed to make our way through society to achieve order and success and how it is that others end up in chaos.” Photo: Dave Lowe/Unsplash
‘There but for fortune, may go you and I … ‘

“Short stays on acute psychiatric units with minimal follow up care are not sufficient,” says Crain.

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Val Litwin is the latest candidate to declare his bid for the B.C. Liberal leadership. (Litwin campaign video)
Political newcomer joins contest for B.C. Liberal leadership

Val Litwin a former B.C. Chamber of Commerce CEO

Golden Ears Mountains, captured in May 2021. (Black Press Media files)
2nd year of day passes required for entry into 5 provincial parks launches in B.C.

Pilot program seeks to protect the environment by addressing visitor surges amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Lincoln Mckoen. (YouTube)
Anglican bishop of the central Interior resigns over sexual misconduct allegations

Lincoln Mckoen was elected as a bishop of the Territory of the People region last year

The former Kamloops Indian Residential School on the Tk’emlups te Secwépemc reserve. (Allen Douglas/Kamloops This Week)
Tk’emlups preparing for archaeological work at B.C. residential school site where remains found

The 215 graves are, to the band’s knowledge, undocumented deaths for which it is still collecting records

Fans watch the warm-up before Game 6 between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens in NHL playoff hockey action Saturday, May 29, 2021 in Montreal. Quebec’s easing of COVID-19 restrictions will allow 2,500 fans to attend the game for the first time in fourteen months. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Two-thirds of Canadians say governments shouldn’t lift all COVID-19 restrictions

Poll reports Canadians who gained pandemic weight say they have gained 16 pounds on average

Paul Bernardo is shown in this courtroom sketch during Ontario court proceedings via video link in Napanee, Ont., on October 5, 2018. Teen killer and serial rapist Paul Bernardo is set for a parole hearing today. The designated dangerous offender, has been eligible for full parole for more than three years. Bernardo’s horrific crimes in the 1980s and early 1990s include for kidnapping, torturing and killing Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffy near St. Catharines, Ont. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Greg Banning
Killer rapist Paul Bernardo faces parole hearing today; victim families opposed

Designated dangerous offender has been eligible for full parole for more than three years.

People look over the damage after a tornado touched down in Mascouche, Que., north of Montreal, Monday, June 21, 2021. Dozens of homes were damaged and one death has been confirmed. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
One dead and extensive damage as tornado hits Mascouche, Que., north of Montreal

Damage reported in several parts of the city, and emergency teams dispatched to sectors hardest hit

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
B.C. student’s yearbook quote equates grad to end of slavery; principal cites editing error

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

Most Read