Hockey: Smoke Eaters sign two as training camp nears

The Trail Smoke Eaters added some size and experience in a pair of signings announced on Sunday.

With the team’s training camp set to open in less than a month, the Trail Smoke Eaters added some size and experience in a pair of signings announced on Sunday.

The team signed 18-year-old forward Jake Kauppila of the North American Hockey League as well as 18-year-old defenceman Joel Webb from Edmonton’s Major Midget program.

The six-foot-one, 190lbs Kauppila already has a scholarship lined up with Michigan Tech. The Illinois native had 11 points in 55 games with the Coulee Region Chill of the NAHL.

“Jake is a big bodied, great skating forward who we are thrilled to get,” said Smokies head coach and general manager Bill Birks.”

“He plays a physical high tempo game and will be a welcome addition to our lineup this season.

Webb captained the Maple Leaf Athletic Club’s AAA midget team for two seasons. He also played two junior hockey games last season as an affiliate with the Drayton Valley Thunder of the Alberta Junior Hockey League.

Birks likes what the six-foot-two, 200lbs defenceman brings to the Smokies program.

“Joel is a big strong kid who we identified last winter. What impressed us about Joel was his work ethic and play in the d-zone.

“Joel is a very simple and effective and has a big presence in the physical part of the game.”

Main camp opens Aug. 21. at the Cominco Arena.