The first exhibition games of the season were a good indication of who would lead the Smoke Eaters this year, as Trail named veteran defenceman Cody Schiavon captain of this year’s team.
The West Kelowna native came to Trail in October last year, as part of a deal that sent defenceman Kieran O’Hearn and forward Liam Freeborn to the Surrey Eagles.
Schiavon, the former captain of the Eagles, takes over for last year’s captain Philippe Lapointe.
“Cody has demonstrated numerous leadership qualities, which has led to his appointment as team captain,” said Smoke Eaters head coach and GM Tim Fragle in a release. “Cody’s maturity and compete level are exceptional and provide a great example to the rest of the team. He provides a professional approach to his day to day preparations and will steer the team in the right direction.”
The 20-year-old Schiavon contributed five goals, 20 points, and 21 penalty minutes, while logging plenty of minutes in 30 games with Trail last season.
Cody had three assists in his first exhibition game as captain, Trail’s 7-4 win over the Cranbrook Bucks on Oct. 3, and was a physical presence in the Smokies lineup.
The rest of the leadership group will be announced at a later date.
Exhibition Season: The Bucks served notice to the Smoke Eaters on Saturday that the Kootenay Cup won’t be a walk through.
The Bucks tied the Smoke Eaters 1-1, in a game that was cut short early in the third period due to ice maintenance issues.
After a back-and-forth first period, Cranbrook carried the play through two, outshooting the Smoke Eaters 14-5. Christian Lowe opened the scoring for the Bucks in the first period, before Chase Dafoe evened the match in the second.
Smokies goalie Cayden Hamming made several saves of the impressive variety to keep Trail in it as Cranbrook outshot Trail 30-18 through just over 40 minutes.
The teams will officially kick off the Kootenay Cup on Friday Oct. 16, a best-of-seven grudge match, that was created to give the extended exhibition season a competitive edge.
“I think it gives the whole team something to play for,” said Trail coach and GM Tim Fragle. “Also, starting a new rivalry in the league, it will be good for both communities to have something like this, not just this year but also moving forward.”
All seven games will be played, but the first team to win four games will claim the Kootenay Cup.
The sponsor partners, AM Ford from Trail and Cranbrook’s Denham Ford, have agreed to have some fun with the East vs. West rivalry.
The winning team will send over a team jersey to the losing team’s Ford dealership. The sales manager will wear their opponents jersey for an entire work day, including posting a few photos on their social media outlets as proof.
The Kootenay Cup starts Friday and continues Saturday with back-to-back games going at 7 p.m. at the Cominco Arena.
All games are available on HockeyTV.com.