Trail Smoke Eaters tighten numbers, evaluation continues

The Interior Division gets tougher this season with addition of the Wenatchee Wild.

Following an entertaining and competitive Main Camp and a tough test in Wenatchee on the weekend, the Trail Smoke Eaters are heading into the final stages of selecting its 2017-18 roster.

Trail iced 26 skaters in Wenatchee on Friday and Saturday, in a pair of four-period games or four two-period matches against the Wild. And while the Smoke Eaters lost all of the contests, it wasn’t for lack of effort so much as numbers.

“I thought the boys played well,” said Keith. “Not the result obviously we were looking for, but they were also carrying a lot more kids that were better suited for a four-period type of grind. But it was also good for our younger kids to get an opportunity to play four periods against what is one of the premier teams in the BCHL.”

The Wild defeated the Smokies 5-2 and 1-0 on Friday night, and 4-0 and 4-2 on Saturday, but did so with a distinct home-ice advantage.

“When we made the rotation, we only had about six new bodies and they had about 15,” said Keith. “Wenatchee did a good job of reloading, and they kind of have the same make up as they did last year.”

The Trail coaching staff didn’t face many surprises at camp, retaining committed players like Levi Glasman, Daine Dubois, Olson Werenka, Seth Barton, and Greater Trail products Tyler Ghirardosi, Karsten Jang and Jake Yuris. However, one noticeable absence between the pipes was that of Okanagan Hockey Academy’s Brandon Peacock who made the jump to the Everett Silvertips of the Western Hockey League (WHL) after committing to the Smoke Eaters.

In Peacock’s absence, another Marshall stepped in and filled the void. Tanner Marshall, 17, played with the Kelowna Chiefs of the KIJHL last season, posting a 3.07 goals-against average, and a .911 save percentage.

“Tanner Marshall came in and played unreal,” said Keith. “He let one goal in his first game and showed he has the capability of playing in this league. It’s a step up when you start playing actual games, but he’s shown that he has the composure and compete level to be a kid that can win us games this year.”

Trail released young, yet, likely future Smoke Eaters in Bradley Ross and Conner Seib, but are still taking a closer look at Aiden Jenner, 17, of Castlegar who netted 39 points in 38 games with the Major Midget Kootenay Ice last year and was impressive in camp.

“We kind of knew what we needed to fill for the remaining roster spots, so we narrowed it down to the kids that were actually fighting for those spots,” added Keith.

The Smoke Eaters will be down to 23-carded players when they face-off against the Vernon Vipers in Vernon on Friday, but rosters are never final until all Junior camps are done.

“There’s going to be a couple kids filtering down from the WHL camps to push for those other spots, so by no means is our team made. We’re still in the evaluating process.”

The Wild joins Trail in the Interior Division this year after spending its first two seasons in the BCHL in the Mainland Division. The move to the Interior will make the division one of the toughest in the BCHL if not the Canadian Hockey League. The Wild finished the 2016-17 campaign with a 45-9-4-0 record for 94 points, tops in the BCHL, although 12 of those wins came against the league’s weakest teams (Surrey, 18-36-4-0, and Coquitlam, 11-44-1-2). Wenatchee faces a more challenging schedule this year and will play Interior teams: Penticton Vees, Vernon Vipers, Trail Smoke Eaters, West Kelowna Warriors, Merritt Centennials and Salmon Arm Silverbacks, six times this year, rather than the two times they faced them in previous seasons.

“It’s the same every year, Vernon’s going to be good, Penticton is going to be good, Wenatchee is going to be good, and everyone else is going to be competitive,” said Keith. “We’re in the Interior Division, it’s not going to be easy.”

Just Posted

Tell the Times

Web Poll: Have you been the target of petty theft in Trail?

Nelson and Kaslo both claimed Queen City status

Place Names: Queen City of the Kootenays

Minor hockey roots preserved in Trail mural

The Trail Minor Hockey Association founded Minor Hockey Week in 1957

Scammers using Castlegar home for rental fraud

Local realtors say the problem is happening more frequently with their properties

Passenger count down, fuel sales up at Trail Regional Airport

Heavy snowfall into the spring and ongoing wild fires in 2018 impacted landings at the Trail airport

VIDEO: U.S. Congress to probe whether Trump told lawyer Cohen to lie

At issue is a BuzzFeed News report that about negotiations over a Moscow real estate project

Explosion sends B.C. firefighter to hospital

Kelowna fire crews responded to a blaze at Pope’sGallery of BC Art & Photography on Friday

Ex-Mountie investigating ‘Surrey six’ murders pleads guilty to obstruction

Derek Brassington entered his plea in B.C. Supreme Court on Friday

Rare ‘super blood wolf moon’ takes to the skies this Sunday

Celestial event happens only three times this century

Arrest made after historic B.C. church hit by arson

The fire at the 150-year-old Murray United Church in Merritt was considered a possible hate crime

B.C. dangerous offender in court for violating no-contact order, sends letter to victim

Wayne Belleville was shocked to see a letter addressed to him from his shooter, Ronald Teneycke

Crowsnest Pass RCMP seek help locating missing man

58-year-old Stuart David Duff was last seen on Jan. 6, 2019.

Man blames his loud car radio, sirens for crash with B.C. ambulance

Tribunal rejects bid to recoup ICBC costs after crash deemed 100-per-cent his fault

RECALL: Salmon Village maple salmon nuggets

Customers warned not to eat product due to possible Listeria contamination

Most Read