Trail Smokies add size and skill

Smokies have signed forward Colby Livingstone and defenceman Evan Korizis.

The Trail Smoke Eaters added two more pieces to the puzzle, as the coaching staff continues to build a playoff contender by adding size and skill on both the front and back ends.

The Smokies acquired 19-year-old forward Colby Livingstone from the Amherst Ramblers of the Maritime Hockey League in exchange for future considerations, and signed defenceman Evan Korizis from Hotchkiss Prep School out of Lakeville, Connecticut.

Livingstone, a Creston native, returned to the Kootenays after a year in Amherst, N.S. where he scored 10 goals and 21 assists in 48 games and racked up 73 penalty minutes. The six-foot, 190 pound forward will join the Smokies at their training camp on Aug. 24.

“Being from Creston and close, and given our situation where we lose a lot of high-powered offence, I think he is going to come in and be a really solid addition with (Jr. A) experience,” said Smokie head coach and GM Nick Deschenes.

Livingstone played two seasons with the Creston Valley Thundercats of the KIJHL and played six games as an affiliate player for the Smoke Eaters in 2013, netting three goals and an assist, while averaging almost 1.5 points per game in his final season with the Thundercats.

Korizis, a Montreal native, is a talented and hulking defenceman at six-foot-three, 230 pounds.

“I am extremely excited to come play for the Trail Smoke Eaters in the BCHL this season, and am looking forward to being involved with the organization and I can’t wait to get started.” Korizis said in a release.

The 19-year-old defenceman accumulated 17 goals and 38 points in 50 games in two years playing for the Hotchkiss Bearcats in the U.S. High School League, displaying offensive upside, while playing physical and responsible hockey in his own end.

“He was in the Top 20 scoring for Prep school defenceman,” said Deschenes. “There’s about 40 or 50 teams in that circuit so that puts him into the upper echelon. He must have played about 30-35 minutes a game for them. I think he’ll adjust quickly and he brings a lot of elements to the table.”

The Smoke Eater coach wasn’t able to personally see the Montreal product in action, but through video,  input from recently hired assistant coach Ryan Donald, and eastern coaches and scouts, Deschenes believes the Prep School graduate has the tools to be a valued asset on defence and perform effectively in the BCHL. Livingstone was impressive from the moment he stepped on the ice as an AP for the Smokies, and will be a valuable addition to a team that is still evolving.

“We’re getting there,” said Deschenes. “We’re still a top forward or two away from being in the same caliber as we were last year, trying to approach it anyways. We’re still looking for a defenceman, we’ve identified some in our camps so we’re hoping they will come to main camp and show us what they have. There’s a lot of different movement, and USHL camps are finished, so between all of that, expect maybe another move or two, and we should be pretty good coming into the season.”