A plethora of Greater Trail hockey talent laced them up this week to open seasons and training camps across North America and Europe. Below is a summary of who and where local skaters and a few former Smoke Eaters and Nitehawks are playing this season:
Most notably, Fruitvale’s Barrett Jackman begins his 11th season with the St. Louis Blues. At 32, Jackman, selected in the 1st round, 17th overall, in the 1999 NHL entry draft, is now the senior member of the Blues, a team that was picked by EA Sports “NHL 14” simulation game to win the Stanley Cup this year. The Blues are the last remaining 1967 expansion team that has yet to hoist Lord Stanley.
A trio of Greater Trail minor hockey graduates return to the Qunnipiac University Bobcats in NCAA action with Montrose’s Connor and Kellen Jones and Trail’s Travis St. Denis looking to carry the team back to the Frozen Four. The Bobcats beat Castlegar native and former Smoke Eater Lucas Bloodoff’s St. Marys Huskies in exhibition play on Sunday, 7-2. Connor added two goals and Kellen two assists in the opening-season primer as the Bobcats open the regular season against former Smokie Ben Matthews and the University of Alaska-Anchorage Sea Wolves on Friday.
St. Mary’s out of Halifax, plays in the Atlantic division of Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS)
Trail native Steve Koshey starts his sophomore season with the University of Alabama-Huntsville, while recent Smokie graduates Brent Baltus begins his first campaign with Michigan Tech, while Garrett McMullen hits the ice at RIT, Bennett Hambrook at Hamilton College and Tylor Berkholtz at Thompson Rivers University. Other Smokie grads include former Smoke Eaters Scott Jacklin, a Kimberley native, is in his junior year with Robert Morris,Sam Mellor who begins his sophomore year with Western Michigan, Erik Cooper and Cullan Bradshaw hit the ice at St. Norbert University, Jake Baker begins his junior year at Northern Michigan, while Luke Bertolucci plays his second year with the WHL’s Edmonton Oil Kings.
In semi-pro hockey, Trail’s Todd Robinson was signed by the Tulsa Oilers of the Central Hockey League this past summer. The 35-year old led the CHL in playoff points and guided the Allen Americans to their first Ray Miron President’s Cup in April. In Evansville in 2011-12, Robinson, put up 92 points and won the CHL scoring title.
Meanwhile, across the Atlantic Ocean, Trails Travis Gawryletz signed with Szekeshfehervar Alba Volan HC in Austria, while Steve McCarthy begins his second year with the Zurich Lions of the Swiss A league led by former Vancouver Canuck coach Marc Crawford. McCarthy and the Lions also play against former Smoke Eater standout Travis Roche who plays with Bern of the Swiss A League.
Fruitvale’s Jake Morissette is skating with the Cardiff Devils of the British Elite Ice Hockey League. Morissette joins his former Rensaeler Polytechnic teammate Andrew Lord who also played for the Vernon Vipers of the BCHL from 2002-04.