Khale Skinner has been a successful addition to the 100 Mile House Wranglers, scoring 13 goals in 11 games. (File photo - 100 Mile Free Press)

Athlete in Focus: Khale Skinner of the 100 Mile House Wranglers

Not every player can come into a new team mid-season and explode the way Khale Skinner has for the 100 Mile House Wranglers. In 11 games, Skinner has scored 13 goals and five assists.

Hailing from Sylvan Lake, Alta., Skinner started playing hockey as a four-year-old.

“My dad put me in skates and forced me to play hockey and I just fell in love with it,” he said.

Skinner has played for a number of teams before coming to the Wranglers, including the Weyburn Red Wings (Jr. A) in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League. He also played for the Blackfalds Wranglers and Red Deer Vipers of the Heritage Junior B Hockey League.

At the beginning of this season, Skinner joined the Columbia Valley Rockies of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League – the same league the 100 Mile House Wranglers are in. As a member of the Rockies, Skinner scored 10 goals and 14 assists in 24 games. Despite being a point-per-game player, the Rockies traded him to the Wranglers for a “future” (meaning either a player or financial compensation that has yet to be decided on) just before the Christmas break.

“It was a lot,” said Skinner on the transition. “It was a pretty difficult starting from day one with a bunch of new guys and they all kind of had their bonds already from the start of the year. It took a few weeks to get used to it but I love it now.

On paper, people wouldn’t be able to notice that Skinner may have had any difficulty moving onto a new roster in the middle of a season, even though he did get a hefty six-game suspension for head contact in his first game with his new team.

In the 11 games he has played with the Wranglers though, he certainly has had an impact. Improving on his point-per-game from with the Rockies, the right-handed forward has scored 13 goals and five assists.

“I would say I started off on the Long and Page line and we weren’t getting much chemistry, and then Duner put me on with Kowblick and Bootsma and kind of just sparked some chemistry and I’ve just been consistently putting the puck in the net and things are coming together,” said Skinner about his form.

Skinner said he’s getting close to his personal goals this season. He’s only two goals away from scoring 25 goals this season and he would like to get 50 points by the end of the season. With only three games in the regular season remaining, Skinner sits at 42 points.

But what he’s really looking for his bettering his defensive game.

“I want to work on my defensive game to so I can be a reliable defensive forward for the boys too in playoffs.”

Skinner and the Wranglers will start their first round of playoffs against the Chase Heat.

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