The 100 Mile House Wranglers are welcoming back a big piece from last season’s lineup with a big weekend coming up against their two top rivals in the Doug Birks Division.
At the Jan. 10 trade deadline, the Wranglers added to the roster Austin Turner, a 19-year-old, two-way player from Terrace, who had 36 points in 50 games last season, including 10 power play goals and two game-winning goals. Turner was playing defence this season for the Terrace River Kings of the Central Interior Hockey League.
Coach Dale Hladun says Turner is a smart player that can play both defence and forward and improve the Wranglers’ power play. Turner also holds the record for least penalty minutes in a Kootenay International Junior Hockey League season (zero minutes in 50 games in 2014-15).
“Austin knows our team so it’s an easy fit. He knows the billet system and he knows our community. I think it’s fantastic we got him.”
The Wranglers can make one more roster addition by Feb. 10. The local KIJHL club has clinched a playoff spot for the third consecutive year. They’re currently neck and neck with the Kamloops Storm at the top of the division with the Chase Heat on their heels in third place.
The Wranglers host Kamloops on Jan. 15 and meet the Heat in Chase on Jan. 16.
“We could end up first place or fighting for third,” says Hladun, emphasizing the importance of the upcoming games. “It’s playoffs again this weekend. The boys are healthy. The boys are hungry.”
Ryan Friesen put home the game-winner in a 2-1 win against the Princeton Posse in 100 Mile House on Jan. 8. A 16-year-old from Williams Lake, Cody Swan, assisted on the play in his first KIJHL game. Defenceman Jaydon Gilding also picked up an assist on the game-winning play. Alex Meeker, from Tate Page and Gilding, scored in the first period for 100 Mile House. Michael Lynch, a veteran forward, took player of the game honours filling in on the point for the Wranglers. Goalie Adam Derochie made 29 saves in the win.