A number of 100 Mile House Wranglers players were called up recently by their British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL) affiliates.
Goalie Kristian Stead and forward Luke Santerno were part of the Merritt Centennials lineup for games last weekend, while forwards Donovan Law and Connor Sloan were in the lineup for the Prince George Spruce Kings.
Wranglers coach/general manager Doug Rogers says the moves represent a great opportunity for the players and validate the direction of the Wranglers organization with respect to player development.
“To have four players playing in the BCHL just 20 games into our inaugural season says volumes about the quality of players that 100 Mile House has representing the community.”
Wranglers goalie Nathan Warren is affiliated with the BCHL’s Alberni Valley Bulldogs.
Rogers says player development is an integral part of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League (KIJHL), which the Wranglers joined as an expansion club this season.
Although having key players potentially out of the lineup and on the ice for teams in different leagues in the middle of a season may seem like a contrary move in some respects, Rogers says it’s all part of the process.
“The point of bringing in young guys is to help develop them for the next level. The way I look at it is if we can get an opportunity for one of our guys at the next level, it produces another opportunity for a kid from somewhere else who wants to come and play Junior B.”
“It’s all driven by their hard work; we’re just trying to facilitate it for them and help them find their way.”
The KIJHL is one of three Junior B hockey associations in the province. Along with the KIJHL, top teams from the Pacific Junior Hockey League and the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League compete in the Cyclone Taylor Cup tournament, which decides the top Junior B team in the province. The Wranglers are the newest of 20 Junior B teams in the KIJHL.
The BCHL is a Junior A league that includes 16 teams, mostly located in the southern part of the province with Prince George the northern-most club.
Local hockey fans are also probably familiar with the Prince George Cougars and Kamloops Blazers, members of the Western Hockey League (WHL), a major junior league that includes 22 teams based in Western Canada and the Northwestern United States.
The WHL is part of the Canadian Hockey League, which oversees the highest level of junior hockey in Canada.