By Mark Berry
Special to the Mirror
“The VIJHL has come a long way, earning its reputation as one of the more dynamic Junior B hockey leagues in Canada. Known for its fast-paced and competitive games, this weekend all nine teams put their top young talent on display in the most exciting building the league has to offer, the Rod Brind’Amour Arena in beautiful Campbell River.”
That’s how a Comox Valley Glacier Kings official described Sunday’s upcoming VIJHL Prospects Game at the Brindy.
On display will be the league’s most talented 16-18 year olds who are looking at a shot of making it to the next levels, Junior A, Major Junior or college.
“This won’t be your typical all-star game, lacking intensity, it’s a showcase for players who are committed to advancing their hockey careers and, in many cases, eventually earning scholarships,” says Campbell River Storm General Manager Lee Stone who is hosting the rejuvenated event Sunday afternoon at 2:30.
Campbell River fans will have many familiar faces to cheer on as a league high nine Storm players have made the roster along with three more chosen as alternates. Leading the list are former Tyees Dawson Frank and Jalen Price along with Pearce Messer, Kyle Kaufmann, Ryan Butler, Brett Kinley, Logan Cursley, Aiden Sutherland and Timon Prexler. Also on the roster as alternates are Reid Lindsay, Ethan Schmunk and Cody Savey.
“It’s great to have this event back after a six-year absence,” says Stone, “it was time, the league could have filled four rosters with qualified players. This isn’t just an opportunity for the league to show off our young talent but to also display the great hockey programs we’re running up and down the Island. The fans can expect an exciting afternoon of fast paced skilled hockey.”
Earlier in the week, the VIJHL announced the coaching staff. On the North side, Curtis Toneff from the Nanaimo Buccaneers will be bench boss. He’ll be flanked by Jesse Hammill from the Oceanside Generals and Stone from the Storm. Representing the South will be Suneil Karod from the Victoria Cougars, Tyler Matheson from the Westshore Wolves and Sam Waterfield from the Saanich Braves.”
Admission to the game will be $10.