The Campbell River Storm Junior Hockey Club is proud to announce the commitment of six players from last year’s championship team to various Junior ‘A’ squads around Western Canada.
Head Coach and General Manager Lee Stone says it’s any amazing accomplishment, not only for the players involved but also for the entire Storm organization.
“It’s a very special feeling to see these young men accomplish their individual goals of moving on to the next level of junior hockey. All season we stressed focusing on the team goal of winning the Western Canadian Championship and individual success would then follow. It shows that the system works, and all of these young men will hold Campbell River dearly in their hearts for years to come as they move on not only to Junior ‘A’ hockey but hopefully collegiate hockey too. Each one of these young men was such an integral part of our success this season both on and off the ice, and we are thrilled to congratulate them!”
Following is a list of the players involved, the teams they signed with, and their personal comments.
• Connor Logan (Forward)
Prince George Spruce Kings, BCHL
“I had never won any tournaments or anything like that before so, for me, to win the VIJHL Championship was a significant accomplishment in itself. Then, to win Cyclone and Keystone was icing on the cake. “The Storm program is so well structured, practicing nearly every day and training 2-3 times a week is huge. It’s a Junior ‘A’ program in the VIJHL. Being on the ice that much gives you time to work on things you would not be able to with other Junior ‘B’ teams. It really takes your game to the next level.
“I’m definitely going to miss how close the team and the community are in Campbell River. Everyone has your back. You are surrounded by so many good people and it will be sad to walk away, but I’m also excited to start a new chapter in my hockey career.”
• Gavin Rauser (Forward)
Powell River Kings, BCHL
“Winning Westerns (Keystone Cup) couldn’t have felt any sweeter, especially seeing firsthand how the team struggled the two seasons prior. I think we all knew we were capable of doing it, but it literally felt unbelievable when the final buzzer sounded.
“We (The Storm) developed a full 200 foot game. Going into my sixteen year old season, I was more of an offensive-minded player. Lee (Stone) helped me turn my single offensive game into a full three zone player, and helped me establish the kind of player I really am.
“With Campbell River being my home town, there’s a pile of things I’m going to miss about it. But with the Storm, there is no other organization that can create a family environment like they do. The fans, owners, coaches, and fellow players all contribute to making it the best junior experience a player could ask for, and I can only hope that my endeavors in Junior ‘A’ hockey make it an experience that comes half as close to the way the Storm has treated me” • Andy Stevens (Defense)
Powell River Kings, BCHL
“It was an amazing experience to win three championships with the Storm last year. It meant a lot to me to bring those championships back to Campbell River since it’s my hometown and I grew up watching the Storm. I thought the fans really deserved those championships for being as great as they are.
“Playing for the Storm helped me achieve my goal of playing Junior ‘A’ by being a first class organization with an excellent staff and group of volunteers that make it all happen. All the ice and gym time really helped develop my game and get it to the next level.
“The things that I will miss most about Campbell River are my family, the ‘Brindy’ and the amazing fans.”
• Trevor Bottomley (Defense)
Brooks Bandits, AJHL
“Our teams’ goal this year wasn’t to just win our league, it was to win Keystone. It means a lot to actually achieve this goal. It meant even more to bring the Keystone Cup to the Island for the very first time.
“Playing with a great organization such as the Storm helped me get to Junior ‘A’ hockey. The coaching staff made connections to various teams to help our players get there. That, along with everyday practices and a great team, is what led to my jump to the next level.
“I’m going to miss everyone involved with the team and organization. But the thing I will miss the most is the supportive crowds who filled the ‘Brindy’ every Friday night.”
• Riley Welyk (Goaltender)
Notre Dame Hounds, SJHL
“Winning a championship is the goal of every team from the start of the season, and to be able to make it all the way and win three championships in one year is the most satisfying thing a player can do. It’s what you work for every year.
“Coming to the Storm was an incredible opportunity for me, especially to step in at an important time of the year. I think it’s safe to say I started a bit shaky, but Lee and the entire coaching staff worked with me, realized my potential and put faith in me. That changed my game completely. I was playing with more confidence and was able step up to help give us a chance throughout the playoffs. That’s probably the biggest thing that got me noticed by different teams and committed to a Junior ‘A’ team.
“What I will miss most are the people and the beauty of CR. I made a lot of good friends there, not only with the team, but with people from school. Everyone is down to earth and I made memories that will last forever … bonfires on the beach, disc golf, venturing through the trails and more.
“It was a special group of guys and will definitely be one of my most memorable experiences in hockey.”
• Tyler Welsh (Forward) Victoria Grizzlies, BCHL
“It means a lot to be able to win and achieve our goal which we set at the start of the season. It was even more special because of the group of guys in the dressing room. We were truly a team and I think that’s why we were so successful. I’ll always remember this season and I’m glad we could bring the hardware back to our deserving fans.
“The Storm definitely helped me in making the jump to Junior ‘A’. I was able to adjust to playing against older players and also living away from home. The organization is run like a Junior ‘A’ franchise with practices and workouts almost every day and that helped me improve tremendously.
“I’ll miss the atmosphere of playing in Campbell River, from the fans, to the whole staff, and all the players. The thing I will miss most, though, is playing at the ‘Brindy’ in front of all the Campbell River fans.”