The Words of 4 Making the Jump to A

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

The Campbell River Storm Junior Hockey club has built a program that embraces the development of the players that come through its system.

Much like the season before, numerous young men from the 2015-16 campaign have made the jump to Junior A or college hockey. Gage Colpron (U of Alberta – Augustana), Jake Mullen (U of Central Oklahoma), Braeden Cyra (UVic) and Ryan Grills (UVic) will be playing University hockey. Four of their teammates will be playing Junior A and we caught up with them to get their perspective on playing in Campbell River and their goals for the future.

Dylan McCann - Kindersley Klippers - SJHL

"Coming to Campbell River was one of the best decisions I have made in my entire hockey career. The entire organization is first class from the volunteers to the coaching staff. Lee, Mike and Enzo I can't thank you guys enough. Campbell River is truly a one of a kind hockey town, I have never seen fans care so deeply about a team before and that was something special to be a part of. I'd also like to thank my billets Billie and Andrew for welcoming me into their home as well as their family. I chose Kindersley because they have the same winning mentality as the Storm, as well as the deep community support. It's always been a goal of mine to play junior A and I'm thankful for my time in Campbell River helped me achieve that goal."

Keenan Scardina - Kindersley Klippers - SJHL

"For me Campbell River exceeded my expectations in every way possible. The coaching staff taught me a lot on and off the ice. I believe they all have made me a better player and person. I've also made many great friendships that'll last a lifetime with the great group of guys we had in that locker room this past year. With all that being said, my favourite part of playing in CR this past season was the fans and community. Game in and game out you guys where there packing the Brindy, cheering us on throughout. Even when we went through some rough patches, the support remained the same and it truly felt unbelievable to be a part of a team that is loved by so many. The final series against Victoria was the best experience I've ever had playing the game I love. Even though we lost, nothing felt better than playing in front of over a thousand fans all excited waiting for that next goal. I'm already missing it and will continue too in the future. Next year I'll be playing for Kinderley's Junior A team, the Klippers. I'm very excited for what lies ahead in my hockey career and the reason why I've chosen to move on is to further my opportunity of getting a scholarship, whether it's to the United States or in Canada. I really believe that getting an education through hockey is the best thing a hockey player could ever ask for. I know Kindersley will help me continue my growth as a player, as well as a person. Thank you Campbell River you will be missed! Also big shout out to the Kolbeins' family for the great hospitality this past year! I couldn't have asked for a better billet family."

Trevor Bottomley - Trail Smoke Eaters - BCHL

"Campbell River has been like a second home to me for the last two years. The community is so supportive of the team, by far some of the best fans in Junior B. The team has always been a close group being that we spend every day together. There aren't many teams who get to be on the ice together all the time and get the coaching to go with it. I have chosen to go play for the Trail Smoke Eaters because I believe it's the best place to further my hockey career."

Josh Coblenz - Powell River Kings - BCHL

"Coming into the Campbell River Storm program there was an incredible amount of mixed emotions running through my head. With it being my home town and the team I grew up watching, I was not only overwhelmed with excitement, but also a sense of uncertainty and nervousness, being unsure if I had made the right decision. From a personal stand point, entering the room for the first time was probably one of the scarier things I've done. Seeing greats such as Feeney and Colpron was humbling and definitely made you feel small at first, leaving you questioning yourself if you really fit in. Those two were probably the most influential to me in making the jump to Junior hockey and that was pretty surreal considering they were who I learned from, but everyone I played with in that room was also very special, and they, as well as Lee and the coaching staff made that transition to new territory seamless. Wasn't long before I realized how first class this organization is run. Although it may sound cliché, it really is the truth. Everyone from the ownership to volunteers, fans and sometimes even my own teammates spoiled me from day one. They make sure you have everything in place in order to perform, whether it be food on the bus, brownies post game, the 1000+ fans cheering you on, or even 20 year old Brendan Enns doing the laundry (still can't believe it). Everyone has their role in making this the best Junior B program in Canada and they do it to perfection. Definitely hard to put into words how much you really appreciate all the hard work everyone involved puts in, and although difficult to believe, sometime that goes forgotten during the year. It truly is something you just don't really realize how good you had it till it's gone. Hockey wise, the program put together by Lee is pro level. You work out and skate every day, as well as game day skates. The coaching staff is as good as it gets at the Junior B level. A lot of knowledge got passed down to me, with Lee and Mike Wilson helping myself (to develop) into a more well-rounded player, and sharper offensively. Practices are always high tempo and a lot of fun (unless battle Monday), and games are always a blast, as long as you walk away with a win at the end of the night. I'd start with the fan support but it's something you can't put into words and have to live to really understand it. The fans electrify the stands during games and you're treated like royalty by them. Let’s just leave it at not many junior players get recognized walking around town unless you're in CR, and for that I cannot thank the fans enough for making my time memorable. I've made the decision to continue playing hockey next year with the Powell River Kings. This decision was easy as it is professionally run with the expertise of a phenomenal coach in Kent Lewis. When I saw the players they had lined up for the upcoming season as well as a program that closely resembles that of Campbell River’s, it was impossible to say no. I'll be joining a few ex-Storm players over there also, in what are the hopes of making another memorable hockey year.

My time in CR was amazing and although I can't speak for the future, I truly believe my time in CR will be some of the golden years of my hockey career and I can't thank the ownership, volunteers, coaching staff and fans enough for that.