Familiar Faces and Former Foes in Kootenay

By Jeff Bromley

It could be called an ironic twist of fate. It will most certainly be called the blockbuster of the year. Call it what you want but Kootenay fans weren’t the only ones surprised at the monumental trade involving the Kootenay ICE and the Swift Current Broncos. B.J. Boxma and Duncan Milroy, the two guys coming the other way, weren’t exactly expecting it. “I couldn’t believe it,” said former and now current ICE goaltender B.J. Boxma. “I even said to them ‘is this a joke?’. I was absolutely shocked.”

Duncan Milroy, the high-scoring, second round pick (37th overall) of the Montreal Canadiens in last season’s NHL Draft didn’t exactly see it coming either. “My reaction was that I was very disappointed at the beginning, to be honest,” said Milroy. “I haven’t really had time to think about it. We had to pack our bags right away to play here last night so I still really hadn’t had a chance to think about it.”

Boxma, who experienced success in Speedy Creek in backstopping the Broncos to the Eastern Conference Final last season, was somewhat let down that the club would trade him. “I was kind of disappointed from Swift Current’s standpoint,” said Boxma. “I thought there would’ve a been a little more loyalty as we went to the third round last year, the furthest they’ve went in eight years. I thought I would’ve been the man this year but (Broncos’ goalie Todd) Ford is the up and comer and possible NHL Draft pick and I guess they thought they had to get him into more games.”

At the cusp of his four-year long WHL career, Boxma has now assumed the role of undisputed, number one goalie with the Kootenay ICE. He may have achieved that goal in the most unorthodox of ways but nevertheless, he is the man that the ICE will now rest their WHL Championship hopes upon. “I’m looking forward to the opportunity here and playing lots. It’ll be good situation here,” said Boxma. Still, the irony of the whole situation wasn’t lost on the Edson, Alberta native. “Yeah, last year they couldn’t get much for me and let me go for a third round pick or something. Now they trade the captain Jaffray and Harvey, Rome, it kind of makes me feel good that they wanted me back. It’s good that I’m the guy they wanted and now that Blackburn isn’t coming back, hopefully, it’ll be good that they want me to be the guy this year and hopefully take them on a playoff run.”

Milroy played on the top line in his first game in an ICE uniform, scored a goal on his first shot and was an all-around force in the 3-2 loss to Spokane. The loss against the Chiefs notwithstanding, the prospect of playing with the high-powered offence of the ICE, complementing Milroy’s own offensive prowess, is an intriguing one. “It felt good,” said Milroy. “Playing with Shaun (Norrie) and Jarrett (Stoll) was great. Shaun’s a great worker and Jarrett’s one of the best players in the league. It was a fun time playing with those players and I hope I fit well with them during the year and I hope I fit in wherever they put me.”