ICE Training Camp 2000 – Roster Spots hard to come by

By Jeff Bromley

Now that the bevies of rookies have
moved on to make room for returning
veterans and up and comers looking to
make their mark on the 2000 edition of
the Kootenay ICE, one thing has
become abundantly clear – there isn’t
much room at the Kootenay ICE inn.
About 50 players will hit the pond at
Cranbrook’s Memorial Arena over the
weekend, including five holdovers from
Rookie camp who earned a longer look
from ICE brass at the Main camp held
Sept 1-4. Joining the Main camp is local
products Alex Staudt (Cranbrook),
Brayden Snopek (Cranbrook), Ryan
Mcleod (Fernie) along with Travis
Featherstone (Calgary) and Zac Fisher
(Trail). Although all five of these
prospects are considered longshots to
make the club, the experience will no
doubt help their development for future
ICE training camps.

Rookies– The one enduring quality of a
club that could be returning possibly 18
– 20 WHL veterans is that with a 24-
man limit to the teams’ roster, it pares
down dramatically the decision making
process that must be made in assessing
the 2-3 rookies (16 yr old’s) that the
club will in all likelihood carry with them
this season. North Delta B.C. product
Andy Thompson (6’3″ – 205lbs) and
Courtenay, B.C. native Adam Taylor
(6’0″ – 180lbs) are two names that you
should probably familiarize yourself with
as the two highly touted 1st and 2nd (7th
and 25th overall) 1999 Bantam Draft
picks are expected to be the front-
runners for the coveted rookie spots on
the 2000 edition of the Kootenay ICE.
The aforementioned Cranbrook native,
Alex Staudt (6’2″ – 170) should also
push for a freshman roster spot but
some feel that he is still another year
away. If his rookie camp performance is
any indication, Staudt shone in the last
Rookie camp inter-squad game, he
could make some noise.

17 yr old Familiar Faces – Out of last
season’s rookie crop, two of the three
will be expected to pick up their game
and hope for much more expanded roles
that they played with the club last
season. To expect more out of the other
sophomore is, to be blunt, a scary
thought. Besides the added motivation
of playing for another possible Memorial
Cup-bound team, Dan Blackburn
playing in his NHL draft year is
motivation overload for the Canmore,
Alta. native. How he handles the added
hype and pressure of being a possible
top ten NHL draft pick will hopefully be
only a small hurdle on his road to
stardom. Big years are expected from
his teammates Tyler Dyck and Jordan
Wallin. They were brought along slowly
last season and had limited ice-time.
These season both will be fully expected
to play major roles in the offense and
defense, respectively. Also battling for a
spot will be Strathmore, Alta. native
Kyle Sheen (6’1″ – 180). After the
exhibition of hustle and hitting this kid
put on in the three games he played last
season with the ICE, his roster spot will
be all but sewn up if he comes to camp
with the same intensity and tenacity.
Barring a complete turnaround in his
play from last season, Sheen will make
an impact on the club this year and no
doubt become a fan favorite. Big D-man
Derek L’Hirondelle (6’4″ – 210) could
also have an outside chance at sticking
with the club.

18 & 19 yr old Vets – In this
department, the ICE are certainly not
left wanting. This group, barring
inevitable trading activity with the
Twenty yr old situation will be the one
with the least amount of changes.
Familiar names such as Stoll, Jaffray,
Johnson, Hamula, Iannone, Sinclair,
Fischer, Beechey should all be on your
program come opening day. But there
are some questions to be raised with this
group. Will this be the year Cranbrook
native Kevin Livingston makes the club?
What about the status of Steve
McCarthy? Will he be back? If his
shoulder has healed, will he make the
NHL Blackhawks. Has he played his last
game for the ICE? – Stay tuned – In the
next month these questions and more
will be answered as opening day for the
WHL’s 2000-01 season draws nearer.