Friday, July 3, 2015

Returning Faces: Cole McCaskill

After two injury riddled starts, Cole McCaskill is ready to start this season off healthy (knock on wood). The defenseman was a star for the Spruce Kings last year after coming over in a January trade. In just 22 games, he scored 17 points which nearly beat his previous high of 19 points in more than double 47 games. McCaskill is excited to start this year off right, with what should be a very tough defensive core with several key members returning from last year, and the additions of Adam Brubacher, and Stephen Penner.

In a recent interview, Cole talked over the phone about this coming season, and the experience of winning Game Six against Langley last year.

What are your plans for the off-season? 

There’s always training, hockey is a year round business, so training almost every day. There’s lot of beautiful golf courses up here in Kamloops, so lots of golf, and keeping busy swinging the clubs. There’s a couple lakes nearby, so I’ll heading out there.

What do you expect from yourself this year? 

I’d like to keep up that high scoring play, and also really be a leader this year, and help grow the young guys into good defencemen. Hopefully it turns into a winning hockey team that goes far into the playoffs.

How do you like the new additions of Brubacher and Penner? 

I think we’re going to be a much older, defensive minded, and strong defense core. There are lots of guys with games under their belts. Last year we had lots of injuries, [Ryan] Fritz was injured, he couldn’t play as much, and I think it started to really hurt us. We were rolling four defensemen some games, so I think having a big defense core like that, with lots of guys wanting ice time will be huge. 

Favourite NHL Team? 

The Pittsburgh Penguins. 

What are your thoughts on the Kessel trade? 

I’m pretty happy for there to be a goal scorer to play with Crosby, he needs that.

How do you think the playoff experience from last year will help the team?

I think it’s going to be good because obviously it’s our goal to win a championship, the Fred Page Cup, and represent the BCHL out at the Western Canada Cup and RBC Cup. Having some playoff experience, and winning a series, and it was a tough against Langley so all the guys who played, and were a part of that are going to be huge in the playoffs coming up, and I think that experience is going to pay off for us.

What was your highlight of last year? 

Game six against Langley was a pretty special moment. Being successful against those guys and sending them home for the year felt pretty good.

What have you heard about your new coach? 

He’s actually from Kamloops too, so he’s spent a little bit of time here in the summer. We’ve met up a lot, and I think we’re both really excited to get back to PG this year and get this team rollin. I think he especially wants get ready early right out of camp, and just start playing.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Returning Faces: Cole Todd

As the oldest member of the Prince George Spruce Kings, Cole Todd will be heavily leaned on this season both on and off the ice. Coming back for his third season with the team, Todd put up impressive numbers last year, and knows that he will need to boost those once again if he wants to earn a scholarship for down in the states.

In an interview, Todd talked about the past season, his plans for the summer, and little bit about himself.

How did you feel about last season?

I thought last year was a pretty good learning experience. We had a pretty strong team, and injuries did catch up with us but that’s not an excuse for anything. It was really nice to get over that first round because I know we’re the second team in ten years to do it, and I know the City of Prince George, and the fans really enjoyed it. Going into this year we know we can get past that first round, and we know what it takes to move on. 

What are the plans for this summer? 

Just got back from Hawaii. Hanging out with friends and family. Heading up to the Okanagan for a week, and then back to hockey. We have a cabin up on the lake in Vernon, so I get to have a couple days off there which is nice. 

Who's your favourite NHL team and why? 

I like the Washington Capitals with all their skill and speed, and the way Ovechkin plays. Barry Trotz has turned him into an all around player. He scores, he makes plays, he hits, and he’s not afraid to go to the dirty areas. That’s really appealing, and I try to look up to him, and how he plays the game. Then with LA, I watch Jeff Carter, and all those guys play, and they play a big man's game every night which helps them dominate in the West. 

With the addition of the Wenatchee Wild that means a twelve hour bus ride there. How are you feeling about all the bus rides this year?

It’s going to be long, but I enjoy it. There’s team bonding, and you get to hangout with the guys. I know some guys don’t like the long trips, but it’s something we embrace. We like to go on the road, and to go travelling, and it’s part of Prince George, plus it gives us the advantage in the long run for the playoffs and when teams have to travel.

 What are you expecting out of yourself this season? 

I guess I’m the oldest on the team, if not the oldest. I want to be looked at as a leader, and just lead the team on and off the ice. There are other guys that are twenty year olds, and other guys that are leaders, and just because you don’t have a letter on your jersey doesn’t mean you can’t be a leader, but you want to be looked at to lead the team in those tough times, and you want the rookies to look up to you, and know what’s expected on the team. 

What do you know so far of new coach Chad van Diemen?

I met Chad when he was first announced as the new coach up in Prince George, and I kind of got to talk to him during the Spring Camp. One of my good friends Jarid Lukosevicius who I played with since I was like seven years old played for Powell River, and he got coached by Chad so I kind of talked to Jarid, and Jarryd Leung who was traded to Prince George this past season was also coached by Chad in Powell River, so I kind of know a little bit about Chad, and I’m pretty excited. He’s got good connections down south, and he’s going to make us work, and hold the guys accountable in the dressing room which is a thing we need. 

Monday, June 29, 2015

2015/16 Schedule Released

The stage is set for the Spruce Kings. With the 2015/16 schedule being sent out this past Friday, the team now can plan for the coming season.

Things will kick off at home, as the newest members to the BCHL, the Wenatchee Wild, play Prince George at home September on the 11th, and 12th.
The team will close things out playing some important games, as eight of the final nine games will be against teams within the division. December18th to January 10th (with the Christmas break in between) will mark the teams longest road stretch playing eight games in a row away from home. The Coliseum will host it's longest stretch right after that though, as the Spruce Kings play from the 14th of January to the 6th of February at home.

For the full schedule, click here

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Connor Logan joins the Spruce Kings

The Prince George Spruce Kings are excited to announce the commitment of 19 year old forward
(Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Connor Logan to the team for the 2015/2016 season.

The 6’0” 175lb Logan is from Victoria, B.C. and played last season for the Cyclone Taylor Cup and Keystone Cup championship team, The Campbell River Storm of The Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League (VIJHL). 
Last season Connor Logan tallied 25 goals and 39 assists for 64 points in 40 games played split between The Peninsula Panthers and The Campbell River Storm after an early season trade to Campbell River. In 2013/2014 with Peninsula Connor tallied 28 goals and 47 assists for 75 points in 48 games played.
“Connor is a gifted offensive player who prides himself on hard work. His skills and work ethic will allow him to transition well into our league. He’s also a top notch individual who will fit in well with our group. It’s a good thing anytime you can add a player with Connor’s attributes to your lineup” said Spruce Kings General Manager Mike Hawes.
Connor will join the rest of his Spruce Kings teammates in mid August as they prepare for the team’s main training camp which will begin August 24th.
(Press Release from the Prince George Spruce Kings)

In a brief 10 game stint with the Powel River Kings last season (eight in the regular season, two in the playoffs), Logan tallied one assist.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

From Sugar Kings to Spruce Kings

The Prince George Spruce Kings are excited to announce the commitment of 19 year old defenseman Adam Brubacher to the team for the 2015/2016 season.

Adam Brubacher
Photo from Elmira Sugar Kings website
Brubacher is a 1995 born player who hails from Elmira, Ontario. The 6’4” 205lb defenseman has played for his hometown Elmira Sugar Kings of the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League (GOJHL) for the past three seasons. Last season he tallied 12 goals and 33 assists for 45 points while patrolling the blue line for the Sugar Kings.
 “Adam is a big, strong veteran defenseman who is very good in both ends of the ice.  He will provide a lot of stability on the back end for us and will fit in well with an already strong group of returning defenseman. We’re fortunate because it’s not often that you can add a veteran defenseman with a combination of size, strength and a tremendous offensive upside. Adam is also a terrific young man who will fit in well with the core values of our organization” said Spruce Kings General Manager Mike Hawes.
Adam will join the rest of his Spruce Kings team mates in the middle of August as they prepare for the team’s main training camp which will begin August 24th.
(Press release from the Prince George Spruce Kings)

Monday, June 8, 2015

Welcome Corey Hoffman

The Prince George Spruce Kings are excited to announce the commitment of 19 year old forward
Corey Hoffman to the team for the 2015/2016 season.

The 5’9” 165lb Hoffman is a native of Syosset, New York and played last season for the Odessa Jackalopes of the North American Hockey League where he tallied 10 goals and 22 assists for 32 points in 34 games played. He is committed to Cornell University for the 2016/2017 season. The Cornell Big Red men's ice hockey team is an NCAA division 1 program that competes in the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) and is based in Ithaca, New York.

“Corey is a very talented player who will step into our lineup and inject some speed, skill and offensive ability.  He is also a tremendous young man who will fit in well with our group. He will have some talented forwards to play with, returning from last year’s team, which will help him develop and prepare for college hockey” said Spruce Kings General Manager Mike Hawes.

Corey will join the rest of his Spruce Kings team mates in mid August as they prepare for the team’s main training camp which will begin August 24th.

Please watch for more exciting player recruitment news in the coming days and weeks as the 2015/2016 squad is assembled.

For more information please contact the Spruce Kings office at 250-564-1747.

(Press release from the Prince George Spruce Kings)

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Adam Maglio: Spruce Kings new assistant coach

Adam Maglio
Photo from UBC Thunderbird athletics page
Adam Maglio is the next piece to the puzzle in Prince George.

Today it was announced that the Nelson, BC native will be joining the Spruce Kings for the 2015-2016 BCHL season as assistant coach. After playing in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League for two years, he played in the NCAA for two years with Morrisville State College, and finally moved back to UBC where he spent two years in the CIS. 

As any other coach would do, Adam then moved over to Hong Kong where he directed a hockey program for two years. Last season he made the move back to the Lower Mainland where he coached his old team at UBC. 

I had the opportunity to chat with Adam, and get his thoughts on this coming season.

What are you most looking forward to this season in coaching the Spruce Kings?

“I’m personally really looking forward to coaching in the junior ranks. It’s a little bit of a different situation than coaching at the university level, so on my end I’m really excited on working with Mike [Hawes] and Chad [van Diemen] and developing our players.”

The BCHL is a league that has a large focus on development. How do you think you can help the players on this team develop as a recent player yourself? 

“From an off ice perspective it’s preparing them for time management, a level of fitness they need to play at that level, and it’s just a transition going into the college ranks from a mental standpoint.  I think from an on ice perspective, integrating the right systems and how to play the game the right way, knowing how they’re going to move into a university level, and how they’re going to be coached at that level is important too.” 

It's going to be both your's and Chad's first season coaching in Prince George, how do you expect that change to be both for the team, and yourselves? 

“I think it’ll be a good transition, I know coming in to the first year on the job you’re definitely really excited, and I know we’re both really excited about the game. The BCHL is a really good level, and there are good players. I think we’ll bring a lot of energy, and for me there are some learning curves as well with working in a different league and a different level of player. Chad’s been there, so he holds the experience at this level and that’ll serve him well, and serve us well as a coaching staff.”

What is your best trait as a coach? 

“I think I’m a real good communicator, I think that’s really key for me having open lines of communication with the players. Sending the right message and building the culture we want as a staff.” 

What are your thoughts on Prince George? 

“Prince George is a hockey community so I think as a coach, and as a player it’s somewhere you want to play. There’s a lot of community support, and it’s growing. It seems like a real good place to be.”