Thursday, July 30, 2015

Spruce Kings Acquire Luc Soares

The Prince George Spruce Kings are pleased to announce the acquisition of 19 year old forward Luc Soares from The Amherst Ramblers of The Maritime Hockey League in exchange for future considerations.

Forward Luc Soares, seen here in action against the Abitibi Eskimos at the Jus Jordan Arena in Iroquois Falls on Sept. 23, sits in the Top 10 in points and goals in his first season in the NOJHL. Soares has helped give the Gold Miners a balanced attack, with two-plus lines capable of putting the puck in the net.
Luc Soares, pictured left

The 5'10" 175lbs Soares is from Delta, B.C. and played last season for the Kirkland Lake Goldminers of the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League.  In 49 games for the Gold Miners Soares tallied 24 goals and 28 assists for 52 points plus 42 minutes in penalties. His playing rights had been traded to Amherst earlier this off season.

“Luc is a gifted offensive player with tremendous speed. He will provide some skill to an already strong and skilled group of forwards. He is a B.C. kid who is excited to be coming back to his home province to play" said Spruce Kings General Manager Mike Hawes.

Luc will join the rest of his Spruce Kings teammates when the team commences their Main Training Camp on August 24th at the coliseum.

(Press Release from the Prince George Spruce Kings)

Bloggers Note: "Spruce Kings Soares Past Competition" will most likely be used at some point this season on the blog

Friday, July 24, 2015

Spruce Kings Welcome Cooper Prechel

Cooper Prechel, Pictured Left
The Prince George Spruce Kings are excited to announce the commitment of 18 year old defenseman
Cooper Prechel to the team for the 2015/2016 season.

The 6’0” 180lb Prechel is from Penticton, B.C. and played last season for the Princeton Posse of The Kootenay International Junior Hockey League (KIJHL). Last season Cooper Prechel tallied 4 goals and 5 assists for 9 points plus 18 penalty minutes in 23 games played for the Posse.

“Cooper is a very solid player who plays a very good all-around game. He competes very hard, skates well, manages the puck well and can contribute in both ends of the ice. With the recent departure of Cole McCaskill to college hockey an opening on our backend was created and Cooper was someone that was very intriguing for me and the coaching staff.  He will play a big part in our team for the next few seasons” said Spruce Kings General Manager Mike Hawes.

Cooper 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

Sunday, July 12, 2015

McCaskill commits to Colorado College

The Prince George Spruce Kings are excited to announce that 19 year old defenseman Cole McCaskill has committed to a scholarship to start play next season with The Colorado College Tigers.

The Colorado College Tigers are an NCAA division 1 hockey program that plays in the very competitive Northern Collegiate Hockey Association (NCHA). Colorado College is located in Colorado Springs, Colorado, in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.

“We are very happy for Cole. He is a terrific player and a great young man who is very deserving of this scholarship. He came to our team part way through last season and immediately started playing key minutes, in all situations for us. We had planned to have Cole back next season leading our defense group, and he will be very hard to replace, but at the end of the day we are here to help these young men achieve their goals of moving on to the next level with scholarships in college hockey. Cole is an intelligent, poised young man with tons of hockey ability. He will do extremely well at Colorado College” said Spruce Kings General Manager Mike Hawes.

(Press release from the Prince George Spruce Kings)

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Nachbaur Goes Wild

The Prince George Spruce Kings would like to announce that they have traded 20 year old forward Daniel Nachbaur to the BCHL’s newest team, The Wenatchee Wild, in exchange for future considerations.

Nachbaur was acquired by the Spruce Kings on November 29th of last season from the Merritt Centennials. He tallied 2 goals and 2 assists for 4 points plus 12 penalty minutes in only 17 games played, after missing significant time with an injury after being acquired.

“Daniel was acquired last season to provide some energy and much needed depth to our forward group. He was able to do that although he was slowed by an unfortunate injury that limited his games played. He is a veteran BCHL player that Wenatchee is excited to add to their lineup” said Spruce Kings General Manager Mike Hawes.

Daniel and his new Wenatchee Wild teammates will be in Prince George to start the BCHL regular season with a double header at the Prince George coliseum on Friday September 11th and Saturday September 12th.

(Press Release from the Prince George Spruce Kings)

Not a Meek Acquisition

The Prince George Spruce Kings are excited to announce the acquisition of 19 year old defenseman Mitch Meek in a three team deal involving The Vernon Vipers and The West Kelowna Warriors.

In exchange for Meek the Spruce Kings have given up the BCHL/CHL list rights to 20 year old forward Luke Harrison to West Kelowna. West Kelowna had traded 20 year old defenseman Mackenzie Ferner to acquire Meek before trading him to Prince George.

Mitch Meek is a 6’0” 200lb right handed defenseman who calls Victoria, B.C. home. Last season Meek tallied 7 goals and 11 assists for 18 points and 38 penalty minutes split between The Vernon Vipers and The Victoria Grizzlies after an early season trade last season from Victoria to Vernon.

“Mitch is a veteran BCHL player with almost 150 games played. He is a top tier defenseman in our league who will come in here and play in all situations and provide tremendous leadership.  He joins a strong group of defenseman that will be the backbone of our team this season” said Spruce Kings General Manager Mike Hawes.

Mitch Meek is committed to NCAA division 1 Clarkson University for the 2016/2017 season.

(Press Release from the Prince George Spruce Kings)

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Returning Faces: Jake LeBrun

     Jake LeBrun scored a goal in the first game he ever played with the Prince George Spruce Kings. It was just a one game stint, but he certainly made the most of it. Fast forward three years, and LeBrun is now entering his fourth full year in the BCHL. After wearing an 'A' on his chest last year, he will be counted on to be a leader this year, and may even be wearing a different letter this time around. Not only is LeBrun a hard hitting power forward that likes creating room for his team mates, but he's also a home town Prince George talent. Having played his major midget career for the Cariboo Cougars, he's stuck with his hometown, and in an interview expressed how excited he is to play for the team in his fourth BCHL season. 

What's it like playing for your home town team?
It’s cool because everyone knows who you are, lots of the local hockey fans have watched you grow up playing bantam, and major midget. Then to be on the Spruce Kings now it’s cool everybody knows who you are and just being out in the community and people coming out to talk to you about being at the mall, or fans will come up to you can talk about the season, or all kinds of different things and I think that’s really cool. 

What do you like best about Prince George?
Definitely the outdoor stuff. You can drive fifteen minutes anyway and get to a lake so you can go swimming, fishing, or camping. I also like that there are just two completely different seasons. You can go from being eight degrees and cold and raining one day, to sunny and thirty degrees the next day. Where in the winter it can be minus 30 or two degrees.

What are your expectations for this season? 
Obviously I’m hoping to be a leader on the team, try to be a guy that everyone can look up to, and just do everything I can to help the team win and make it into the playoffs, and then see where we can go from there.

How did it feel beating Langley in the playoffs last season? 
We had such a big rivalry with Langley all year, and with my three years Langley has always been a team that we’ve been rivals with, and it was really nice to beat them in playoffs. They were pretty cocky about it too going in, and we were the underdog so it was pretty nice to beat them, and obviously winning the first series in a long time was great.

(Side Story from the interview about injuries during the playoffs last year)
I remember one time McCaskill was on the ice for like the first seven minutes of the third period. I just kept looking back and McCaskill was always on the ice. I was like “has he gotten off yet?” and he kept taking drinks out of the goalies water bottle every whistle, and stayed out there. 

Monday, July 6, 2015

Returning Faces: Braiden Epp

After managing 14 points in his first full season, Braiden Epp exploded last year, racking up 43 points in 53 games, and finished tied for second in the entire BCHL with 14 power play goals! Like most players, Braiden is expecting to only get better, and since he was born in Prince George, playing in his hometown is extra special.

Braiden talked over the phone about what winning Game 6 last year against Langley to move onto the second round was like, and what his goals are this season.

How did you feel during Game 6 last year? 
Unbelievable feeling. I couldn’t even hear the final buzzer it was so loud when the game ended, it was crazy.

Being from Prince George, what is the support like in the arena? 
It’s crazy. It’s just electric in the Coliseum every night. You know the fans are behind you every night so it’s just thrilling to play there.

What leadership role are you expecting to take on this season? 
Being a third year player, I think I’ll be leaned on pretty hard here to show the new guys what to do, and how the league works. Just lead by example pretty much.

How do you like all the long bus rides that are included in playing for Prince George? 
For me being from Prince George and playing minor hockey here I’ve pretty much lived on the bus my whole career so it doesn’t affect me personally as much, but some guys coming in not knowing what the trips are like, and having bus legs, but being on the bus that long we tend to bond pretty well, and get to know each other so that helps us in our favour.

Having played with him before, what are your thoughts on Connor Logan? 
Oh he could always score. I know him decently well, I played on his team one year when I lived over on the island, so we know each other.He was a skilled forward, and you could always count on him to score big goals. Some secondary scoring this year would be key. 

What is your main focus this year? 
I just want to win. All I care about. 

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.