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2021-2022 SEASON PREVIEW: EXPERIENCE COMING TOGETHER

Photo Credit: Tami Quan Photography

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 7th, 2021

WEST KELOWNA – The West Kelowna Warriors look forward to a veteran lineup which features some key returning players heading into the 2021-2022 season. Like most BCHL teams, the Warriors were highly affected by the lengthy shutdown of the league last year and wound up losing several key players who opted to head elsewhere for playing time. Despite losing important parts of their team, they still managed a respectable 8-10-1-1 record in the fiercely competitive Vernon Pod.

What’s even better is that the majority of the players they lost last year are returning to West Kelowna for the 2021-22 season. Players like John Evans, Pat Lawn, Charles-Alexis Legault and Felix Trudeau all chose to come back to the BCHL for another season. Combine that with an impressive group of new recruits and the Warriors outlook for the upcoming campaign looks bright. This Warriors club also features 7 locals from the Okanagan region.

Head coach Simon Ferguson is also back for his third season with the team giving us the details on the players returning from other teams as well as other recruits and acquisitions from the offseason.

FORWARDS

#27 Elan Bar Lev Wise

  • Entering 3rd Season with Warriors
  • 143 BCHL Games Played
  • Committed to Ohio State University (NCAA)
  • Hometown: Vancouver  B.C.

Elan Bar Lev Wise returns for his 3rd and final season in the BCHL. The veteran forward will heavily be relied on to lead the young core of the Warriors.

#13 Marcus Joughin

  • Entering 2nd Season with Warriors
  • Last Year: 23 points in 15 games played inside the Pod
  • Committed to Sacred Heart University (NCAA)
  • Hometown: Tecumseh, ON

Marcus Joughin was among the league leaders in rookie scoring during the pod season. The 20 year old also led the Warriors in points during the preseason.

#14 John Evans

  • Entering 2nd Season with Warriors
  • Last Season: Dubuque Fighting Saints (USHL)
  • Committed to the University of New Hampshire
  • Hometown: South Surrey, B.C.

A member of the BCHL’s All-Rookie Team in 2019-20, Evans burst onto the scene in a big way for the Warriors in his first year in the league, racking up 50 points in 57 games to lead his team in scoring and finish fourth among all rookies. After an impressive 15 points in 13 games during the Okanagan Cup exhibition season last fall, Evans departed for Dubuque of the USHL in January with the BCHL season up in the air and chipped in nine points in 22 games, but is back with the Warriors for the 2021-22 season.

Ferguson’s scouting report:

“John is a player who is exceptional at creating space and finding time. He’s got good vision which allows him to make great passes. He also has the ability to score some goals.”

 

#7 Felix Trudeau

  • Entering 1st Season with Warriors
  • Spent the Pod season with Amherst (MHL)
  • Committed to University of Maine (NCAA)
  • Hometown: Terrebonne, QC

Trudeau had four goals and one assist in 11 exhibition games for West Kelowna last year before he was sent to Amherst of the Maritime Junior Hockey League in February. Trudeau had nine points in nine regular-season games for the Ramblers and added another seven in five playoff games.

Ferguson’s scouting report:

“He’s a natural shooter. He’s also big and strong which allows him to protect the puck and get to the hard areas.”

 

#19 Chase Dafoe

  • Entering his 1st Season with Warriors
  • Last Season: Captain of the Trail Smoke Eaters
  • Hometown: Beverley, Mass.

Dafoe captained the Smoke Eaters in his second season with the team last year, notching eight points in 20 games in the Penticton Pod. Through his two-year BCHL career, he’s put up 28 points in 82 games. Dafoe was acquired by the Warriors in August in a three-team trade with Trail and the Blackfalds Bulldogs of the Alberta Junior Hockey League. He is the son of former NHL goaltender Byron Dafoe who also spent time in the BCHL playing for the Juan de Fuca Whalers from 1986 to 1988.

Ferguson’s scouting report:

“Chase is a big, smart player who uses the ice well. He plays a physical game. He can play both power play and penalty kill. He’s also really good on draws.”

Photo credits: Garrett James Photography (Evans, Dafoe), Dan Hickling (Roukounakis, Rubin, Lawn), Tami Quan (Legault, Trudeau)

#18 Nick Roukounakis

  • Entering 1st Season with Warriors
  • Last Year: US National Development Program
  • Committed to Boston University (NCAA)
  • Hometown: Pembroke, MA

Roukounakis did not get into any significant game action last year with Thayer due to COVID shutdowns, but managed to make the most of the time off, playing in eight games with the U.S. National Team Development Program. His last full season of prep hockey came in 2019-20 when he had 27 points in 26 games for Thayer to finish in the top-five in team scoring.

Ferguson’s scouting report:

“He’s a big power forward who moves very well. He has a good shot and is good at protecting the puck. He’ll have the ability to score some goals this year.”

 

 

#20 Tyler Cristall

  • Entering 3rd Season with Warriors
  • 79 BCHL Games Played
  • Career: 26 Goals, 32 Assists
  • Hometown: North Vancouver, B.C.

Since being acquired via trade with the Chilliwack Chiefs back in 2019, Cristall has been a top line forward for the Warriors. He spent majority of the preseason alongside John Evans and Chase Dafoe and is expected to be pushing the pace offensively for the Warriros this season.

#24  Cam Hicklin

  • Entering 2nd Season with Warriors
  • Last Season: (5G-2A) in 20 games in the Pod
  • Hometown: Kelowna, B.C.

Cam Hicklin came in as a new recruit before the pod season and immediately impressed with 5 goals scored.

#23  Riley Sharun

  • Entering 2nd Season with Warriors
  • Last Season: (5G-4A) in 20 games in the Pod
  • Hometown: West Kelowna, B.C.

Riley Sharun was also a breath of fresh air for the Warriors in the pod season, he also was never afraid to agitate the biggest players on the opposing team.

#12   Brennan Nelson

  • Entering 2nd Season with Warriors
  • Last Season: 12 games played in the Pod season
  • Hometown: Penticton, B.C.

Brennan Nelson was a workhorse during the pod season and was relied on up the middle when both Marcus Joughin and Elan Bar Lev Wise were out of the lineup.

#22 Damon Jugnauth

  • Entering 2nd Season with Warriors
  • Last Year: Played all 20 games in the Pod
  • Hometown: Calgary AB.

Damon Jugnauth is the Warriors unofficial spark plug. Head Coach Simon Ferguson is a fan of his speed, hard work and positivity on and off the ice.

#9 Carter Schmidt

  • Entering 2nd Season with Warriors
  • Last Season: 1 point per game in the Pod season
  • Hometown: Kelowna, B.C.

Carter Schmidt was out of the lineup for most of the pod season due to injury however showed his offensive prowess with 5 points in 5 games in the Pod Season. The 16 year old is expected to continue to push the pace offensively this coming season.

#17 Alexi Van Houtte-Cachero

  • Entering 1st Season with Warriors
  • Last Season: Danbury Hatricks (NAHL)
  • Committed to the University of Nebraska-Omaha (NCAA)
  • Hometown: Pointe-Claire, QC

Van Houtte-Cachero had three goals and three assists in 39 games for Danbury of the North American Hockey League last season.

Ferguson’s scouting report:

“He’s a player who plays with really good speed and physicality. He’s good on draws, but also good on the wing. He’s a versatile player. He can play in almost any scenario.”

 

DEFENSE

#21 Tyson Jugnauth

  • Entering 2nd Season with Warriors
  • Last Year: Led all rookie blue liners in scoring in the Pod
  • Committed to the University of Wisconsin (NCAA)
  • Hometown: Kelowna B.C.

The BCHL took notice when Tyson Jugnauth led all rookie defenders in scoring during the pod season. This year Jugnauth is expected to be among the league leaders in back end scoring.

#8 Dylan Brooks

  • Entering 2nd Season with Warriors
  • Last Season: Played 17 of 20 games in the Pod last season
  • Hometown: Chilliwack, B.C.

Dylan Brooks joined the Warriors during the Okanagan Cup in the Fall of 2020. During the time the former Fraser Valley Thunderbird was a much needed right handed shot on the back end. This season Brooks is among one of the deepest back end units in the BCHL.

#5 Charles Alexis Legault

  • Entering 1st Season with Warriors 
  • Last Year: Lincoln Stars (USHL)
  • Committed to Boston University (NCAA)
  • Hometown: Pierrefonds, QC

Legault had a goal and three assists in 10 Okanagan Cup games for the Warriors last fall. After heading south to play for Lincoln of the USHL in the new year, he put up five points in 23 games.

Ferguson’s scouting report:

“He’s one of the hardest-working players I’ve ever seen. He skates well and shoots well. We’re looking for him to have a big season.”

#11 Nick Ardanaz

  • Entering 3rd Season with Warriors
  • Last Year: (1G-9A) in 10 games
  • Committed to University of New Hampshire (NCAA)
  • Hometown: Langley, B.C.

Nick Ardanaz is playing for more than just himself and his team this year. On August 21st, Nick Ardanaz lost three of his close friends following a single car accident. The three players played at Delta Academy where Ardanaz and John Evans played their bantam and midget hockey. The tragedy affected the entire hockey community especially the entire Ardanaz family.

#10   Zach Reim

  • Entering 1st Season with Warriors
  • Last Season: Gentry Academy (USHS)
  • Hometown: North Oaks, M.N.

Reim is the cousin of former Warriors forward and current Air Force Academy junior Willie Reim. He played the previous three seasons at Gentry Academy in St. Paul, Minn. Last year, as captain of the team, he led Gentry in scoring from the back end with 36 points in 19 games.

Ferguson’s scouting report:

“Zach has good speed and also defends well. He’s shown that he possesses a good shot and he has the ability to play a physical game as well.”

#16 Isaish Norlin

  • Entering 1st Season with Warriors
  • Last Year: Gentry Academy (USHS-MN)
  • Career: 17 Goals, 36 Assists
  • Hometown: Minneapolis, MN

Isaiah is the younger brother of former Warriors forward and current Air Force Academy junior Bennett Norlin. Last season, Isaiah was teammates with fellow Warriors recruit Zach Reim at Gentry Academy. In 2020-21, Norlin put up 27 points in 19 games.

Ferguson’s scouting report:

“He’s a big, right-shot defenceman who is steady and skates well. He’s able to transport the puck up the ice and also make good first passes.”

#6 Pat Lawn

  • Entering 1st Season with Warriors
  • Last Year: Connecticut Jr Rangers (NCDC)
  • Committed to Bentley University (NCAA)
  • Hometown: Waltham, MA

Lawn played nine games for the Warriors last fall in the extended training camp season and chipped in one assist. He left to play for the Jr. Rangers of the NCDC in January where he had a goal and four assists in 14 games. The year prior, he had 16 points in 29 games for The Rivers School in Weston, Mass.

Ferguson’s scouting report:

“Pat is a physical defenceman who can move his feet and make good passes. He’s great at playing the body in one-on-one situations.”

#4 Tyler Rubin

  • Entering 1st Season with Warriors
  • Last Year: Belmont Hill School (USHS Prep)
  • Committed to Princeton University (NCAA)
  • Hometown: Wayland, MA

Rubin is another player who did not get to play meaningful games last year due to shutdowns in Massachusetts. The year prior, he led all Belmont Hill defensemen in scoring with 23 points in 30 games to finish third among all his teammates.

Ferguson’s scouting report:

“Tyler is a mobile defenseman who can make a good first pass or can skate it up the ice himself. He also defends exceptionally well.”

 

GOALIES

#33 Johnny Derrick

  • Entering 3rd Season with Warriors
  • 54 BCHL Games Played
  • Last Year: 3.16 GAA .910 Save %
  • Hometown: Victoria, B.C.

Johnny Derrick is entering his 3rd and final season of Junior hockey. Head Coach Simon Ferguson fully expects Derrick to take the bulk of the starts heading into this season.

#37 Justin Katz

  • Entering 1st Season with Warriors
  • Last Year: Deerfield Academy (USHS Prep)
  • Hometown: Mont-Royal, QC

Katz only got into a pair of games last year in his second season with Deerfield Academy, but had an impressive .946 save percentage and a 1.50 goals-against average. He also spent time with the Cape Cod Whalers 16U AAA team and posted a 7-0-1 record in eight appearances with a 1.43 goals-against average.

Ferguson’s scouting report:

“He’s a steady young goalie who shows really high potential. He has the ability to push our starting goalie this year.”

 

The Warriors are back in action Saturday, October 9th against the Prince George Spruce Kings. Puck drop at 7:00pm from Royal LePage Place in West Kelowna. The Warriors will honour the firefighters that kept their community safe last August. Tickets are available online at WestKelownaWarriors.ca. The game will also be broadcast live on HockeyTV and  the BCHLWarriors Mixlr feed.