Spencer Horning

Kelowna Chiefs rookie defenceman Spencer Horning in action in January 2019 while still playing minor hockey with the Central Okanagan midget zone team.

KIJHL play is paused into January, but there were plenty of interesting storylines that emerged in the early stages of the regular season this past fall.

That includes the play of Spencer Horning, who has turned heads in the Kelowna Chiefs organization.

“Spencer was an AP for us last season and we were only able to get him into one game,” says Chiefs coach Ken Law. “We knew he would play an integral role for us this season and he has made amazing growth since training camp.”

The Chiefs made him a centre and he was a natural with his vision and a complete 200-foot game.

“He has worked his way up to our top centre and we have confidence in putting him up against other teams' top lines and know he will be solid in all zones.”

Speaking of all zones, Tenzin Bogardis was flexible when he approached North Okanagan Knights coach Dean McAmmond about positions on the team during the off-season.

The Lake Country product prefers playing forward, but offered to play defence if it gave him a better chance of earning a spot.

“He’s quite offensive. He could be one of our top forwards,” McAmmond said with laugh as Bogardis has two goals and three points in three games.

Osoyoos Coyotes coach Carter Rigby in his recruitment drive decided to take a chance on Levi Lamotte of Cadillac, Sask., which is just outside of Swift Current. Rigby learned about Lamotte through his contacts from when he played for the Broncos. Lamotte played senior AA last year and Rigby didn’t know what he was going to get.

“He’s a guy that at 18 years old is a great kid. A good teammate,” says Rigby. “He’s a worker. He shows up every day and battles and competes. He’s good in the draw.  He wants to be a player. He’s turned into a very good penalty killer and is very defensively sound.”

Curtis Gould has impressed the Princeton Posse. The 17-year-old local split last season between major midget and the zone AA team.

“We had big expectations for him coming into the year, but we’ve been really impressed with his energy and work ethic he has brought,” says Posse coach-GM Mark McNaughton.

“Even just in our three games, he’s got some junior A interest and guys who are starting to watch him.”

Gould is showing he can be a physical presence on the back end already. Between that and his skating ability, he’s shown he’s ready to play junior hockey.

Ethan Grover, 20, has been leaned on by the Summerland Steam to bridge the gap between previous seasons and coaches to help create an atmosphere and culture that is inclusive, encouraging and operates with a high level of integrity and accountability.

“This being his fourth year in the league, it’s a true testament to his commitment this year to returning and helping make the Steam a better place to play than when he first arrived,” says Steam coach-GM Nick Deschenes.

“With the weight of his peers for guidance and support, he has also been able to be a big offensive contributor to the start of our season.”

Grover leads the Steam with two goals and five points in three games. Last season, he  returned to the Steam following a stint with the Manitoba Junior Hockey League’s Neepawa Natives.