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KIJHL teams struggle to finalize rosters after BCHL pushes back start of regular season

The Nelson Daily Sports
By The Nelson Daily Sports
September 11th, 2011

By Bruce Fuhr, The Nelson Daily Sports

A decision by B.C. Hockey League governors to delay the start of the regular season has thrown a serious monkey wrench into the way Kootenay International Junior Hockey League coaches select their teams.

In years past BCHL rosters would have been set by the second week of September allowing KIJHL teams the opportunity to fill out their respective teams with released players.

However, this season BCHL brass decided to delay the start of the season until September 23rd a full 13 days later than the start of the 2010-11 campaign.

“All of us Junior B teams are waiting for our vets or kids we’ve talked and recruited to when they are coming down the pipe,” Leaf coach and GM Frank Maida told The Nelson Daily Sunday afternoon following practice at the NDCC Arena.

Maida has committed to 16 skaters and one goalie — veteran puck stopper Andrew Walton along with a handful of 17-year-old players making the Leafs one of the youngest teams in the league.

“We’re all in the same boat,” said Maida. “I’ve been talking to a lot of the teams and we’re all waiting.”

“There are teams that are getting kids back now which allows them to make other decisions on kids who have tried out,” Maida added.

“But for most of us it’s a new learning curve, especially me having just taken over the team six weeks ago.”

The current situation means there could be more exhibition-like games when the KIJHL begins play Friday with ten games.

“We’re going to leave a couple of spots open for players released from BCHL teams,” Maida said.

“(Because) once we commit to school kids they’re here for the season so we don’t want to over commit ourselves. We want to save spots for those players we think we’re going to get back.”

Maida did release six players during the weekend.

Gone are forwards Dallas Barker and Joel Marte, defencemen Brandon Smith and Morgan Parker along with goalies Sam Monk and Treeman Kirka.

All the players, except for Smith, were 17-year-old players. Smith is 16.

Hogg awaits deal back to Okanagan

The Nelson Leafs currently have only one goalie remaining in camp as last season’s starter Darren Hogg remains at home in the Okanagan waiting on a trade.

“Darren wants to play in the Okanagan,” Leaf coach Frank Maida said. “Teams in the league know he’s up for a trade but I haven’t had anyone contact me yet.”

Hogg made the Kootenay Conference Prospects Team last season and was tearing up the league before getting injured during a road trip in Golden.

The injury was season ending forcing the Leafs to go with Marcus Beasley for the remainder of the year.

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