The KIJHL Notebook: New Wave – Neil Murdoch division

This week in the KIJHL Notebook, the New Wave of rookies in the Neil Murdoch division is the focus with the head coach-GM of each team providing a scouting report on each player. 


Beaver Valley Nitehawks
Jake Geronazzo – (2005 – 6-0, 190-pounds) The Colorado Springs, Colorado product has improved each day and is described as a hard worker. Geronazzo is focused on his footspeed and is strong on pucks.

“He shoots the puck well, has a great net presence and is very likeable,” said Nitehawks head coach Terry Jones.” “Everyone calls him Looch because he has some resemblance to Milan Lucic – how he skates and plays.”

Geronazzo has six points in 11 games, and his father Peter grew up playing hockey in Trail and spent four years at Colorado College. 


Hunter Hansen (2005 – 5-7, 155-pounds) Hansen thinks the game at an elite level and is very crafty with the puck. The Sangudo, Alberta product has a deceptively heavy shot. What Jones likes the most about him is he is constantly thinking about the game and what play is going to happen next. 

“He’s always asking questions and is a real coachable kid,” said Jones of Hansen, who has 12 points in 19 games.


Connor Drake (2007 – 5-8, 151 pounds) The nephew of Stanley Cup-champion Dallas Drake, Connor “has a super high water mark with his speed and skill set.” 

“He gets in on the goalie, he’s pretty good on a breakaway, or the shot,” said Jones as Drake has four goals and 12 points in 15 games. “He’s a really intelligent, offensive player who creates a lot with his linemates. He’s been really effective with the Smythe brothers.”

Drake played for Team KIJHL in the BCHC Prospects Game in Kamloops and earned an assist.


Nathan Simm (2006 – 6-1, 165-pounds) The Nitehawks have watched the Rossland, B.C. product for a few years and he played as an affiliate last season for the Nitehawks. 

“He’s a real competitor,” said Jones of Simm, who played in the BCHC Prospects Game and has 14 points in 19 games. “You know you always get a hard-working shift. He has a great release and presence in front of the net and handles the puck well in tight. He’s hard to knock off the puck.”


Roan Crowe (2005 – 6-2, 180-pounds) The Claresholm, Alberta product shone at Spring camp. 

“He’s just a big body, great skater and is hard to knock off the puck. He also possesses a really great shot,” said Jones. “He has great offensive instincts and so far he has been a really solid player.”

Crowe is second on the Nitehawks with 20 points in 19 games.



Cade Reber (2005 – 5-10, 170-pounds) The Valleyview, Alberta product is a solid blueliner, who shoots the puck well. 

“He is a super nice kid, who competes hard, has a great work ethic and I just love the way he plays defensively,” said Jones.

Reber has 14 points in 21 games.


Liam Ray (2005 – 6-2, 185 pounds) Described as a “beast of a competitor” who loves to be physical. The Beaverlodge, Alberta product knows to get on net on the power play and loves letting go of a big shot. 

“His competitive fire is really strong and I just love his compete level,” said Jones. “He is a really nice boy who gives all he has.”

Ray has eight points in 19 games.


Will Caputo (2006 – 5-9, 167-pounds) The Trail native is a fantastic skater with real upside offensively and played in the BCHC Prospects game, showing his physical side. 

“He’s a really bright prospect for us, who reminds me a lot of Quinn Hughes. The way he’s able to handle the puck and skate the puck, is agile and good edge work with his skating. He really moves at an elite level.”



Landin Uzeloc (2005 – 5-9, 150-pounds) “He hasn’t played that much, but boy he’s played well in the games he’s played,” said Jones as Uzeloc has three wins in five games with a 1.58 goals against average and .926 save percentage. “He is super calm with great composure. We’re really confident with him and looking forward to great things.”

Uzeloc doesn’t give up many rebounds and handles the puck well.

“He has the composure and confidence that he doesn’t get rattled. That’s a great quality to have,” said Jones.


Grand Forks Border Bruins
Nolan Vieira (2007 – 6-3, 195-pounds) Head coach David Hnatiuk said Vieira is a “fantastic kid.”

“He shows up every day with a great attitude and is working hard and taking his opportunities when they come.”

Vieira, an Osoyoos product, is learning to use his size and has played 10 games. Hnatiuk is really happy with Vieira’s progression and is excited to see his development the rest of the season.


JP Desabrais (2005 – 6-0, 197-pounds) Desabrais is producing with 19 points in 23 games. The Border Bruins have used the Edmonton product in every situation and he plays throughout the lineup.

“JP’s off to a great start with us and he’s got a big, heavy shot,” said Hnatiuk. “He’s very dedicated and is in the gym every day. He wants to win, wants to get better and he’s been a great addition.”


Keanan Pearman (2005 – 5-10, 165-pounds) Pearman is highly skilled and plays a lot with Desabrais and has 20 points in 23 games, including a team-leading 14 goals. Hnatiuk said Pearman is on point with his game-day preparation.

“He’s skilled, crafty with the puck and has great hands,” said Hnatiuk. “He’s got a good shot, knows where to place pucks and is very creative.”


Jace Koole (2005 – 5-11, 165-pounds) A hard-working farm boy from Standard, Alberta, he’s been put in a leadership role. With his character and work ethic, Koole is developing nicely and finding his feet in the league.

“He’s a strong skater, who has scored some big goals for us already,” said Hnatiuk, as Koole has 13 points in 22 games. 

Koole gets power-play time and is highly competitive.


Luke Nottveit (2005 – 6-3, 185-pounds) Nottveit is considered one of the hardest working Border Bruins.

“He goes at full speed at everything he does. He’s a fast skater, aggressive and likes to finish his hits,” said Hnatiuk. “He is coming along nicely, learning his role in the D-zone, even his role as a centerman. In all three zones, it’s been coming along nice.

“He’s a competitor, highly, highly competitive in everything he does,” added Hnatiuk. “Even if it’s a game of bump at the pool, I see him being competitive.”


Nate Tillmanns (2005 – 6-3, 165-pounds)  Tillmanns has been producing with 16 points in 23 games and is used in all situations. He has seven points on the man-advantage.

“He’s really strong on the puck, a fast skater, with a heavy shot, and a high hockey IQ,” said Hnatiuk. “Nate’s come in and he’s definitely performing to his expectation and above. I’m excited to watch him develop and see where his hockey journey takes him.”


Carter Skarbon (2005 – 6-3, 175-pounds) He suffered an injury early in the season and has been working to recover and has been in and out of the lineup. With five points in 13 games, Skarbon has been working to get his play back to where it can be.


Levi Astill (2005 – 6-2, 185-pounds) Astill is a highly skilled player, who played in the BCHC Prospects games and is a playmaker first, which attests to his team-leading 18 assists, but he can score as he leads the team with 27 points. 

“He’s got a lot of skill, good patience with the puck, good vision, and a great passer,” said Hnatiuk. “He works very hard, is coachable and has a great attitude. Again, I expected Levi to come in and do the same that he did in U18 and put up a lot of points. He’s gonna be exciting guy to watch.”


Tyler Fairbairn (2005 – 5-11, 194-pounds) The Brandon, Manitoba product was acquired from the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League and Fairbairn has adjusted great, works hard and plays physical. 

“He can create some offence and he’s another player coming along great in his first year of development,” said Hnatiuk.



Logan McCabe (2005 – 6-3, 182-pounds) He brings skill and is good with the puck and has a big reach with physical play. He’s tough to play against.

“With a bit of a veteran core back there, he’s getting his rotations in. More in than out. He was a captain in U18 and that shows through in how he carries himself.”


Nolan Schmit (2005 – 6-3, 170-pounds) Schmit was injured to start the season and has been working to get his play to game speed.

“He works hard every practice, is a great skater and has a lot of skill,” said Hnatiuk. “We’re just waiting for Nolan to find his footing and play more games.”

Schmit has two assists in six games.


Kody Marches (2005 – 5-11, 170-pounds) Marches is a smooth skating defenceman, who has a strong work ethic and good attitude from growing up on a farm. His development is going great. The more he plays, the better he will get. He has two assists in 16 games.


Kade Sicotte (2005 – 6-2, 165-pounds) Sicotte was acquired from Melville in the SJHL and brings a great attitude with being highly competitive.

“He’s a very smart player, but he almost seems like a veteran already with his social ability in the room and on-ice competitiveness,” said Hnatiuk.



Matthew Dovichak (2005 – 5-11, 165-pounds) Dovichak is competitive and a student of the game and “already a young professional.” He has seven wins in 12 games with a 3.10 goals against average and .906 save percentage.

“He comes to work every day and his efforts and game prep is on point, and he’s yet to lose a game in regulation time. He has a bright future here.”


Castlegar Rebels
Tate Warwarick (2005 – 5-10, 155-pounds) The Beaumont, Alberta product has “tremendous speed.” Head coach Nicholas Headrick is seeing good development from him. 

“We’re looking for him to continue to grow and develop to being a big contributor in the second half,” said Headrick. “He bounces up and down the lineup and can play with our top players.”

Warwarick knows his speed is his best skill and when he has the puck, he takes off down the wing and looks to cause chaos. He has three points in 12 games.


Logan Lough (2005 – 6-1, 165-pounds) Lough has a “boatload of skill” but is in a learning process. He has three points in 13 games.

“When he’s playing well and with confidence, he’s skilled and making plays,” said Headrick. “Jumping in from Midget hockey into Junior has been a bit of a process for him, but I think he does have all the skills to be a great player for us.”

He’s effective on the power-play as he plays with his head up. He’s smart and understands lanes and seems to pass the puck through.”


Antonio Ferrise (2005 – 5-11, 190-pounds) “He’s just a pure goal-scorer when he gets the puck coming to the neutral zone, and always thinking to get to the net,” said Headrick, of Ferrise, who has four goals in 12 games. “When he gets inside the house, he’s got a tremendous shot.”

He’s loved in the room and always looking to get better.


Keegan Gamble (2005 – 5-5, 137-pounds) The Wilcox, Saskatchewan product has been great despite missing six games to injury. 

“He’s great on the penalty-kill, a great guy in the room and guys love him. Defensively competing in our own zone is where he is strong.”

What makes him so good defensively is his intelligence. He has a great stick and understands “what offensive guys are trying to do and his compete level is top-notch and he goes in the corners.”

“He isn’t afraid to be first to the puck and can take contact with bigger guys,” added Headrick.


Joshua Gamble (2005 – 5-7, 140-pounds) Keegan’s brother brings “awesome offensive upside.” 

“He’s been a huge part of our team and is really good in all three zones. I think the best thing that he has that makes him excel is his skating ability. He’s great on his edges and super shifty down low. He’s an undersized guy, but he’s kind of fearless.”


Jordan Brunham (2007 – 5-6, 165-pounds) The hometown product represented the Rebels in the BCHC Prospects Game and collected an assist.

“Brunham has been awesome too,” said Headrick. “He’s small, but competes, battles and is very, very physical for his size. He goes to the dirty areas, plays the right way and his stick-handling is really good.”


Nate Jackman (2006 – 6-0, 165-pounds) The Nelson product impresses his coach with his play.

“He plays a simple game, finishes his checks and gets the puck out on the wall. He just really understands that this year is a learning process so he plays simple and every time we put them in the line up we trust him to make the right play.”

Jackman has one goal in 11 games.



Owen Latendresse (2005 – 5-11, 165-pounds) Latendresse plays a lot of minutes for the Rebels and is effective in a shutdown role. 

“He moves the puck up ice and blocks shots. He’s just very good.”


Josh Hogman (2005 – 6-0, 175-pounds) The Spruce Grove, Alberta product brings tremendous speed. 

“He can break the puck out of his zone just by moving his feet. He also joins the rush, protects the puck, and is strong.”


Nelson Leafs
Parker White (2005 – 5-10, 158-pounds) Head coach Briar McNaney said they feel White is one of the best players in the division.

“He’s a high-end player and that starts from the way he prepares in everything. He does all of the little things right. He’s super fast, super skilled and there’s not a part of his game that we don’t like.”

White, a Prince George product, is second on the Leafs with 17 points in 21 games.


Quinn Ramsay (2005 – 5-10, 169-pounds) McNaney said Ramsay is probably the best two-way hockey player he’s coached since he’s been in the league in 2017.

“He comes with an incredible work ethic and everything that he does, you only have to tell him once. He’ll do it until you tell him to stop. He’s an incredible young man.”

Ramsay makes players around him better and he’s got a good shot. The Leafs use him in every situation and he mostly plays against other top lines. Ramsay has nine points in 21 games.


Kane Kennedy (2005 – 6-1, 165-pounds) Kennedy is a talented player who is starting to figure out how to play at the Junior level. He missed time due to injury and had to re-adjust to the pace. 

“That kid has hands that I wish I could dangle and move the way he does,” said McNaney. “He’s just really starting to get it.”

Kennedy has 10 points in 19 games, including three assists in his last two games.


Xaiden Bignell (2005 – 6-1, 165-pounds) McNaney says there is “so much to love about this kid.” “He’s highly energetic, both on and off the ice. He’s a great teammate, a great penalty killer and ultra aggressive.”

The Red Deer product is always in the coaches office watching video. He has six goals and eight points in 15 games.


Caden Still (2005 – 5-11, 170-pounds) Still is another who went through a slow start and adjusting from minor hockey and the different style of play.

“He’s starting to really figure out the game and that’s making him look good. He’s becoming very good systematically and has found his pace that he needs to play with,” said McNaney. 

Still has three points in 19 games.


Ty Nykyforuk (2005 – 5-10, 162-pounds) Nykyforuk is probably the most skilled Leaf. 

“The kids got talent in every situation,” said McNaney. 

He always works on his shot, talks to the coaches constantly on what he can do better. He has nine goals and 14 points in 21 games.


Adam Valach (2005 – 5-10, 166-pounds) The Edmonton product is easily the hardest worker McNaney has coached. He wakes up, goes for a run, goes to the team workout, comes to practice, works hard, goes to the gym after that, then he will come back and is seen stickhandling at the rink or running stairs to get extra conditioning.

“Valach has loads of potential and it’s just about waiting for it to come out,” said McNaney. “He’s had to switch positions a little bit with us this year. He’s played both wings, centre and defence. It’s starting to help mold his game. We’ve got all the confidence in the world that the potential is sky high with that kid.”



Jackson MacIntosh (2005 – 6-0, 185-pounds) A very physical player who is high energy and moves the puck and does a lot well.

“The kid is an absolute warrior,” said McNaney, adding he’s one of the better defencemen he has coached.


Trey Schofield (2005 – 6-1, 167-pounds) Schofield is very talented and has great skating ability.

“There’s going to be a time where he’s just gonna break out and start putting up a lot of points.

He’s super confident, works hard in practices and is willing to be coached.”

He’s a rink rat and enjoys helping with minor hockey.


Nolan Wytrykusz (2005 – 6-1, 167-pounds) McNaney describes Wytrykusz as a “throwback” with a “little bit of a Kevin Bieksa-esque style defenseman who’s got some snarl to his game.”

He loves to come to the rink and work. Wytrykusz shows up prepared for everything he does and he’s a workhorse with loads of potential.


Spokane Braves
Mason Lochten (2005 – 5-8, 155-pounds) Lochten provides energy and works hard.

“He never takes a day off and brings a lot of fire and offensive skill,” said head coach Darin Schumacher of Lochten, who has 10 points in 21 games. “He creates a lot of time for his linemates by working so hard and being very difficult to play against. He’s very physical.”


Tie Schumacher (2006 – 5-10, 190-pounds) Schumacher is really good on the power-play distributing the puck and has eight points on the man-advantage, including seven assists. 

“At 5-on-5, he is really good at keeping the puck in the offensive zone and putting his teammates in a position to be offensively successful. He sees the game real well and understands it.”

Schumacher is second on the Braves with 26 points in 21 games.


Cameron Oien (2005 – 6-0, 170-pounds) Oien is a natural shooter – a very good goal scorer, leading the Braves with 12 goals in 21 games. 

“He does a really good job finding open ice to allow his teammates to get him the puck,” said Schumacher.


Dante Hughes (2005 – 6-0, 160-pounds) The brother of former Brave Bear Hughes, Dante is a solid 200-foot center. 

“He does a very good job in the defense zone limiting other teams’ opportunities,” said Schumacher. “He’s pretty good in the faceoff dot (57 per cent) and does a great job maintaining offensive zone time.”

Hughes has 15 points in 21 games.


Logan Powers (2005 – 5-10, 160-pounds) Powers brings a lot of speed and leadership.

“He does a good job guiding some of the young players and helping them prepare for games,” said Schumacher. 

Powers has 13 points in 21 games.


Josh Humphreys (2005 – 5-11, 165-pounds) Humphries brings a lot of energy and is very physical and difficult to play against. 

“He has a lot of really, really good individual offensive skills,” said Schumacher, as Humphreys has 16 points in 15 games.


Ben Humphreys (2007 – 5-11, 150-pounds) He can really shoot the puck and works very hard on his release. 

“He’s starting to get more and more comfortable each game and sooner or later he’s gonna start scoring lots,” said Schumacher, as Ben has two goals and five points in 20 games. “He has a very accurate shot.”


Zach Baumann (2005 – 5-10, 170-pounds) Baumann is intelligent, has great vision and is very, very skilled offensively. He leads the Braves with 28 points in 20 games, including a team-high 19 assists.  “He is extremely good one-on-one and makes very good puck decisions on whether to keep it, shoot or pass,” said Schumacher.


Karsen Kendall (2003 – 6-1, 195-pounds) Kendall has played two games after joining the team two weeks ago. 

“We brought him in to give us some  size and strength and he works extremely hard,” said Schumacher.


Robert Eloe (2005 – 6-0, 165-pounds) Eloe is a speedster with good, offensive skills. He has six points in 21 games.


Raphael Eloe (2004- 5-11, 175-pounds) Strong and effective in the faceoff circle (46 per cent), Raphael is difficult to play against.

“Guys do not like going against Ray in practice,” said Schumacher as the Post Falls, Idaho product works as a welder. “He’s ridiculously strong.”

In the Braves’ Quick Shift story, Schumacher said the Eloe brothers are very relentless and good at setting the tone.”



Joey Epkey (2006 – 5-8, 150-pounds) Epkey is a forward turned defenceman over the last month and has played well, including getting between 18 to 21 minutes twice.

“He’s been getting the puck out of the defensive zone and into the offensive zone and staying there a little bit more,” said Schumacher. 

Injuries, and the fact Epkey has played defence before, prompted his move to the blueline. His first game on defence was against Beaver Valley, in a 6-4 win.


Lance Insko (2005 – 6-0, 185-pounds) Insko was also moved to defence and is an extremely powerful skater, very quick. He’s played 20 minutes or more a night in six straight games.

“He does a great job in the defensive zone and thinks the game very well,” said Schumacher. “He anticipates really well and makes sure he’s always ahead of the play and gets between the puck and the net.”


Chase Petrella (2007 – 6-4, 190-pounds) Petrella was a forward in Coeur d’Alene minor hockey and they had him practice as defenceman for a month. He’s played six games and has been a great addition.

“He has great anticipation skills and can really shoot the puck hard,” said Schumacher.


Lance Buell (2006 – 5-9, 150-pounds) The Spokane, Washington product is very intelligent and has good anticipation skills.

“He does a good job moving the puck,” said Schumacher.


Colton Tidd (2006 – 6-0, 160-pounds) Tidd is a fantastic skater.

“He’s worked really hard on his defensive positioning and physical play. It’s paying off with a lot more minutes played.”


Matthew Chambers (2004- 5-10, 165-pounds) A leader on the blueline, Chambers is very competitive and plays a lot.

“He works extremely hard to move the puck to the forwards and join the offensive rush,” said Schumacher. “He’s been doing a great job on the power-play.”


Jack Brough (2006 – 6-0, 170-pounds) Brough is the lone Canadian and is injured. 

“Jack is by far our most improved player from day one,” said Schumacher. “He worked extremely hard to figure out junior hockey and was playing really well when he got injured in practice. It’s going to be really exciting when we get him back to see where he’s at.”

He was playing a lot of minutes, averaging 17:08 a game. He will return near the end of December or early January.



Jack Wood (2006 – 5-10, 165-pounds) Wood is quick and very athletic and a fierce competitor.

“He understands the game and he’s very good at knowing what’s going to happen,” said Schumacher.

Wood, who is currently injured, has an .838 save percentage in seven games.