It’s all about the core for the Summerland Steam.
As the junior B club begins the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League season on the road in Princeton Friday and Grand Forks Saturday, coach John DePourcq waited on calls from players trying out with junior A teams and making decisions on rookies.
What he is certain about is his 12 returning players including leading scorer and Steam rookie of the year Jack Mills, who finished with 27 goals and 56 points in 50 regular season games.
“It’s a good group to start with,” said DePourcq. “We should have a solid season. I’m looking forward to working with them.”
The Steam wrapped up its exhibition schedule with a 4-2 loss to the Osoyoos Coytes at home on Tuesday night. DePourcq said that was a good chance for younger guys to learn. The Steam bench boss put them in situations to see how they respond.
“The exhibition season is about getting the guys ready and also about trying to make some decisions on the final few roster spots,” he said.
DePourcq is looking forward to working with Penticton product Michael MacLean. Another Pentictonite looked good to stick was Raphael Bassot. DePourcq said he performed well during camp. Also making an impression was defenceman Matthew Monk from the coast and Andrew York.
“I’m happy with what we have right now in getting started,” he said. “I’m excited because we are going to have to be solid in all areas. Having more of a veteran crew and learning from our past should make a good foundation.”