Steam possess size and skill, pushing for top of KIJHL

The Summerland Steam are hoping for big success as the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League begins its 50th season

MICHAEL MACLEAN (44) has returned for a second season with the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League’s Summerland Steam. The Steam have high hopes for MacLean this season.

MICHAEL MACLEAN (44) has returned for a second season with the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League’s Summerland Steam. The Steam have high hopes for MacLean this season.

The Summerland Steam, defending Okanagan Division champs, want to remain at the top.

As the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League’s 50th season starts Friday, the Steam will be shooting for the top with 14 returning players.

“I think we’re a team that should compete for the top,” said Steam coach John DePourcq, who is entering his fifth season and will be joined by new assistant coaches Olli Dickson, Carter Rigby and Jordan McCallum. “That’s the goal, that’s what we have all talked about. Going as far as we did last year (in the KIJHL final), there should be a lot more confidence with each guy in there.”

The Steam open the season against the KIJHL and Keystone Cup Western Canadian junior B champion 100 Mile House Wranglers Friday at 7:30 p.m. at the Summerland Arena. DePourcq will ice a team surrounding veterans with skilled young players. Steam rookies listed on the KIJHL website are Kelowna’s Matthew Alcorn and Jeremy Hite, Penticton’s Morey Babakaiff and Devon, Alta., product Everett Scherger.

“It’s very exciting,” said DePourcq. “We have a very good solid foundation. Having them paired up with some of our returning players could be a lot of fun. We have great potential to have a really good season.

Babakaiff impressed the Steam with a strong camp. He will get a chance to play in all situations as DePourcq believes in utilizing players that way. One thing DePourcq stressed is the importance for the 16-year-old to understand the defensive side of the game. Doing that will enable the five-foot-11, 160-pound forward to chip in offensively.

“We have a great combination of size and skill,” continued DePourcq. “We have some offensive guys that can put up some good numbers, but then if things need to get a little physical, we have enough meat there to make sure we can play all styles of game.”

Babakaiff will be joined by the return of local product, Michael MacLean, who was released by the Langley Rivermen of the BCHL. In 46 games as a rookie with the Steam, MacLean collected four goals and six points. DePourcq is pleased to get the Penticton product, who worked hard over the summer, back.

“I think he’s going to have an excellent season,” he said of the six-foot-six, 245 pound forward.

DePourcq wants MacLean to play a relaxed game and said he plans on trying him at centre.

“He’s got one heck of a shot. He’s a guy that can have more foot speed,” he said. “When you play to your size and finish checks, that is going to give more time and space, leads to more output offensively.”



Just Posted

Summerland cidery Millionaires' Row is hosting a Father's Day car and art show. (Facebook)
Vintage cars, art and cider for Father’s Day

Summerland’s Millionaires’ Row Cider Co. is hosting the car and art show

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

James Miller, the managing editor at the Penticton Herald, has been voted in for Jake Kimberley’s vacated council seat. (Submitted)
James Miller elected as Penticton city councillor

Penticton also voted yes to allowing up to 25 years for a Skaha Marina contract

The Eyes of the Tigers on the 2021 Beer Run on June 19. (Brennan Phillips - Western News)
Penticton Beer Runners take trip around local beaches and brews

Over 160 people signed up to come back after the 2020 run was cancelled

There was high voter turnout for the first of three advance voting days for the Penticton city by-election.
Penticton city by-election general voting day is today, June 19

737 voters on June 9 in comparison to 2018 general election, which had 1,001 on first day

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed Eli Beauregard facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

Starting in 2022, the Columbia Shuswap Regional District is extending dog control to the entire Electoral Area D. (Stock photo)
Dog control bylaw passes in Shuswap area despite ‘threatening’ emails

CSRD board extending full dog control in Electoral Area D starting next year

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Most Read