Jordan Kamprath is head coach of the Glacier Kings.

Comox Valley Glacier Kings continue to rebuild

Coach encouraged by team spirit

The rookie-laden Comox Valley Glacier Kings are experiencing a healthy dose of growing pains as they search for their first win of the 2018/19 Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League season. But despite the goose egg in the win column, the coach of the Junior B hockey team is optimistic about its immediate future.

“It is what it is” Jordan Kamprath said Wednesday of the 0-12 record. “I would say the beginning of the season is a lot different than what the games are looking like now.”

In the first three games, the team allowed 23 goals and scored just three times. But the gap’s been closing since opening day Sept. 6. In a road game Oct. 11, Yetis lost 3-2 to the Nanaimo Buccaneers, which Kamprath considers one of the top teams in the league. The following night, the team created multiple chances in a 4-1 home loss to the Oceanside Generals.

“We have a huge amount of rookies on the team. A lot of them, they’re gripping the stick a little bit too tight, and not making the right opportunities when they should have. But practices are going better and better, and the team is getting better as well.”

Kamprath took over the helm this season from Jordan Butcher, under whom he was assistant coach last year. Before entering the world of coaching, Kamprath had captained the Glacier Kings in 2012 — during Butcher’s first stint behind the bench.

“It’s nice to be part of the community again,” said Kamprath, a Courtenay resident who grew up in Alberta. “I love the community. I’ve been here for nine years now. I’m looking to get the name of the Glacier Kings back out there.”

Following some negative experiences with coaches during the latter part of juniors, Kamprath went straight from hockey into coaching.

“I try to convey my love for the game to players, and hopefully they don’t have the experiences that I had. I’d love for players to continue playing, instead of stopping. If I can make a player feel like they want to keep playing, that’s a job successful…Unfortunately, politics are part of the game.”

Finn Withey, last year’s team MVP and top forward, has returned to the Glacier Kings after a stint last season as an affiliate player (AP) with the Junior A Victoria Grizzlies of the B.C. Hockey League. The 19-year-old leads the Yetis this season with eight points in eight games.

“He tried out with them (Grizzlies) again this year, he’s still APing with them, but they decided not to card him this year,” Kamprath said. “We are looking for possibly a Junior A spot for him elsewhere. But he’s currently our team captain. He’s a leader both on and off the ice, and in the gym.”

In goal, the Kings are backstopped by Braedyn Funke and rookie Matthias Smith. For the first time, Kamprath gave Smith back-to-back starts, but he sustained an injury the last game.

“Braedyn came in and he played great. I think Braedyn is a great leader for Matt. He’s exactly the type of kid that I want around this team. If he wasn’t a goalie, I would see him having a letter on his jersey.”

A rebuild inevitably involves making some moves, be it releasing or bringing in players. Most of those brought in are rookies. But Kamprath notes that even the veterans on the team are relatively young.

“The only real veteran on the team is (defender) Dayton Keith. He’s one of the two 20-year-olds on the team. You look at other teams, they have four, five, six 20-year-olds. That mentality is completely different. If we were to take away two of our younger players and put in two 20-year-olds, just in mentality alone, it’s a different world. They’re just older.”

As a player, Kamprath recalls the night-and-day difference between 16 and 20, in terms of physical strength and mindset. After a couple of years of junior hockey, a two-goal deficit was no longer an insurmountable hurdle.

“We are progressing upwards at a very steep rate, and it’s awesome to see,” he said. “We might lose five, six players next year, but the main core of players will most likely be coming back. And then we have 18 veterans on the team. That’s gigantic. The only way to rebuild is to go through growing pains.”

Despite the losing record, Kamprath said the team spirit is high.

“The players, they work right until the end of the game every single time. They’re super happy with one another. They’re a good band of brothers off the ice and on the ice.”

The Glacier Kings play the Cougars tonight in Victoria. They host the Panthers at home Saturday.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Annual women’s march in Courtenay Saturday

The Women’s March was a worldwide protest on Jan. 21, 2017, to… Continue reading

Portables arrive for students on Hornby Island

Five portable classrooms have officially arrived on Hornby Island this week in… Continue reading

Cumberland multi-use development given the go-ahead despite parking concerns

Rideout Construction will pay $91,200 in lieu of 24 parking stalls

Union Bay police standoff ends peacefully

A police standoff in Union Bay was resolved peacefully Monday evening. According… Continue reading

First North Island College Artist Talk Series of 2019 features Barb Hunt

Internationally renown Canadian artist speaks at Stan Hagen Theatre

VIDEO: Car flies across median, flips over edge of B.C. overpass

Dash cam footage shows vehicle speeding across Brunette Avenue overpass in Coquitlam

Bob Castle’s Under The Glacier cartoon for Jan. 15, 2019

Bob Castle’s Under The Glacier cartoon for Jan. 15, 2019… Continue reading

Razor burn: Gillette ad stirs online uproar

A Gillette ad for men invoking the #MeToo movement is sparking intense online backlash

Feds poised to bolster RCMP accountability with external watchdog

Long-anticipated move is the latest attempt at rebuilding the force following years of sagging morale

Canada needs a digital ID system, bankers association says

The Department of Finance last week officially launched its public consultation on the merits of open banking

Second fatal crash occurs in Alberni Valley

Traffic on Highway 4 is being re-routed as investigators are en route

Indigenous energy summit includes session on pipeline ownership options

Steven Saddleback of the Indian Resource Council says a session will feature presentations on financing models

Japanese grand champion Kisenosato retires from sumo

The 32-year-old Kisenosato was the first Japanese-born wrestler in 19 years to gain promotion to sumo’s highest rank

UPDATE: Accused B.C. high school killer found fit to stand trial

Gabriel Klein is accused in the 2016 stabbing death of Letisha Reimer at Abbotsford Senior Secondary

Most Read