A work in progress.
That’s head coach and GM Rylan Ferster’s early assessment of the 2014-15 edition of the West Kelowna Warriors.
With no fewer than 12 new faces in the lineup this season, the jury is still out on what kind of a team Fertser will ice, as the Warriors prepare to open the new campaign this weekend at the BCHL showcase in Chilliwack.
“That’s something we’re still trying to figure out, it’s still early,” Ferster said when asked what his team’s trademark will be. “We’ve been happy with our leadership group, the guys who we expect to lead us, when push comes to shove, they’ll need to show the way for us. We have a lot of new faces, so it will take time to build some chemistry and see how that unfolds.”
Returning goaltender Andy Desautels, veteran forwards Liam Blackburn, Jason Cotton and Jordan Masters, and defencemen Ryan Ivey and Mac Ferner will all be looked to be leadership this season.
Forwards Kade Kehoe and Josh Bly—both from Saskatoon—are a pair of newcomers who impressed Ferster in the pre-season and could play a key role in the Warriors’ early season success.
As for the now-completed exhibition schedule, the Warriors went 1-2-1-2, earning four of a possible eight points—pretty much the outcome Ferster thought his club deserved.
“That’s about what it felt like, like we were a .500 team,” Ferster said. “For the last four games, when we had most of our team, we were able to get a bit of an idea what we have. I thought the jump was good, the structure was OK, so we’ll go from there.”
As for his weekend’s regular season openers at the BCHL Showcase—vs Coquitlam on Friday and Nanaimo on Sunday—Ferster said his team is anxious to get going.
“I think as players the guys are ready, they’re excited to play,” he said. “We’ve had the extra week of training camp and two more exhibition games to prepare, so hopefully that will help us.”
The Warriors’ home opener is set for Friday, Sept. 26 when they host the rival Vernon Vipers, 7 p.m. at Royal LePage Place.