Terrace-born born forward Mason Richey is one of three players who recently committed to West Kelowna. -Image: Terrace Standard

Warriors add three new faces for 2018-19

Mason Richey, Cole Wyatt and James Philpott

The West Kelowna Warriors have bolstered their roster for the 2018-19 season by securing commitments from three players.

Signing on with the BCHL club are forwards Mason Richey and Cole Wyatt, along with defenceman James Philpott.

Richey, 18, will bring offense, grittiness and leadership to the Warriors next season. In three seasons with the BC Major Midget League’s Cariboo Cougars, the 5-foot-10, 180-pound forward played in all 120 regular season games, leading his team in scoring in 2017-18, with 26 goals and 64 points.

The Terrace native captained the Cougars squad that reached the BCMML championship for the second straight season. Richey also played three games with the Warriors as an affiliate player

“Adding Mason to our program gives us a player who exudes the qualities of what it means to be a Warrior,” said Warriors head coach and general manager Rylan Ferster. “Having had him spend some time with our team last season, we know he will be able to come in and feel comfortable right away.”

Wyatt, 18, impressed the West Kelowna coaching staff with his strong play at the Warriors spring camp in late April. The Sherwood Park, AB native played the last two seasons with the Northern Alberta Xtreme Midget Prep team in the Canadian Sports School Hockey League (CSSHL), amassing 14 goals and 38 points in 34 games during the 2017-18 season.

Philpott, 18, played alongside Warriors commit Sam Anderson with the Calgary Buffaloes Midget AAA squad of the Alberta Midget Hockey League. The 6-foot-1, 170-pound rearguard played in 34 games last season with the Buffaloes, scoring 3 goals and adding 10 assists for 13 points.

The Calgary native is another player who spent some time in the AJHL last season, with five games played in the regular season with the Canmore Eagles.

“James is a smooth skater who defends very well in his own end of the ice,” said Ferster. “He’s strong on playing below the goal line and taking players off the puck but can chip in offensively as well.”

Naka joins POE…

The Warriors announced Monday that associate head coach and assistant general manager Shae Naka has accepted a position at the Pursuit of Excellence Hockey Academy and will not be returning to the Warriors bench for the 2018-19 season.

Naka, 27, spent the last six seasons with the Warriors, starting as a video coach with the club through the 2012-13 season and moving to the associate head coach/assistant general manager role ahead of the 2015/16 season.

Naka was behind the bench for the entirety of the Warriors championship run and hoisted the Fred Page Cup, Western Canada Cup and the RBC Cup in 2016.

“Shae has meant so much to this program since he arrived here and is a big part of this team’s successes over the last few seasons,” commented Ferster. “He is one of the smartest hockey minds I have had the chance to be around and he will be missed behind the bench.”

“It has been an honour to be a part of my hometown organization and is an experience that I will never forget. It has been a difficult decision to move on but I wish Rylan and the Warriors the best of luck moving forward,” Naka said.

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