Despite falling short in the BCMML final for the second straight year, the Cariboo Cougars enjoyed one of their most successful seasons by icing one of the youngest rosters in the league.
The Cougars finished with a 29-8-3 record in the regular season matching the previous year.
Cariboo also defeated the South Island Royals and Vancouver Northwest Giants in the playoffs before falling short to the Valley West Hawks.
Head Coach and GM Trevor Sprague says he couldn’t be more pleased with his group. “I’m pretty proud of them, it is a good core group for next year’s TELUS Cup so we are pretty happy as a staff.”
Sprague adds there were two X-factors that went against the Cougars in the final. “I think our age caught up to us and getting James Malm back from the Vancouver Giants he had 7 points in the final game and is going to be a special player. He was the difference.”
With the playoffs now over the focus shifts to next season with the team’s spring camp being held from May 6th to 8th.
It will be an early evaluation process according to Sprague. “It’s about having good quality players coming from the north with about 10 holes to fill depending what happens with our exit interviews this week and where some of our players will end up whether its the WHL or Junior A.”
Two of the biggest question marks to return include defenceman Jesse Pomeroy who is listed by the WHL’s Regina Pats and BCHL’s Prince George Spruce Kings.
Forward, Josh Maser is the other who could take the next step after seeing brief action with the Prince Albert Raiders, of the Western Hockey League.
Players not returning due to graduation include Chase Dubois, Chris Jandric, Colten Thomas and Riley Coish.
Dubois has committed to the West Kelowna Warriors of the BCHL while Jandric will suit up for the Vernon Vipers.
This year’s roster consisted of several players from the Cariboo plus Bukley Valley and Lakes District.
Ty Maser (Houston)
Josh Maser (Houston)
Logan Archer (Burns Lake)
Riley Coish (Smithers)
Chase and Daine Dubois (Williams Lake)
Colton and Trey Thomas (Williams Lake)
Ty Kolle (Quesnel)
Joel Patesy (Hazleton)