Heat coach Ward primed for Penticton tourney

Past and future members of the Abbotsford Heat, like so many school-aged kids, will be delivering reports this week on how they spent their summer vacations.

New Heat head coach Troy Ward is running the bench for the Calgary Flames prospects squad at the Young Stars Tournament in Penticton. The five-day event opens on Sunday.

New Heat head coach Troy Ward is running the bench for the Calgary Flames prospects squad at the Young Stars Tournament in Penticton. The five-day event opens on Sunday.

Past and future members of the Abbotsford Heat, like so many school-aged kids, will be delivering reports this week on how they spent their summer vacations.

The hockey players will tell their tale on the ice at the Young Stars Tournament, a five-day event which opens on Sunday at Penticton’s South Okanagan Events Centre.

“In general, they’re just going to go out there and play,” said new Heat head coach Troy Ward, who will be helming the Calgary Flames prospects squad in Penticton. “We’re not going to give them a whole lot of structure. But I will say this – we’re going to find out which guys have put in the time in the off-season.

“Are they playing at a higher level and a quicker pace than they were a year ago? Have they gotten physically more gifted? Have they shed some body weight? Have they picked up speed in their game? You kind of get a little bit of a snapshot to see what they’ve done for the past four or five months since they left Abbotsford. For me, it’s an indicator as to their work ethic and their character.”

The Flames, the Heat’s NHL parent club, are sending a team of prospects to Penticton for the second straight year. Other entries include the Vancouver Canucks, Edmonton Oilers, San Jose Sharks and Winnipeg Jets.

The 30-man Flames roster that will hit the ice in Penticton features 14 players who suited up for the Heat last season, including forwards Greg Nemisz, Lance Bouma and Carter Bancks, and defencemen T.J. Brodie, Chris Breen and John Negrin.

Others, like former Chilliwack Bruins standouts Ryan Howse and Roman Horak, are poised to turn pro this season, most likely with Abbotsford. (Full prospects roster at bottom of article)

The Flames open the tourney on Sunday against the Sharks (4 p.m. start). They also play the Canucks (Monday, 4 p.m.) and the Oilers (Wednesday, 7:30 p.m.).

The Penticton event represents Ward’s debut as a head coach in the Flames organization – he served as a Heat assistant last season under Jim Playfair, who departed in June to join the Phoenix Coyotes.

Ward is breaking in an entirely new coaching staff, which includes assistants Cail MacLean and Luke Strand and goalie coach Jordan Sigalet. MacLean (ECHL’s South Carolina Stingrays) and Strand (USHL’s Sioux City Musketeers) were both head coaches last season, while Sigalet tutored the keepers with the WHL’s Everett Silvertips.

Ward held staff meetings in Abbotsford last week, before heading to Calgary on Wednesday for the start of Flames prospects camp. He’s particularly excited about Sigalet’s addition, in light of the fact the Heat didn’t have a full-time goalie coach over their first two seasons in Abbotsford.

“I like what he’s added to our staff,” Ward said. “It brings a whole new level of professionalism to what we do.”

PLANE CRASH STUNS HOCKEY COMMUNITY

The hockey world was rocked on Wednesday after a plane carrying Kontinental Hockey League squad Lokomotiv crashed, killing 43 people, including former Flame Brad McCrimmon and ex-Canuck Pavol Demitra.

Early reports indicated that former Heat forward Riley Armstrong was on the plane, but it turned out he had been erroneously listed on a Lokomotiv roster. Armstrong, who suited up for the Heat in 2009-10, was in fact back home in Saskatoon, preparing to take part in training camp with the AHL’s St. John’s IceCaps.

Ward said he didn’t know any of the deceased players or coaches personally, but noted it was another devastating blow for the hockey community, which was already mourning the deaths of Derek Boogaard, Rick Rypien and Wade Belak in earlier the off-season.

“It’s obviously a difficult time, especially here in Calgary,” Ward said, alluding to the fact Lokomotiv head coach McCrimmon was a member of the Flames’ 1989 Stanley Cup-winning team.

“He’s a former player here, and a guy who obviously had a big part in the hockey world as a coach and a player. It’s just been an endless summer, relative to the three players and now this.”

MORE HEAT HIRES

In addition to the new coaching hires, the Heat have also added a new equipment manager in Peter Bureaux, and a new trainer in Chris Linder. Bureaux was with the Rochester Americans last season, while Linder joins the Heat from the OHL’s Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds.

ALL-STAR GAME GOING TO ATLANTIC CITY

The AHL announced Thursday that the 2012 All-Star Classic will be held at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J. The skills competition runs Sunday, Jan. 29, followed by the all-star game on Monday, Jan. 30.

FLAMES PROSPECT ROSTER

The following is a list of the Calgary Flames’ roster for prospects camp and the Young Stars Tournament. Players who have suited up for the Heat are denoted with a star.

Forwards

Baertschi, Sven

*Bancks, Carter

*Bouma, Lance

*Cameron, Bryan

*Dowling, Justin

Elson, Turner

Ehrhardt, Dallas

Ferland, Michael

Gal, Blake

Holland, Patrick

*Horak, Roman

*Howse, Ryan

*MacMillan, Logan

*Nemisz, Greg

*Patterson, Gaelan

Reinhart, Max

Severyn, CJ

Sylvester, Dustin

*Wahl, Mitch

Defencemen

*Breen, Chris

*Brodie, T.J.

Jackson, Reid

Kosterman, Peter

Leach, Joey

Martin, James

*Negrin, John

Wotherspoon, Tyler

Goalies

Brossoit, Laurent

Engelage, Andrew

*Ortio, Joni

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Canadian Forensic Health Corporation, made up of (left to right) Kirstin Simpson, Adrienne Fershau, Tiffany Kafka, Susan Short and Cole Bruce, are changing the game for the forensic nurse occupation. (Submitted)
Abbotsford nurses create Canadian Forensic Health Corporation

Tiffany Kafka, Susan Short, Kirstin Simpson, Cole Bruce and Adrienne Fershau teaching new generation

A pair of deer were spotted in Abbotsford on Tuesday (May 11) morning. (Submitted)
VIDEO: Pair of deer explore Abbotsford neighbourhood

Resident captures deer duo munching on foliage and then wandering off

A 45-metre cell tower has been proposed on Simpson Road in west Abbotsford. (City of Abbotsford)
45-metre cell tower proposed for Simpson Road in Abbotsford

Installation to be on private farm land near Aldergrove border

....
Abbotsford’s Phulka drops match at Olympics qualifier

Jasmit Singh Phulka fails to punch his ticket to Tokyo after opening round loss

Dr. E. Kwok administers a COVID-19 vaccine to a recipient at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond on April 10, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
Vaccination clinics now open to 18+ in Abbotsford

Community considered one of B.C.’s hotspots for COVID-19

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

Keith MacIntyre - BC Libertarian
Penticton’s Keith MacIntyre new leader of the B.C. Libertarian Party

The Penticton businessman was voted in by members of the party on May 8

RCMP are searching for Philip Toner, who is a 'person of interest' in the investigation of a suspicious death in Kootenay National Park last week. Photo courtesy BC RCMP.
Man sought in suspicious Kootenay death found in Lake Country

Philip Toner is a person of interest in the death of Brenda Ware

Vernon North Okanagan RCMP reported to 287 mental health calls between Jan. 1, 2021, and May 1. (Black Press files)
‘It’s not the police’s responsibility to deal with mental health calls’: Vernon RCMP

RCMP remind public to take care of mental health and well-being, while better solutions are sought

Thompson Rivers University campus is in Kamloops, B.C. (KTW file photo)
Thompson Rivers the 1st B.C. university to supply free menstrual products

The university will offer the products this September

Fraser Health is using ‘targeted’ vaccination clinics in high-risk areas of the Lower Mainland. (Fraser Health photo)
B.C.’s COVID-19 decrease continues, 515 new cases Tuesday

426 seriously ill people in hospital, up from 415 Monday

The site of Sunfest, Laketown Ranch, will be open for camping this summer. (Citizen file)
Sunfest country music bash won’t be shining on B.C. in 2021

Annual Vancouver Island Festival cancelled due to COVID-19, along with Laketown Shakedown

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation elected chief councillor Moses Martin, who was also Chantel Moore’s grandfather, speaks to media in Port Alberni on Aug. 16, 2020, during a visit from NDP leader Jagmeet Singh following the police shooting of Chantel Moore. (Elena Rardon photo)
Mother of 2 shot by police in critical condition, says B.C. First Nation chief

Community ‘devastated’ by third member of 1,150-person Vancouver Island nation shot in less than a year

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read