Essentially, it was moving day Wednesday for the West Kelowna Warriors, who announced some big additions and subtractions to and from their roster.
This was a tough one, judging from both sides. Firstly, Tyler Anderson embodied the style what it was to be a West Kelowna Warrior. I know head coach and general manager Rylan Ferster had a hard time letting Anderson go but the Warriors are thicker on the back end than they are up front so something had to give. PG is getting a heart and soul kind of guy in Anderson, who will do anything asked of him no matter the circumstance. I didn’t get to know Tyler for very long, personally, but the admiration everyone within the Warriors organization has for him tells you that this kid is as real as it gets. I know he will be missed on and off the ice and along with the Warriors, I’d like to wish Tyler the best of luck up north in Prince George.
With that being said, the Warriors acquire a great piece up front in the likes of Braiden Epp. The 4th year forward will add a veteran presence on a relatively young team and will be looked upon to provide some offence for West-K. He is a PG kid, playing his minor hockey all the way through junior in the Great White North, which I’m sure made this an equally difficult deal for Spruce Kings GM Mike Hawes to make. The 20 year-old’s best season was two years ago where he tallied 24 goals, a number I’m sure enticed the Warriors staff to make this deal happen. The Warriors offence looks to be taking a bit more shape with the addition of a gritty, hard-nosed forward like Epp, who I’m suspecting will make his debut Friday at RLP when the Warriors host the Penticton Vees.
Same release, just scroll down a bit to find out that the Warriors dealt 17 year-old defensemen Daly Hamilton to the Canmore Eagles of the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) for future considerations. It was down to a numbers game for Daly, who didn’t see much action in a Warriors sweater, only playing in three games with the club with no points. A recruited defensemen in the offseason from the Calgary Flames Midget AAA program that just lost out with the latest additions. Hamilton will see more ice with the Eagles and along with the Warriors organization, I’d like to wish Daly all the best in Canmore.
This a big add, in more ways than one. First of all, Allan is the size of a building so that helps. Secondly, he returns for a 2nd stint with the Warriors and in the BCHL after falling victim to the WHL’s 20 year-old rule (that is that teams are only allowed to carry three 20’s) where he spent the first bit of this season with the Calgary Hitmen. Allan was a large part of the Warriors success and long run to the RBC Cup National Championship and the Warriors will look upon his veteran experience, as they do with Epp’s, to help out this relatively younger team. The Thornton, Colorado native excelled in a shutdown role for the club last season but also put up decent numbers from the blue line as the rearguard finished with 21 points in 53 games, so there is some offence that can be had from his play. Needless to say, I wouldn’t want to go into the corner with this guy bearing down on me for a loose puck.
Again, same release just scroll down a bit and you’ll see the Warriors have added a potent offensive weapon in 18 year-old Matthew Campese. I think it’s fair to say something just didn’t click for Campese in the Western Hockey League, with only 16 points in 95 career ‘Dub’ games but having video-game like stats in Midget/Prep hockey with the Okanagan Hockey Academy. Here’s a glimpse of what the numbers were for Campese with OHA compared to his Major Junior career (courtesy of Elite Prospects):
Pretty crazy that the Warriors are getting a kid that scored 79 goals in just 61 games three seasons ago at OHA so I’m very interested to see what he is capable of doing at the Junior ‘A’ level, but how can you not love the move from Rylan Ferster to bring Campese in? No brainer really. If the name Campese sounds familiar to some of you, it may be because his dad, Bruno, used to coach in the BCHL with the Vees before heading to Prince Albert to coach the Raiders in the WHL for a while where he now handles scouting for the new Las Vegas franchise in the National Hockey League.
Overall, I like the moves that the Warriors have done to upgrade and if Campese can find even a similar kind of scoring touch that he did in Midget/Prep, look out. Allan will be a big key defensively and you’re getting a quality character guy on and off the ice in Epp, as much as it may hurt some Warrior fans to see Tyler Anderson go. At any rate, this makes Friday night’s game against Penticton a bit more exciting for Warrior fans with some new faces to look for around the rink.