Bucks at a glance: rookie camp additions


The expansion Cranbrook Bucks recently held their first rookie camp, from August 31 to September 3. The camp was invite-only, with 40 participants, including some local players being given a chance to show the Bucks staff how they shape up. Players who took part in the camp were aged 16-19 years old, and the Bucks used this camp to both fill out their roster and add some affiliate players.

On September 14, the Bucks announced that five players from the rookie camp had earned roster spots. The team committed defensemen Cameron Kungle and Cam Reid, and forwards Nathan Fox, Jarrod Smith, and Hayden Gelbard. In this article, I will continue my Bucks at a glance series by looking at each of the five rookie camp additions.

Cameron Kungle

Kungle, a 2002-born defenseman, joins the Bucks from the Okanagan Hockey Academy Red Prep of the Canadian Sport School Hockey League. Prior to that, he played and developed in his hometown of Red Deer, Alberta.

Kungle played one season with the Red Deer Rebels U15 AAA squad, in the Alberta Elite Hockey League. He racked up three goals and 11 points in 36 games.

He spent the following season with the Red Deer Northstar Chiefs U16 AAA team, also in the AEHL. In 34 games, he chipped in one goal and 15 points. He then added two assists in five playoff games that year.

Kungle spent parts of two seasons playing for the Red Deer CanPro U18 AA in the South Central Alberta Hockey League. The defenseman scored five goals and added 18 assists for 23 points in 41 total regular season games. He added four assists in eight SCAHL playoff games. 

Last year in the Canadian Sport School Hockey League with OHA, Kungle scored one goal and 14 points in 31 regular season games. He also contributed one assist in two playoff games.

Bucks’ head coach and general manager Ryan Donald shared his thoughts on Kungle in the team’s media release.

“Cam is a player who stood out at our rookie camp for a number of reasons. He is a defenseman who has size and length in his game but also showed very good puck skill and mobility for a player with his frame. We are excited to bring Cam to Cranbrook and be a part of his continued growth and development in the future,” said Donald.

Cam Reid

Reid is also a 2002-born defenseman, who joins the Bucks from the Kimberley Dynamiters of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League. He played his minor hockey in both Kimberley and Cranbrook. No stranger to playing sports in Cranbrook, Reid also spent the last two seasons playing baseball for the Cranbrook Bandits.

Reid played one season for the Cranbrook Hornets U15 AA, in the SCAHL. He scored 17 goals and added 22 assists for 39 points in 28 games.

Reid then spent the two seasons as an affiliate player for the Dynamiters, while playing U18 minor hockey in Cranbrook. He got into three games with the Dynamiters over the course of those two seasons, contributing one assist.

Last year, his first full season in the KIJHL, Reid played 40 games with the Dynamiters and put up three goals and 18 points. He also played two playoff games last season with Kimberley, in which he was held off the scoresheet.

Reid was awarded the Jerry Bancks Award for 2020, given to the Selkirk Sports School athlete who “works to achieve excellence in their academic and athletic lives while being a positive influence and presence in their community.”

Congratulations Cam Reid!! 🧨💥KABOOM!!!💥🧨

Posted by Kimberley Dynamiters Hockey on Sunday, July 12, 2020

Donald is thrilled to have Reid with the team. “Cam possesses exceptional skating ability and is a defenseman that stood out at our rookie camp in September. After watching him play in more detail, it became clear to our staff that Cam is a player who is prepared to make the jump to the BCHL this season.”

Nathan Fox

Fox is a 2002-born forward from Okotoks, Alberta. He comes to Cranbrook from the Airdrie Thunder of the Heritage Junior Hockey League. An experienced player for his age, he has worn six different jerseys in the last four seasons.

Fox played 38 games over two seasons with the Rocky Mountain Raiders U15 AAA in the AEHL. He scored 17 goals and added 20 assists for 37 points in those 38 games.

Fox then spent a full season playing for the Rockyview Raiders U16 AAA, also in the AEHL. He scored 13 goals and added 13 assists in 32 games that season.

The forward also suited up in 37 games over two seasons with the Okotoks Oilers U18 AAA team. He totalled 14 goals and 20 assists for 34 points in those 37 games.

Fox spent last season primarily in junior B with Airdrie in the HJHL, scoring 21 goals and 35 points in 29  games. In six playoff games with the Thunder, he had one goal and one assist.

Over the last two seasons, Fox gained junior A experience in the Alberta Junior Hockey League. He has played three games as an affiliate player with the Grande Prairie Storm, and the Drumheller Dragons, but was held pointless.

”Nathan is a player that our staff has tracked for a while and showed extremely well at our rookie camp in early September,” said Donald. “He has a good combination of speed and skill which will allow him to fit into our style of play well. He is a player that can play multiple roles in our lineup and is a player we are excited to work with.”

Jarrod Smith

Smith is a 2004-born forward who joins the Bucks from West Vancouver Hockey Academy. He suited up for three different teams over the last two seasons at West Van, all within the CSSHL.

Two years ago, Smith played for West Van’s Bantam Prep Team. He scored 11 goals and added 13 assists for 24 points in 27 games. In four playoff games, he contributed one assist.

Last season, Smith played for West Van’s Elite 15’s team. He managed 13 goals and 19 assists for 32 points in 36 games. Smith also appeared in a couple of games for West Van’s U18 Prep team but did not record any points.

“Jarrod is a player that encompasses a lot of what we want in our hockey club – work ethic, competitiveness, speed, and tenacity,” explained Donald. “He adds a large motor to a very good offensive skill set which we believe will make him an effective BCHL player during his career. In addition to his on-ice abilities, he is a young man that is mature beyond his years. Jarrod will be a great addition to our team and the city of Cranbrook.”

Hayden Gelbard

Gelbard, like Smith, is also from West Vancouver. He is a 2002-born forward who most recently played for the Vancouver North West Hawks in the BC U18 AAA league. He played several levels of hockey over their past four seasons, including some BCHL games.

Gelbard played one full season with West Van Academy’s Elite 15’s in the CSSHL in 2017-18. He scored 15 goals and added 14 assists for 29 points in 36 games that year. Gelbard also scored one goal in three playoff games.

The bulk of his recent playing years have come in the BC U18 AAA league. Over three seasons, he scored 17 goals and added 37 assists for 54 points in 77 games. He also played seven BC U18 AAA playoff games but did not record any points.

During each of the last two seasons, Gelbard played BCHL games as an affiliate player. In 10 combined games with the Vernon Vipers and West Kelowna Warriors, Gelbard didn’t record his first BCHL point. However, he did light the lamp while wearing a Warriors jersey during an exhibition game in Trail last summer.

“Hayden is another forward that our staff has followed for a while and used our rookie camp to solidify a place on our roster for our inaugural BCHL season. He has great strength in his game and plays a very consistent game. He is the type of player that can move around a lineup easily due to his versatility and consistency. We are thrilled to be able to add Hayden to our roster this fall,” said Donald.

While we don’t yet know what the Bucks first BCHL season looks like, they continue to add quality pieces to their first ever roster.