Cowichan Valley Capitals offseason primer

After sneaking into the playoffs, the Cowichan Valley Capitals are building for the upcoming season and have been recruiting players since January.

To this point, Cowichan has recruited seven players for 2022-23. They come from U18 programs and prep schools across North America. Six of the new players are forwards and one is a defender.

For this article, I want to profile these seven recruits, including where they came from and what they can do for Cowichan Valley. Before that though, I want to profile the Caps’ upcoming 2022-23 season.

Looking ahead to 2022-23

The Capitals open their 2022-23 season at home on Sept. 23 against the Alberni Valley Bulldogs. You may remember the Dogs swept Cowichan in the first round of this past season’s playoffs.

On Oct. 7, the Capitals play their first road game against the Nanaimo Clippers, who were the Coastal Conference champions in 2021-22.

Cowichan Valley’s final home game is Mar. 11 when it plays the Chilliwack Chiefs for the third time during the season. Finally, on Mar. 26, the Capitals play their final regular season game when they visit the Surrey Eagles after a game the night before in Chilliwack.

On Dec. 4, the Salmon Arm Silverbacks visit the Capitals, which is a rematch of the final from a simulated 2020 playoffs on the EA Sports NHL 20 video. I wrote about the simulated series in a past article.

The Capitals begin a two-game road trip on Dec. 9 which sees them visit Prince George and Merritt before heading home.

Cowichan visits Powell River on Dec. 3 for the first of seven games against the Kings. In 2021-22, the Caps beat out Powell River for the final Coastal Conference playoff spot.

The Capitals don’t travel past Penticton this season and welcome the Trail Smoke Eaters on Nov. 5. Finally, Cowichan plays against the Cranbrook Bucks at the 2022 BCHL Showcase in Chilliwack.

New players heading to Duncan

The first new Capital is defender Saxen Robertson, who comes from the Pittsburgh Penguins elite hockey program. He’s also played at the Selects Academy for two seasons. Last season, Saxen scored six goals and added 10 assists.

Joining Robertson up front this season is Dawson Lukey. He comes from the Gilmore Academy in Ohio. Before that, Lukey played for several U18 teams in Ontario. Last season at Gilmore, Lukey tallied 20 goals and 26 assists.

Up next is forward Jacob Ierfino, who, Like Lukey, played for several U18 programs before playing prep school hockey. Last season, Ierfino was with Portsmouth Abbey School, scoring 26 goals and chipping in with 21 assists.

Next up is forward Andrew Haxton. He played prep hockey at Noble and Greenough School in Dedham, MA. Like the other recruits, Haxton played for a number of U18 teams over the last several seasons. In 2021-22 with Nobles, he had 11 goals and six assists in 26 games.

Up next is forward Brandon Clarke. He comes to Cowichan Valley from Rothesay Netherwood School. Clarke also played three games last season as an affiliate for the Maritime Junior Hockey League’s Miramichi Timberwolves. Across 45 games, Clarke potted 33 goals and 16 assists.

Next up is forward Kai Dunits from Ridley College in St. Catherine’s, ON. Before playing prep hockey at Ridley, Dunits spent time with several U18 teams in his home province. In 20 games last season, Dunits notched 11 goals and 12 assists.

More new players

Another new player for the Caps is defender Dimitri-Alexander Tzaferis. He joins them from Choate Rosemary Hall School in the U.S. high school prep league. Before that, Tzaferis played for several U18 and U15 teams in Quebec. At Choate this past season, Tzaferis had a goal and four assists in 24 games.

Another new player is defender Nate Tivey, who spent 2021-22 with the Hamilton Kilty B’s of the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League. Previously, Tivey spent several seasons with the Hamilton Bulldogs U18 program. In 43 games with the Kilty B’s last season, Tivey put up three goals and 21 assists.

Also incoming to the Capitals is forward Connor Brazil, a recruit from Avon Old Farms School. Prior to being with Avon Old Farms, he spent time at the Gentry Academy and with the Arizona Bobcats. Brazil scored eight goals and tallied 10 assists in 22 prep school games with Avon Old Farms in 2021-22.

The final recruit to highlight is forward Greye Rampton. He joins Cowichan Valley from Yale Hockey Academy of the Canadian Sport School Hockey League. It’s where Rampton has played the last four seasons. In 2021-22 with the U18 squad, Rampton sniped 20 goals and added 13 assists.

The 2022-23 roster

Looking at these new players joining the Capitals reveals several things. The recruits are mostly coming from prep schools and U18 programs. The other thing to note is these players’ offensive skills as several of them have double-digit point totals.

The 2021-22 Capitals roster had 11 players score more than 10 points and of those 11, four scored more than 15 goals.

Last season, Cowichan’s top scorer was David Jacobs and he finished with 17 goals and 35 assists in 54 games. He won’t be back with the Capitals this season as he moves on to play NCAA hockey at Princeton University.

Second to Jacobs in points was Luke Haymes. He, like Dunits, also played at Ridley College before starting his junior hockey career. No doubt, the new players will look to Haymes as a leader on the 2022-23 Cowichan Valley Capitals roster.