Garrett James Photography

Powell River Kings update: Roster moves and college commitments

Since my last article on the Kings, the team has experienced several changes. Because of injuries, the Kings brought in several goalies to backstop the team and it has been busy off the ice as well.

With the season more than half-finished, Powell River is preparing for the playoffs. Before the trade deadline, the Kings made several moves to bolster their roster and have also seen new college commitments made.

For this article, I want to recap the roster moves made by Powell River but before that, I want to talk about their retro jersey night in February.

The Kings franchise traces its origins back to Abbotsford. From 1976-85, the Flyers played in Abbotsford, and from 1985-88, they played in Delta before moving to Powell River. On Feb. 12, the Kings will wear retro jerseys inspired by the Flyers team when they host the Nanaimo Clippers for a retro-inspired night.

Changes on the ice

Because of goaltender injuries, the Kings recruited several goalies to backstop the team. The first of these replacement goalies was Kenny Gerow. He played four games for Powell River before joining the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League’s Osoyoos Coyotes.

After Gerow, the fill-in goalie was hometown netminder Nick Peters, who played for the Kings during the 2021 Coquitlam pod. This season, Peters played one game for Powell River and is currently a full-time member of the Campbell River Storm of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League.

The final new goalie is Matthias Smith, who Powell River signed in October after Zak Brice and Thomas Wardle were injured. Smith last played for the Dauphin Kings of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League.

Before the calendar switched over to 2022, Powell River picked up defenseman Lucas Bourdon from Chilliwack for future considerations. At the BCHL trade deadline on Jan. 10, the Kings acquired defenseman Matthew Yakubowski from the MJHL’s Winnipeg Freeze. In exchange, the Freeze received future considerations.

With Brice and Smith as the new goalie tandem, the Kings are looking for a strong finish in their playoff push.

Changes off the ice

One change is the college commitment of Kings forward Hunter Andrew. In early December, Andrew committed to playing NCAA Division I hockey at Canisius College this September.

Aside from Andrew’s recent commitment, many Kings players already have college commitments for next season. All of those existing commitments were made before they came to play for Powell River.

Forward Mark D’Agostino is committed to the University of Connecticut for 2022-23. D’Agostino earned his college commitment in July 2017. Meanwhile, defenseman Jason Marsella is committed to Yale University for next season. Marsella obtained his college commitment in October 2017.

As for Kings starting goalie Brice, he’s committed to Arizona State University for next season. He earned his college commitment in August 2019.

These are several Kings players who are aging out or heading to school, I suspect this coming off-season will be busy for the team.

Last year was busy for Powell River as several Kings players departed for American junior teams in January. Powell River was busy recruiting new players before this season so don’t be surprised to see several new faces next season.

The playoff push

As of this writing, the Kings are still in a playoff spot but will have to fight off the Coquitlam Express and Cowichan Valley Capitals, who are directly behind them in the standings.

While the Kings are in the playoff hunt now, they’ll face a strong opponent early on if they make it to the post-season dance. Langley, Alberni Valley, and Nanaimo sit atop the conference and will present a significant challenge to those teams which finish in the sixth, seventh, and eighth positions come playoff time.