Cam Reid of the Kimberley Dynamiters, Bryce Sookro of the Nelson Leafs, Brandon Gallo of the Revelstoke Grizzlies and Ty Marchant of the Kelowna Chiefs are the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League Top Defencemen for their respective divisions.
Reid – Eddie Mountain Division – “It was definitely a confidence booster going into playoffs, just being recognized definitely helps with personal stuff,” he said. “It was nice not even being here for the full season, but still getting that recognition. It just made me feel valued as a player.”
Reid felt he played pretty well for the Dynamiters. He was welcomed back by teammates upon his return from playing in the BCHL with the Cranbrook Bucks. Teammates made him feel right at home, which helped his game a lot. The experience he gained while with the Bucks was helpful in how he played for the Dynamiters and his contributions to team success. He improved defensively and offensively.
“I had more poise with the puck, now after playing in a league that is a little bit faster,” he said. “It helps me with my playmaking decisions. I have that split second extra time here.”
What Reid has liked about his performance is how much he was able to produce offensively. He also faced top lines in a shutdown role and felt he did a pretty good job. He contributes that from playing against higher end players in the BCHL.
Sookro – Neil Murdoch Division – A recipient of the Rookie of the Year award for his division, Sookro said “I was also kind of surprised by that. I was a little overwhelmed by both the awards and I was just so happy for myself.”
Sookro, who also played two games as an affiliate player with the BCHL’s Cranbrook Bucks, gained some confidence from that experience. Playing for his hometown Leafs, Sookro was happy that he was able to put up points and be given big responsibilities.
“I liked that I got a chance to run the power-play quite a bit and just be a reliable defenceman that the coaches could trust in important games,” he said.
Gallo – Doug Birks Division – “It was a huge honour. I know there is a lot of good defencemen in our division. A lot of good competition,” said Gallo of winning the award and was named the KIJHL’s Top Defenceman yesterday.
In 36 games, Gallo had eight goals and 16 assists for 24 points. He scored five goals on the power-play and half of his goals were game-winners.
“I had a good season. I’ve put up some good numbers,” he said. “I’m in it to win it this year as our team is in the finals. I’m mostly just looking forward to that. It’s nice to be awarded with that, but that’s obviously not the main goal.”
While Gallo is an offensive defenceman, he was happy how he improved his defensive skills with the help of the Grizzlies coaching staff. It gave him confidence knowing they trusted him in key situations.
“I wouldn’t say I’m a defensive liability. I’m working on my two-way game more,” he said.
“I made a big jump in my defensive game this year.”
Marchant – Bill Ohlhausen Division – The hometown product led the Chiefs in points with 11 goals and 42 points in 41 games.
“I played pretty good. I wasn’t very consistent as I had some cold patches,” he said. “I made up for that with some good games here and there.”
During stretches when he wasn’t producing offensively, Marchant focused on playing a strong defensive game against the top lines in his division.
“It’s good to play against top players and it definitely helped me improve for sure,” said Marchant.
The 6-3, 180-pound defenceman liked that he was able to contribute to team success by being effective on the power-play. Marchant had six goals and 16 assists for 22 points on the man advantage.