With the start of the Pacific Junior Hockey League season just days away – in late July, the league announced a 44-game season would begin Sept. 29 – the White Rock Whalers are busy filling out its roster.
The junior ‘B’ team, which will be entering its third season, has announced a bevy of signings lately, with South Delta Minor Hockey forward Caelan Ramage being the most recent.
The 2001-born Ramage played one game for the Whalers last season as an affiliate player.
The addition of Ramage to the team’s forward ranks follows the Sept. 18 signing of defenceman Nathan Friesen – who also played one PJHL game last season as an affiliate – who joins White Rock from the Greater Vancouver Canadians of the BC Major Midget League. Other signings include Langley forward Ryden Mathieson, formerly of the Fraser Valley Thunderbirds of the BCMML; goaltender Keegan Maddocks, from the Delta Hockey Academy; forward Kai Hughes of the Greater Vancouver Canadians; plus two more forwards, Seth Hebert and Milo Schneidmiller, who were teammates last season with the Bellingham Blazers of the Western States Hockey League.
The Blazers are coached by Semiahmoo Minor Hockey Association alum – and former NHL defenceman – Colten Teubert.
Schneidmiller, who is from Calgary and played in the Alberta Midget AAA Hockey League prior to joining the Blazers, tallied 41 goals and 83 points in just 49 games last year in Bellingham, and along with a number of the Whalers’ new forwards, is expected to provide an offensive boost this season.
“I love to score,” he said in a news release posted to the Whalers’ website in early September.
“I really trust the (Whalers’) program and I think (it’s) going to get me to the next level.”
Though COVID-19 protocols have added a wrinkle to the PJHL’s plans for this season – a schedule is still not posted on the league’s official website and Whalers head coach Jason Rogers told Peace Arch News last month that he thought the Sept. 29 start date was a little optimistic – the Whalers are preparing as if they’ll soon hit the ice for regular-season action.
“We pride ourselves on being prepared and doing the heavy lifting early, so we’re ready for whatever comes at us. So no matter what the season looks like or when it starts, we’ll be ready,” Rogers told PAN in August.
In early September, the PJHL announced teams would be divided into ‘cohort divisions’ of a maximum of four teams, as opposed to the league’s traditional two-conference alignment.
The league also set a roster deadline of Sept. 15. After which, any new players would have to quarantine for 14 days before participating in any capacity with their new team.