Welcome to Quick Shift, which provides a preview of each of the 20 Kootenay International Junior Hockey League teams, with insights from their respective general manager-head coach. Next are the Creston Valley Thunder Cats in the Eddie Mountain division. The Thunder Cats finished fifth in their division with a record of 19-23-1-1 and qualified for the KIJHL Teck Cup playoffs crossing over to the Neil Murdoch division. They defeated the Grand Forks Border Bruins in the opening round, then lost to the Beaver Valley Nitehawks. The Thunder Cats enter the season with KIJHL MVP Luke Charkabarti returning after he put up 78 points in 41 regular season games. Head Coach-GM Brad Tobin responded to questions.
What are the important characteristics/skills you look for in players to shape your roster?
We place a big emphasis on character both on- and off-the-ice. We want them to possess a strong work ethic and buy-in to the team mentality.
Did you have a good off-season of recruiting?
We feel like we added the right pieces and how quickly they get accustomed to the KIJHL is the big question.
What do you like about the group of players returning who will play a big part on your team?
We’ve got a good mix of players returning this season and have high expectations as we want to build team chemistry early with the incoming players to start off strong.
What were some key areas of success achieved last season that the organization wants to build on?
Having won a series and going to a second round Game 7 overtime has raised our expectations. Our returning players understand what is needed throughout the regular season to put the team in a good spot for playoff success.
What is the important vision you have that leads to building the team you want?
We want the players to come to the rink each day with enthusiasm, passion, and the desire to improve individually and as a team. This is what we strive for on a week-to-week basis in order to reach our goals.