Storm’s Dublin connection paying off
Dublin, Ireland, and Dublin, Calif., are on opposite sides of the globe, but you probably won’t find many hockey players in either city.
The Kamloops Storm somehow found two best buddies from the California Dublin, and they’re part of the reason the Storm is 3 0 0 1 so far this KIJHL season.
Spencer Schoech, a 19 year old defenceman, and Taylor Ward, an 18 year old forward, have been steady through four games, putting up identical totals of two goals and three assists.
And while Dublin is best known for being the capital city in Ireland, it’s also the name of a town of 46,000 in Western California. Neither town is a hockey hotbed, but the California version which was named after the Ireland one has produced for the Storm a couple of gems.
“They’ve really brought a lot to the team,” says Storm head coach Brad Priestlay. “It’s good to have them here.”
Kamloops is scheduled to play host to the Chase Heat tonight, 7 o’clock, at McArthur Island Sport and Event Centre.
Dublin, Cal timberland shoes if., which is located about half an hour from San Jose, is a football town.
But from its one ice rink has come a successful program the Tri Valley Blue Devils. It’s the program that helped develop Schoech and Ward and one that has sent its midget team to three straight national championships.
“We were very successful,” Schoech says. “I got to go to nationals in Lansing, Mich. . . . I played for the team for two years, and we made nationals both years.”
But it is a long way from Dublin to Kamloops, especially when you make a stop in Prince George along the way.
Schoech and Ward ended up in town after meeting Storm owner Barry Dewar at the Prince George Spruce Kings’ spring camp. Dewar told the boys that if things didn’t work out in Prince George, they would have a home in Kamloops.
“I looked it up online and saw that it was like a desert area,” Schoech says. “I had no idea what to expect moving here . . . but I like it.”
It has been an excellent start for Kamloops, especially considering the team has dressed anywhere from 11 to 13 rookies in each of its first four games. And while Kamloops is getting contributions from veterans Blake Culbert (seven points), Daniel Buchanan (five points) and Josh Rasmussen (two goals Tuesday in his first game back from injury), among others, the rookies are providing depth on both ends.
Schoech, who also has 20 penalty minutes this season, is looking somewhat similar to the smooth Buchanan, a timberland shoes 19 year old who led Kamloops’ defencemen in scoring in 2011 12.
“Spencer’s a good, mobile de timberland shoes fenceman,” Priestlay says. “He carries the puck well and he likes to hit. Any time you can add a guy like that to your lineup, it’s nice.”
Ward has been an integral part of the Storm’s best forward line in the early going, playing alongside Culbert and Ian Chrystal.
“Ward, he works hard and he’s a banger crasher type,” Priestlay says. “He always seems to find the puck and can put it in the net.”
Schoech and Ward certainly love Kamloops so far, although they haven’t had to suffer through any cold weather yet.
They also love having one another here, so they’re not doing this alone.
“We’re kind of like a package deal,” Schoech says. “We played together last year and went to Prince George together, and then came here together.
“It’s nice to have him around.”
“We’re like brothers,” War timberland shoes d adds. “I love being here with him. It’s fantastic to have him here.”
JUST NOTES: Priestlay said G Ty Hamer Jackson, who has backed up G Marcus Beesley so far, will get the start tonight. . . . . . . . . . The competition? Which side can fill the most sandbags, with Husky donating money to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation for every bag filled. The tools will be supplied by Surplus Herby’s, and the winning team will get pizza from Papa John’s.