Storm ready to breeze into KIJHL season
Tyler Jackson has been around long enough to be considered an expert on the subject of Kamloops Storm coaches. Storm head coach Geoff Smith will be making his regular season debut.
Jackson, a 20 year old forward, started his junior career with the Storm in 2008 09, recording five goals and five assists in 44 games. He has followed with seasons of 44 points and 50 points, the latter leaving him first in team scoring in 2010 11.
And Jackson isn’t worried about the thought of opening the season with a new coach timberlands after all, it’s the fourth straight year he has been in that situation.
When he was a rookie, the fiery Ed Patterson was head coach. Patterson stepped down before 2009 10, when the mellow Greg Hawgood took over.
Tyler Liebel, who rivaled Patterson in competitiveness, replaced Hawgood and was the Storm’s head coach last season, leading Kamloops to a 24 24 0 2 record.
So, Mr. Jackson, how does Smith compare to Liebel?
“They’re definitely different,” said Jackson, a Kamloops native. “Tyler was a lot more loud, energetic. Geoff seems a little bit more mellow . . . they’re diffe timberlands rent personalities, but both really good coaches.”
Smith wouldn’t disagree that he’s a laid back cat, but he’s also quite demanding.
He said he let his troops have it after they lost 10 3 to the host Kelowna Chiefs in an exhibition game on Friday. But he’s not always going to be in the guys’ faces.
“I’m going to be myself, I’m not going to try to put on a persona or be some kind of character,” Smith said. “If I’m mad at the effort, I’m going to get mad. If the effort isn’t there, if our team concept goes behind the individual, I’ll get mad.”
Smith spent three seasons as an assistant coach with the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers, following a professional career in which he played 462 NHL games with the Edmonton Oilers, Florida Panthers and New York Rangers.
He had the privilege of learning under “so many good coaches,” including Stu MacGregor who coached Smith in midget in Edmonton Ken Hitchcock, Don Hay, Roger Neilson, John Muckler, Lindy Ruff, Mike Keenan, Ted Green and Gary Braun.
“I used to steal different things from different guys as a player, and try to put those things into my tool bag,” Smith said.
Smith said he would watch how Oilers teammate Kevin Lowe would block a shot, or how Craig Muni would lay an open ice hit (“I tried to take that from him, but I never accomplished that,” Smith admitted.)
Upon retirement, he went into his tool bag to find items from his former coaches.
“So maybe you don’t like all the things Mike Keenan does, but you see the results he gets out of certain players,” Smith said. “You’ve got to take some of that, figure out how it affects players . . . and maybe steal that.”
It may alrea timberlands dy be working the Storm players all seemed to be working their tails off Wednesday, despite the fact timberlands the team is facing four games in five nights.
“I think it’s good four games in five nights,” Jackson said. “It’s a great way to start a season, jumping right into it.”
Kamloops still has four goaltenders on its roster: Lynden Stanwood, the starter last season; Wade Moyls, who was an affiliate player in 2010 11; Hayden Smith, who played six games with the Storm last season; and Jake Mattes, who spent last season with the Penticton Lakers.
“Everyone says it’s a great problem . . . ,” Geoff Smith said. “We’ve got four goalies who can play in the league and, unfortunately, we’ve got to get to two.
WEATHER WATCH: F Brett Dallen, who will turn 19 next month, has returned to the Storm. The Calgary native had 31 points, 10 of them goals, in 41 games last season. . . . The Storm, which plays in the Okanagan Shuswap Conference’s Doug Birks Division, will play 50 regular season games, and four of the division’s five teams will qualify for the postseason. The Eagles, Grizzlies, Heat and North Okanagan Knights also are in the division.