BCHL Next Generation: Prince George Spruce Kings

In the weeks leading up to the start of the 2022-23 season, we will be going team-by-team to profile new players coming in for the upcoming year. This will include recaps of offseason commitments and acquisitions, as well as scouting reports from the coaches.

We will start with the Interior Conference. Next up is the Prince George Spruce Kings.

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The Prince George Spruce Kings finished in fourth place in the Interior Conference last year and defeated the Cranbrook Bucks in six games of their first-round series.

They bowed out in the second round to the eventual champion Penticton Vees, but all in all it was another successful season for league’s northern-most team.

With five of their top-six forwards moving on, as well as a handful of defencemen and a key member of their goaltending platoon, it was time to restock this offseason. Alex Evin is back behind the bench for his fourth year as head coach of the team and he breaks down all the new recruits and acquisitions.

New recruits

Luca Primerano (2005, F)

  • Hometown: North Vancouver, B.C.
  • Previous team: Burnaby Winter Club U18 Prep (CSSHL U18)

Primerano was BWC’s top point getter last year when he put up 58 points in 35 games on 23 goals and a team-best 35 assists. He also played in two of Prince George’s second-round playoff games as an affiliate in the spring.

Evin’s scouting report:

“We believe Luca has a really bright future, not just in our league, but beyond, whether it’s in college or professionally. He’s got the size. He’s got a great skillset with a high hockey IQ. He’s a competitive kid. He was around our program a lot in the second half of last season. We really like the type of person and character he is. We’re excited to have him develop in our program.”

Jake Schneider (2002, F)

  • Hometown: Plymouth, Minn.
  • Previous team: Waterloo Black Hawks (USHL)
  • College commitment: Colgate University

Schneider had six goals, seven assists and 13 points in 41 games for Waterloo in the USHL last season. Prior to that, he was a star at Wayzata High in Minnesota.

Evin’s scouting report:

“We think Jake can play in all situations. He has experience in a very good league in the USHL. He’s a solid team player. He’s going to be a really good piece for our group, not only on the ice, but off the ice as well.”

Charlie Banquier (2002, D)

  • Hometown: Oakville, Ont.
  • Previous team: Odessa Jackalopes (NAHL)

Banquier played the past two seasons in Odessa. In 2021-22, he was the team’s second highest scoring defenceman with 19 points in 57 games.

Evin’s scouting report:

“We’ve watched Charlie for some time now. Every time we went back through our list and watched players, we noticed that he was improving, so we think he’s trending in the right direction as a young athlete. He’s going to be a solid defender that can keep the puck moving and play a really physical game. He’ll also bring some leadership to our group.”

Adam Mendelson (2003, F)

  • Hometown: Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Que.
  • Previous team: Westminster Prep (USHS-Prep)

Mendelson was Westminster’s leading scorer in 2021-22 with 35 points in 26 games. His 19 assists were the most on the team and his 16 goals were tied for top spot.

Evin’s scouting report:

“Adam is a very fast, hard-nosed, two-way forward. We’re really excited to have this player. I feel like he’ll fit right in with the identity of our team.”

Luke Schraeder (2005, D)

  • Hometown: Kelowna, B.C.
  • Previous team: Rink Hockey Academy Kelowna U18 (CSSHL U18)

Schraeder tied for second in scoring among defencemen on his team last season with 19 points in 33 contests. He also got into six games with Prince George as an affiliate.

Evin’s scouting report:

“He’s been to our camps previously. He’s gone through the process that way. He’s a good, young, mobile, new-age style defenceman. He’s got a lot of room to grow, so we’re looking forward to getting his development started full-time next season.”

Brayden Skogstad (2005, F)

  • Hometown: Kelowna, B.C.
  • Previous team: Rink Hockey Academy Kelowna U18 (CSSHL U18)

Skogstad totalled 22 points in 27 games for his team in 2021-22. He also has BCHL experience, having affiliated with the Spruce Kings for three games last year.

Evin’s scouting report:

“You could say the same things about Brayden as I said for Luke [Schraeder]. They were up at our camps. They affiliated with us last season and got into game action. We really liked what we saw out of them as people and we liked their potential on the ice. Brayden will most likely be a centreman. He’s a really smart player.”

Dom Murphy (2003, F)

  • Hometown: Worcester, Mass.
  • Previous team: St. Mark’s School (USHS-Prep)
  • College commitment: College of the Holy Cross

Murphy played three years at St. Mark’s and was his team’s leading scorer last year, amassing 53 points over 28 games. He also led them in assists with 40. The 18-year-old scored four goals and added an assist in a five-game stint with the Boston Jr. Bruins of the NCDC in 2021-22.

Evin’s scouting report:

“He’s a speedy, hard-nosed, in-your-face type of player who should produce at our level one day. We’re excited to add him to our forward group.”

Aleksy Bandu (2004, D)

  • Hometown: Montreal, Que.
  • Previous team: The Governor’s Academy (USHS-Prep)

After playing his youth hockey at Collège Ste-Anne in Montreal, Bandu played prep hockey for The Governor’s Academy in Massachusetts last season. He compiled three goals and three assists for six points in 27 contests. He is the younger brother of former Victoria Grizzlies defenceman Isack Bandu.

Evin’s scouting report:

“He’s big and strong and is the type of defenceman that can move the puck north. His family is familiar with the league and the process. He will be raw, but we like his future upside.”

Luke Eurig (2003, F)

  • Hometown: Mount Forest, Ont.
  • Previous team: Elmira Sugar Kings (GOJHL)

Eurig was over a point-per-game playing Junior B in Ontario last season with 49 points in 47 games, including a team-high 27 goals. He amassed 61 points in 77 games playing for Elmira.

Evin’s scouting report:

“We think he’s a smart, speedy and hard-working player. He should add depth down the middle for us.”

Acquired via trade

Jack Stockfish (2002, F)

  • Hometown: North Bay, Ont.
  • Previous team: Pembroke Lumber Kings (CCHL)
  • College commitment: College of the Holy Cross

Stockfish had been with Pembroke in the CCHL for three years prior to being acquired by Prince George in a trade on June 5. Last year, he was over a point-per-game player with 50 points in 47 games, good enough for second on his team.

Evin’s scouting report:

“We lost five of our top-six forwards from last year, but we’re really happy with the 2003-born players that we have moving up the lineup. Looking at our depth chart, we definitely needed to add someone with some experience and he’s a power forward that can score. We hope he can fill that void for us.”

Tait Ross (2004, D)

  • Hometown: Coquitlam, B.C.
  • Previous team: Surrey Eagles (BCHL)
  • College commitment: Dartmouth College

Ross spent the past two seasons with the Eagles. He broke into the league as a 16-year-old rookie during the pod season in 2020-21 and notched two goals and four assists in 16 games. Last year, he put up five helpers in 32 contests. He was acquired by the Spruce Kings in June as future considerations for a trade originally completed last November.

Evin’s scouting report:

“He’s someone that we liked prior to him signing in Surrey. We were watching him closely when he was with Delta Hockey Academy. It may be good for him to have a fresh start. We think he’s got a lot of upside and we’re hoping to get that out of him as a Spruce King.”

Aidan Feddema (2003, G)

  • Hometown: Bowmanville, Ont.
  • Previous team: Grande Prairie Storm (AJHL)

After several standout seasons at Bishop’s College in Quebec, Feddema got his first taste of junior experience last season with Grande Prairie where he went 11-16-6 in 36 appearances and recorded one shutout.

Evin’s scouting report:

“It’s important to have two really good goalies in our conference. The league has so much parity. We’ve had two good goalies the last two years that could play any night and we wanted to add someone that could continue that. We believe Aidan is going to be able to fill that role.”

Photo credits: Dave Watling (Primerano, Skogstad), Stephanie Lyn (Schneider), Danne Braden (Banquier), Dan Hickling (Mendelson), Tanya Taylor/Censational Photography (Eurig), Garrett James Photography (Ross), Diesel Powered Images (Feddema)