BCHL Next Generation: Trail Smoke Eaters

All summer we’ll be going team-by-team to profile new players coming in for the 2020-21 season with recaps of offseason commits and acquisitions. We will also have interviews and scouting reports from the coaches.

Next up is the Trail Smoke Eaters.

Taking over a new team as a head coach is always a challenging task, but taking over a new team as a head coach during a global pandemic is something completely different.

That’s the situation that Trail Smoke Eaters head coach and general manager Tim Fragle finds himself in after he was hired in May.

“It’s definitely been a unique situation,” he said. “Moving during a pandemic is sure interesting and then there’s the uncertainty every time you talk to a returning player, a new recruit or potential player. It’s been an extremely interesting time.”

Fragle coached the last four seasons at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) and also played for the Smoke Eaters for parts of three seasons in the late 1990s.

The Edmonton, Alta. native is taking over a team that finished second in the Interior Division last season with a record of 36-17-2-2.

He’s hopeful that, once he’s able to put his systems in place, this year’s team will be able to regain that same form.

“I love for my teams to play the game fast and play it right in all three zones,” he said. “We want to play with some structure, but also still allow the players to make some creative plays. At the end of the day, you have to work and you have to compete. Those are two cornerstones for any team that I’ve been involved with.”

New recruits:

David Sacco (2002, F)

  • Hometown: Middleton, Mass.
  • Previous team: Lawrence Academy (USHS-Prep)
  • College commitment: University of New Hampshire (2021-22)

Sacco was the second-leading scorer at Lawrence Academy last season, finishing the year with 40 points in 24 games. The 18-year-old is ranked as the 141st North American prospect heading into the NHL Draft this year.

Fragle’s scouting report:

“David is a big, strong power forward who can shoot it pretty well. He’s a guy that was highly regarded. He’s coming in as committed player. He’s a guy that can do everything.”

Liam Connors (2001, F)

  • Hometown: Southborough, Mass.
  • Previous team: St. Sebastian’s School (USHS-Prep)
  • College commitment: Boston College (2021-22)

Connors played at St. Sebastian’s in Needham, Mass. for the past four years where he totaled 137 points in 116 games over his career. His best point total came in 2018-19 when he had 43 in 29 games.

Fragle’s scouting report:

“He’s an offensive player who really caught the eye of our staff here. He’s a high-end, skilled player. With the guys we’ve lost from last year, he’s someone that we’re hopeful can come in and help with that offensive punch we had last season.”

Quinn Disher (2003, F)

  • Hometown: Fort St. John, B.C.
  • Previous team: Okanagan Hockey Academy Red Prep (CSSHL)

The 17-year-old led his team in nearly all offensive categories last year, including points with 42, goals with 18 and assists with 24. He also played in one BCHL game as an affiliate for the Penticton Vees.

Fragle’s scouting report:

“He’s a really smart, heady player. He’s a young guy, but has a really high IQ. We’re excited to see how he develops. When you’re a young player, you have to believe in yourself. We see a lot of upside in Quinn.”

Cameron Moger (2002, D)

  • Hometown: Vernon, B.C.
  • Previous team: Okanagan Rockets (BC U18AAA)

Moger led the Rockets in points from the back end last season with 47 in 40 games. He also had the most assists of any player on his team with 37. The Vernon, B.C. native played in two games with Trail as affiliate in 2019-20.

Fragle’s scouting report:

“Cameron was a highly sought-after recruit. I think he’s a guy that’s going to provide some offence down the road. He brings a lot to the table – a lot of different variables. I’m excited to get the chance to work with him.”

Zack Feaver (2002, F)

  • Hometown: Chilliwack, B.C.
  • Previous team: Fraser Valley Thunderbirds (BC U18AAA)

Feaver played the last three seasons for Fraser Valley, finishing last year as the team’s leading scorer with 52 points in 39 games. He also led the Thunderbirds in assists with 37. The 18-year-old should already be familiar with the Smoke Eaters as he played a pair of games as an affiliate in 2019-20.

Fragle’s scouting report:

“We just like his overall game. He does a lot of things well. His cornerstone is his work ethic, so that caught the attention of our staff. We’re excited to have him.”

Connor Michaud (2002, F)

  • Hometown: Moncton, N.B.
  • Previous team: Okanagan Hockey Academy Black Prep (CSSHL)

Another player who led his team in scoring last year, Michaud was tops on his squad with 33 points in 36 games in 2019-20 as an assistant captain with Okanagan Black.

Fragle’s scouting report:

“He fills a need because he can do anything. He plays a hard game. We like his pedigree from where he’s been at the last few years. He’s prepared to work for everything he’s going to get. He’s got a good mindset, so we’re looking forward to bringing him in.”

Dominik Wasik (2002, G)

  • Hometown: Superior, Colo.
  • Previous team: South Florida Hockey Academy U18 (18U AAA)

Wasik is a Colorado native, but spent the last two years at South Florida Hockey Academy where he played in 39 total games and posted a 2.42 goals-against average.

Fragle’s scouting report:

“He’s a guy that our staff has watched for a substantial amount of time. We’re really convinced that he’s going to come in and be able to push for playing time. He’s a guy that we can see developing into a starter down the road.”

Ethan Willoughby (2002, D)

  • Hometown: Chilliwack, B.C.
  • Previous team: Fraser Valley Thunderbirds (USPHL 18U)

The Chilliwack, B.C. native played last season with the Thunderbirds where he had 15 points in 40 games Prior to that, he suited up for the Abbotsford Pilots of the PJHL in 2018-19.

Fragle’s scouting report:

“He’s got some good size and good smarts. He’s got lots of potential. We see a lot of upside in his game.”

Acquired via trade:

Noah Wakeford (2000, F)

  • Hometown: Salmon Arm, B.C.
  • Previous team: Salmon Arm Silverbacks

Wakeford spent the past three seasons playing for his hometown Silverbacks and was the team’s second-leading scorer last season with 50 points in 58 regular-season games.

Fragle’s scouting report:

“He was a guy that caught our eye. Obviously, he had a great year last year. He’s got a good skill-set that we were excited to bring in. He’s a right-hand shot. Some of that will fit in with our team really well.”

Coalson Wolford (2001, F)

  • Hometown: San Jose, Calif.
  • Previous team: Salmon Arm Silverbacks

From San Jose, Calif., Wolford came in as a rookie last year and put up 11 goals and 10 assists for 21 points in 49 regular-season games. He also made an immediate impact off the ice in Salmon Arm and was rewarded as the Shaw BCHL Community Hero Award winner for the month of February.

Fragle’s scouting report:

“Our staff really liked him. We felt that he’s an extremely difficult guy to play against. He’s a big body to play down the middle of the ice at the centre position, so there are lots of things we like about Coaslon.”

Photo credits: Dan Hickling/Hickling Images (Sacco, Connors), Garrett James Photography (Wakeford, Wolford)