BCHL Next Generation: West Kelowna Warriors

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.

First up is the West Kelowna Warriors.

After struggling out of the gate in the 2019-20 season, the West Kelowna Warriors made a change behind the bench in late December and hired Simon Ferguson as an interim head coach for the remainder of the year. After he was brought in, the Warriors improved significantly from their early-season form and went 9-10-2 after the coaching change to lock up the final spot in the BCHL playoffs.

Ferguson, who previously enjoyed a successful playing career, including a Memorial Cup title with the Kelowna Rockets as well as a Calder Cup AHL championship with the Portland Pirates, now has the interim tag removed from his job title and is set to enter his first training camp as the team’s head coach.

The Warriors were a young team last year and subsequently have several returning players that will be relied upon to play key roles in 2020-21.

“John Evans was a 17-year-old last year and he put up a lot of numbers,” said Ferguson. “We expect him to kind of drive the offence on the younger end. We also have Carter Wilkie coming back, a veteran 20-year-old. We expect him to play a lot of minutes and put up a lot of offence as well.”

On top of the returning players, the Warriors have been busy recruiting new talent as well. Of the six players they’ve announced committed to play next season, five of them already have an NCAA scholarship in hand.

“We’ve had people in the buildings watching them,” said Ferguson. “We’ve taken a lot of time watching video and watching them play in actual games live on the east coast – even watching them practice. We’ve invested a lot of time and money into selecting these players.”

New recruits:

Marcus Joughin (2001, F)

  • Hometown: Tecumseh, Ont.
  • Previous team: New Hampton School (USHS-Prep)
  • College commitment: Sacred Heart University (2021-22)

The 19-year-old led New Hampton in scoring last year with a whopping 79 points in 35 games, with 63 of those points being assists. In his two years of prep, he ended up with 118 points in 70 games.

Ferguson’s scouting report:

“He’s an elite passer who plays as a centreman. He’s got good speed and we expect him to help drive the offence this year.”

Jack Cronin (2001, F)

  • Hometown: Hamilton, Mass.
  • Previous team: Noble & Greenough School (USHS-Prep)
  • College commitment: Princeton University (2021-22)

Cronin wrapped up his final season of prep school at Noble & Grenough in Dedham, Mass. last year where he finished third in team scoring with 36 points and second in goals with 22. Over his four seasons there, he averaged exactly a point per game with 108 in 108 contests.

Ferguson’s scouting report:

“He’s a good skater and a good passer. Overall, he’s a solid hockey player with a good IQ.”

Connor Joyce (2001, F)

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

Joyce played the last three seasons at St. Sebastian’s in Needham, Mass. Last year was his most productive season where he notched 33 points in 28 games to finish third in team scoring.

Ferguson’s scouting report:

“He’s just kind of a natural goal scorer. He’s committed to Boston College. He plays with good speed and has a good IQ.”

Philip Tresca (2002, F)

  • Hometown: Boston, Mass.
  • Previous team: The Rivers School (USHS-Prep)
  • College commitment: Yale University (2021-22)

Tresca played at the Rivers School where he was the team’s second-leading scorer in 2019-20 with 28 points in 28 games.

Ferguson’s scouting report:

“Philip was listed on NHL Central Scouting’s Midterm Rankings in the fall. He’s a gifted offensive player with great hands and is a good passer.”

Pat Lawn (2001, D)

  • Hometown: Waltham, Mass.
  • Previous team: The Rivers School (USHS-Prep)
  • College commitment: Bentley University (2021-22)

The fourth and final player on our list with Massachusetts roots, Lawn just wrapped up a long prep school career at The Rivers School where he played alongside Tresca. Lawn was the top-scoring defenceman on the team in 2019-20 with 16 points in 29 games.

Ferguson’s scouting report:

“Pat is a really solid defenceman. He’s an excellent puck mover who has really good feet.”

Tyson Jugnauth (2004, D)

  • Hometown: Kelowna, B.C.
  • Previous team: Okanagan Rockets (BCMML)

At 16-years-old, Jugnauth will be one of the youngest players in the BCHL next year. He’s coming off a season with the Rockets where he put up five goals and 23 assists for 28 points in 34 games. He was also recently invited to camp for Team Canada’s Under-17 team.

Ferguson’s scouting report:

“He’s a guy with elite-level potential. He’s a player who has big offensive upside.”

Acquired via trade:

Zach Bennett (2000, G)

  • Hometown: Winnipeg, Man.
  • Previous team: Nanaimo Clippers

Bennett is coming off an outstanding season last year with the Nanaimo Clippers where he split duties with Jordan Naylor. The 19-year-old finished the season with the fourth-best save percentage in the BCHL with a mark of .927, a top-10 goals-against average at 2.49 and tied for the fifth-most shutouts with three.

Adam Trotman (2000, F)

  • Hometown: Maple, Ont.
  • Previous team: Coquitlam Express

Trotman ended his first BCHL season with 44 points in 58 games after joining the Express last offseason. Before heading west, the 20-year-old played two seasons with the Newmarket Hurricanes of the OJHL.

Jarrett Penner (2000, F)

  • Hometown: Saskatoon, Sask.
  • Previous team: Notre Dame Hounds (SJHL)

Penner spent the past two seasons with Notre Dame in the SJHL where he had seasons of 39 and 37 points. His best year came in 2018-19  when he potted 22 goals for the Hounds.

Zach Brooks (2001, F)

  • Hometown: Bromont, Que.
  • Previous team: Cowichan Valley Capitals

After coming over from Quebec, Brooks notched 12 goals and 15 assists for 27 points with the Capitals in 2019-20.

Photo credits: Dan Hickling/Hickling Images (Joughin, Cronin, Tresca), Tami Quan Photography (Jugnauth)