Last week, Ghostriders head coach and general manager, Craig Mohr, confirmed that Alex Cheveldave is the new captain of the team. Cheveldave started playing with the Ghostriders last October, coming from a Junior A team in Saskatchewan.
“Our leadership group is going to be very good this year. With Chevy, I think having that bit of Junior A experience, he’s very mature,” said Mohr, “We put an A on him last year, he’s respected in the room. Our leadership group is going to be fabulous. The last two years have been great and this year is going to be great too – I have no worries that way.”
Cheveldave said he is honoured Mohr asked him to step into the position and it is one he had no hesitation to accept.
“I’m definitely a guy that likes to show his leadership and his leadership qualities as being hard work and respect. I would like the team to embody those characteristics as well,” he said to The Free Press.
Cheveldave wasn’t committed to returning to the Ghostriders, as he was pondering playing in the Junior A league, but once he made the decision, becoming captain was an easy next step.
“This season was kind of up in the air for me, I was not too sure about what I was doing,” he said. “I called Mohr about a week prior and I called him again this week regarding billets and he kind of popped the question, ‘hey how would you feel if you were the man?’ Of course I’m not going to turn it down.”
While Cheveldave never intended to play for the Ghostriders full time, only coming after he was suspended from Junior A for a month, he is happy to return to the organization and to Fernie.
“It turned out to be a good thing. I love the guys, the guys are great, Coach is great, the town is great. The whole association I can’t say enough about.”
Cheveldave is known for having more of an aggressive style on the ice, but according to Mohr, that’s a good thing.
“He’s mean. That’s alright. I’d like to say he’s intense. It’s not a bad thing in hockey terms,” he said. “He’s intense – I think more than anything he will lead by example. He works hard in practice, he works hard off the ice. He works hard when he is playing.”
As for the rest of the Ghostrider roster, Mohr says it is shaping up nicely. He has committed to a handful of players, including veterans Justin Peers, Elkford’s Kyle Haugo, and goaltender Brandon Butler, who was the backup goalie behind Jeff Orser last season. He has also committed to Fernie local Evan Traverse, who stepped into help the Ghostriders in last season’s playoffs.
Mohr spent much of the off-season recruiting players from across B.C. and Alberta and says he had certain things he wanted to find in players to beef up the line up.
“One of my big recruiting things was that we needed to get a little bit bigger on our wings. A lot of our returning forwards are under six feet. We needed to address that and get a little more size on our wings,” he said.
There has also been a change-up behind the bench, as assistant coach Pascal Morency took a job coaching in Quebec. In his place, Jeff Ouimet is returning to the coaching roster, after taking the 2015/16 season off. He will be joined by Jeff Zmyrchuk and Gerry Pang, who works as the goaltender’s coach.
The Ghostriders will be hitting the ice for training camp and tryouts in late August and play their first exhibition game on Aug. 29 in Columbia Valley.