Head Coach and General Manager of the Fernie Ghostriders, Craig Mohr met up with The Free Press to speak about what the 2016/17 season will bring for the team. Topics at the top of Mohr’s list were the new players and a reduced game schedule.
Fernie local Evan Traverse is continuing his family legacy by joining the Ghostriders roster, making him the third to sport the Traverse name on a Ghostrider jersey, following family members Scotty, who was a captain, and Zack.
“He played in the playoffs last year. He is 18 years old, he has decided to stay in the area and play at least a year and that is good. For us that was a tough cut at the start of last year and it was really nice to see him stick with it and he played well in the playoffs and it was an easy decision to sign him after seeing that,” said Mohr. “It is good to get a Fernieite in the lineup especially because he has put so much work into it.”
Along with Traverse, Mohr also said Derek Greene will be a part of the roster. Greene was an affiliate player from Trail who played for the Ghostriders in the playoffs last season. Mohr expects Greene’s hard-hitting energy to make him a favourite among fans.
Following Traverse and Greene was Michael Dyck, an 18 year-old who was identified as the strongest playing forward by the coaching staff in the team’s spring camp.
“Michael Dyck ia an 18 year old player from Calgary. He is a big 6’3, 185 pound centre who was second in scoring in AA in Calgary last year so that is good,” said Mohr.
Another new prospect from Alberta is Matt Rogers, a big player to add some size to the forwards. Mohr spoke to his intention of adding size to the lineup for this season.
“Size has been one of our goals. If you look at who we are losing from our lineup it makes sense. The guys that are coming back are good players but I wouldn’t say most of them are big,” said Mohr.
While Mohr is unsure of who will be returning, each veteran must attend try-outs at the same level as prospect players.
“Returning players is always hard to say, potentially, if they all came back we could have a bunch of players,” he said. “They would have to try out again, they will all have to make the team. They know that from the first year I was here. We had a high turn over then. I always said we will sign you to the Hockey Canada Card, but it is your job to keep it – that’s kind of a motto we hold for our veteran players.”
While Mohr hasn’t yet assigned a captain for the upcoming season, he does have a few players in mind for the role. Tayler Sincennes, Zach Befus and Alex Cheveldave are on his radar, along with Mack Differenz. Mohr credited Differenz for his leadership skills in the playoffs, where he continued to play despite having his teeth knocked out and needing dental surgery.
The biggest change to the upcoming scheduled season so far is the reduction of games, a welcomed change to the schedule for Mohr. Last year the team played 52 games; this season will see 47.
“The league was looking to shorten the schedule up. It was just so hard to try and find prime dates for home games,” he said.
According to Mohr, this won’t stop cross-division games, something he looks forward to.
“We will be going over to the West Kootenays more this year.” he said. “ Most of the teams in our conference liked the crossover, and we think the fans liked it too. That is the way it is for this year.”