The KIJHL Notebook – Final Four


The Kootenay International Junior Hockey League Teck Cup playoffs are now down to its final four. 

The Beaver Valley Nitehawks and Fernie Ghostriders will battle for the Kootenay Conference championship, while the Princeton Posse and Revelstoke Grizzlies have a rematch of last year’s Okanagan-Shuswap Conference championship. Of those teams, the Posse have scored the most with 54 goals in 12 games – an average of 4.5 goals per game. Fernie is next with 35 in 11 games, while Revelstoke and Beaver Valley have each scored 33, in eight and 10 games, respectively.

The Grizzlies are the lone remaining team yet to lose in the playoffs, while the Nitehawks have won seven games when scoring first.


Kootenay Conference 

Nitehawks goalie Connor Stojan says he wants to see their special teams continue its strong play against the Ghostriders, adding “it was really good all series” against the Grand Forks Border Bruins. The power-play went 8-for-30 and 22-for-23 on the penalty-kill.

Their PP ranks No. 2 – 17-for-70- 24.3 per cent, while their PK went 49-for-55- 89.1 per cent and is third best.

Stojan says their group knows the Ghostriders are really good, but there is an area he feels gives them an edge.

“I think it’s going to be our depth and quickness that will prevail and it’s gonna come down to the wire,” he says. “There’s no way that this is gonna be a quick and easy series. I think we’re the deeper team and the faster team and that’s how we’re going to beat them.”

Stojan, a Grande Prairie, Alta. product  looks forward to battling with Ghostriders goalie Levi Hall, another Albertan, who he followed during minor hockey.

“I know he’s had a really good career in the KIJHL and as a 20-year-old, he’s gonna want to go out on top and I have a lot of respect for him,” says Stojan. “They have two good goaltenders over there and I’m always excited to stand across from a guy that you know is gonna battle and push me to be my best every night.”


“We had two good games with them in the regular season and it’s going to be a fun, fast, hard series,” says Ghostriders captain Taylor Haggerty of their matchup against the Nitehawks.

Haggerty likes how they have come together over the last month and that goes a long way, he says, adding he loves how their group has been “playing for each other.” Haggerty noted that Coden Fournier and goalies Hall and Nick Kunyk have stepped up during their Teck Cup playoff run. 

“They have been unreal for us and Coden has really stepped up,” says Haggerty, who has seven points in 11 games. “It’s good to see that all the guys are elevating their game. We haven’t gotten to this spot where we are now without everybody doing their part.” 

Haggerty emphasized the need to capitalize on their chances as a key to the series.

“Stojan is a very good goaltender. We need to bear down on our chances and make Stojan’s life as difficult as we can. He is playing well right now and we have to make it hard on him.”


Okanagan-Shuswap Conference

“We weren’t always playing our favourite hockey – we had some hiccups,” says Posse forward Jonathan Ward, of their play against North Okanagan. “What led to a lot of our success was keeping things simple, playing playoff hockey as opposed to regular season hockey, which is a pretty big difference and staying engaged and chippy.”

Against the Grizzlies, Ward says because they play a good, honest style with strong defence, it will be hard to create.

“We have to focus on the defensive zone, keeping them out is really important,” he says, adding that taking lots of shots will be key.

The Posse are 8-3 when they outshoot their opponent and have outscored them 19-6 in the second period and 18-7 in the third.

“We’re super excited for the challenge. We know it’s going to be a tough series,” said Ward.

Ward didn’t make his Teck Cup playoff debut until the final three games of the second round, missing time to injury. In Game 7 he felt he was rolling.

“My line definitely made it pretty easy for me,” says Ward, who played with Dayton Nelson and Kyle Schechtel the first two games, then with Bryton Morrow and Vinay Junek in Game 7.


It’s about one thing for the Revelstoke Grizzlies – hard work.

“We’re all working hard, getting together here to make a run,” said second-year forward Daniel Wittenberg. “Scoring goals has been pretty good. Everyone has found a way to finish and that is really helping us.”

Ethan Coventry leads the group with nine goals, then Jake Neufeld, Colton McLeod and Brady Schwab each have four. Wittenberg also noted their special teams have been strong. The penalty-kill is at 94 per cent – 32-for-34, while the power-play is at 16.1 per cent – 5-for-31.

They are 1-0 when trailing after two and 3-0 when tied after 2. They have outshot their opponents in all games. The Grizzlies have outscored opponents 25-10 combined in the second and third period (14-4).

Wittenberg produced at nearly a point-per-game clip during the season with 22 points in 24 games and has two goals, both winners, and nine points in eight playoff games.

“I’m playing a pretty good physical game,” he says. “I think my linemates Luke Aston and Ethan Coventry have really been helping me out, getting those chances.”