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Four questions for Coach and GM Will Verner September 27, 2010

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Q. Mike Wiest proved last year in the Nelson playoff series that he was a number one defenseman who can play with the best players in this league. In the home opener he was wearing the Captain’s “C” is he going to Captain the team for the foreseeable future.

Verner . ” Mike Wiest is one of the players we are looking at to be the leader of our group. This year we are being very patient in all of our decision making and we will look to make a final decision in October. We feel that Mike has he ability to get the group to follow him. We are looking to see how he reacts with what we want and the direction we want to take the team both on and off the ice. I would like to get input from all of our staff. So far so good with Mike Wiest and time will tell how he is able to handle the added responsibilities. We have several other players that have solid leadership qualities. Zach Baba, Cale Wright, Mark Strachan, Scott Morisseau, Thomas Abenante, Brendan Hawryluk, Mike Anderson, Bond Hawyluk, and Jordie Cool. We really like the core of our club and we hope to continue to push ourselves to be better”.

Q.  Cale Wright played both Forward and “D” in the home opener and he scores regularly. How did you get him and where do you see him ending up?

Verner “ Cale played the last 2 years with the Olds Grizzlies in the AJHL. This past off-season, there was a coaching change and the new coach wanted to take the team in a different direction. Cale, being a 20 year old, was not in OLDS plans and he felt that he needed to end his Junior Career on an up swing. Mike Wiest has known Cale from their minor hockey days and informed us that Cale might be looking for a change. Cale then contacted us and he came up and started to practice and as time went on he has become comfortable and is slowly emerging into one of the leaders of our club. Cale will most likely end up playing forward for most of the year as this is where we see him helping our team succeed and him enjoying his play. He mentioned to me on a bus ride that he had played 10 games of D in Olds so I thought we owuld give it a try when we felt we needed a change on the D. After the Golden game we had to make a move on the back so Cale practiced as a D and looked good. This past weekend he did an excellent job playing in our top 2 on the back. It is great to have flexibility having a top line forward and a top line D. Mark Strachan brings this flexibility as well.

Q Your team is 6-0 and has been feasting on the power play. Which players are making the PP so effective and will you tweak it to try and get even more out of it.

Verner “We would like to start practicing it in the near future. We walked through it once prior to the start of the season. We do talk about it quite often before and during games. We do like the guys to set up a certain way and it will take time to get comfortable in what we want to accomplish. The success is all on the players and their skill level. Thomas, (Abenante) Scott, (Morisseau) Mike, (Wiest) Cale, (Wright) Jordie, (Cool) Brendan, Bond, (Hawryluk) Ross, (Fox) Dean, (Wilson) Mark (Strachan) and Jamie (Vlanich) all have the ability to make a difference on special teams.

Q Your Riders will play two important home and home series’ in October. Beaver Valley is here in Fernie on the 15th and you’re in BV on the 16th. On the 23rd you go to Castlegar and on the 29th they return the favor here in Fernie. Will this be a good benchmark as to how strong the Ghostriders are.

Verner “We do think those are going to be great series and having the home and home makes the 2 games very interesting. The season runs until February so it is very early to call it a bench mark. It will definitely help with some of our decisions and thought processes as we near the first major deadline of December 1. Junior hockey rosters are no set until January 10 and the bulk of teams will change drastically from now until December 1. I think a good bench mark will be how we do during the first week of December with Creston and Revelstoke visiting Fernie on December 3 and 4th. We have a lot of work to do if we want to accomplish our goals and we need to continue to focus on getting better and better each week. Photo -Brendan Hawryluk

Riders 5- Kamloops 1 September 11, 2010

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The Ghostriders opened up the season with a convincing 5-1 win on the road in Kamloops. The radio announcer Kyle Christensen pickedMark Strachan as the third star RJ Preisser 2nd and Bond Hawryluk as the first star of the game

The Kamloops score keepers picked Jordie Cool with 2 goals and an assist as third star Mason Spear as second star and Bond Hawryluk as the first star. Two of my favorite hockey names and one I still can’t spell even after a year. Cool always fools me… Anyway Scott Morisseau scored his first of what we hope is many as a Rider in this one while RJ Preisser and Michael Anderson rounded out the scoring for the Riders. Stephen Wolff got the win in net for the Ghost.

Lots of penalties called and even a couple of misconducts late in the game as Rider Evan Burgess and Mike McCance slashed each other hard enough for 5 and a game penalties. Probably did that because they thought they would only get minors vs misconducts and suspensions if they fought. The ref fooled them though and now the new rules kick in and both players miss a game. The score sheet this am also said there were 2 instigator s called. Zach Baba got one of them. Interesting to see if they get a game too, sometimes these game summaries change later in the day, I have seen that happen several time last season so maybe all these guys will play tonight.

Some other interesting games last night were Kimberley beating Creston 5-1 –could Kimberley be the Riders biggest rival in the standings this season??? Fernie won all eighty  (well it seemed like 80) games they played vs the Nitros last year… Revelstoke won the Keystone and started off with a 6-1 win in Pentiction, Castlegar beats Nelson 3-0 and how about Osoyoos knockin off Kelowna 3-2.- they even outshot em.


Off The Glass September 2, 2010

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By the time you read this the Ghostriders will have already held their main training camp and will be well into their four game exhibition schedule. The last home game before the regular season starts is on Saturday September 4th, vs. Kimberley. After that the boys will be out of town for a couple of weekends playing games in Kamloops and Armstrong on the first weekend then on to Creston and finally in Golden before coming home on the 24th to face the rival Creston Thundercats.

The Ghostriders seem to be stockpiling an excess of players in the offseason but that’s because some of the players Fernie Coach Will Verner has picked up are pretty good and have a shot at playing Jr. “A”. Most of them will try out at that level first and some of them may never play a game with the Riders. So with that in mind Verner keeps on acquiring the CHA rights to as many veteran players as he can and last week he completed one trade and started another with the KIJHL’s newest franchise, the Kelowna Chiefs. Well they’re not actually new, Kelowna, in a very controversial (we like that) move relocated from Chase, BC last spring. Below is the press release from the Ghostrider office.

The Fernie Ghostriders are excited to add Jordan Cool and Kevin Monfette from the Kelowna Chiefs (formerly the Chase Chiefs.) Monfette completed the Tyson Bentley trade from 2009 and we acquired Cool for future considerations. Jordan Cool played 2 games for the Riders last season before we moved him to Chase due to numbers and opportunity. In 39 games last year Jordan had 16 goals and 16 assists for 32 points. Jordan will attend camp in Prince George before coming to Fernie.

0Kevin Monfette will be a strong member of our blue-line. Kevin skates well, moves the puck well and in 50 games last season he registered 5 goals and 15 assists. Kevin will attend Junior ‘A’ camp before heading to Fernie.

And finally, Sparwood’s Michael Anderson is a player everyone is hoping can take another step in what has been his continual development. Here’s Coach Verner on his 19 year old forward. “Michael Anderson is coming into his 3rd year and we expect him to be a big part of our leadership group and we expect him to break out offensively. Last season Michael became a very reliable player that learned to be one of our top penalty killers. He was also able to chip in with 8 goals, 12 assists in the 44 games he played.”

By George Hurlbut