Powell River Kings head coach Kent Lewis has been using the word “tenacious” a lot during the BC Hockey League (BCHL) offseason.
Lewis said he felt a lack of tenacious play was one of the reasons his team did not go deeper into the playoffs last year, losing the Island Division best-of-seven final series 4-3 to Victoria Grizzlies.
Lewis has been on the hunt for tenacity and one of the Kings’ latest signings, 18-year-old Kyle Kawamura, has it.
“Tenacious, fast, good shot and he already has a scholarship to Maine,” said Lewis.
At only 5’6” and 155 pounds, Kawamura does not have size, but he brings a good offensive upside, according to the coach.
Lewis said the 18-year-old Tennessee native is similar to Kurt Keats, who was a fan favourite for two seasons when he played here from 2013 to 2015.
The team is also announcing the addition of more size to the forward positon for the coming season in Kevin Obssuth, a 20-year-old, 6’2”, 181-pound forward.
Another recent signing is 16-year-old defender Nathan Kelly, 5’11” and 175 pounds.
“Nathan has good size, sees the ice well, skates well and he’ll have a very good career here,” said Lewis.
Kelly’s brother Noah attended Kings camp last year and will be vying for a spot in the lineup again this season.
Kelly, Kawamura and Obssuth have the tenaciousness and physical aggressiveness Lewis is looking for this year.
“In our division, especially with some teams undisciplined and dirty, you have to battle that,” said Lewis.
Training camp takes place from August 21 to 24 and Lewis said he still has lots of holes to fill on his forward lines.
“We’ve been pecking away at doing that and certainly we’ve added quite a few guys who can come in and fill good roles for us,” he said. “We’re going to have balanced scoring over the lines this year, more so than last, so it’s promising.”
With time to fine-tune, Lewis is anticipating a solid camp with young players and depth.
Meanwhile, BCHL recently announced its 2017/2018 regular season schedule of 58 home and away games for each team. Powell River’s season opens on September 8 against Victoria.