Skip to content

Powell River Minor Hockey players among BC's top prospects

Two teammates selected for BC Hockey’s program of excellence
Powell River Minor Hockey players Kesler Brown [left] and Kooper Kozmeniuk played on Team Burgundy at BC Hockey’s program of excellence tournament, where 160 of the top players from across the province came together to compete in Penticton.

Two Powell River Minor Hockey players were selected to BC Hockey’s program of excellence and participated in a provincial tournament for top youth hockey prospects earlier this month.

Both players were on the under-15 rep hockey team from this community that won bronze at the provincial championship this year in Quesnel.

Kooper Kozmeniuk and Kesler Brown tried out for the provincial tournament at regional camps and were selected to participate in the event, which featured the top 160 players, who were formed into eight teams for the tournament. As luck would have it, Kozmeniuk and Brown were both selected to play on the same team, Team Burgundy, which featured 20 players from around the province, with 18 players and two goalies. Kozmeniuk and Brown both play left wing, so they were not on a line together.

Brown attended his regional camp in Kelowna, and Kozmeniuk attended his in Nanaimo. Both players signed up for the camps in hopes of making the provincial tournament, playing a four-game mini tournament at the regional camps, during a weekend, and being assessed for their hockey abilities. Both made the grade.

When it came to the provincial tournament, both local players were pleased that they were on the same team.

Kozmeniuk said at the provincial tournament, four games were spread over three days, from May 9 to 12 in Penticton. Team Burgundy came fifth out of the eight teams participating.

As for the action, Brown said it was fast paced. Kozmeniuk scored two goals in the tournament and Brown had two assists on what he characterized as a “grinder line.”

Both players said the coaches who were recruited for the tournament were really high level and able to offer great instruction to the players. The coaches also helped assess the players, who were offered feedback after the tournament.

“My high points were shooting and skating,” said Brown. “My average one was stick handling, so that’s an area I can improve on.”

Kozmeniuk said everything for him was above average.

“I was over the average player at all the skills,” said Kozmeniuk.

Both players will be active playing hockey over the summer. Brown said he is playing on a team from Sechelt called Coastal Tsunami. Kozmeniuk is playing on a team based in Comox and Campbell River called Elevate Hockey. Both players’ teams were in a tournament in Vancouver recently and they actually played each other. Brown said they played twice, and Elevate Hockey defeated Coastal Tsunami both times.

Both players have more tournament action into June. Each also has hockey camps to attend during the summer. Kozmeniuk will even be playing in a tournament in Las Vegas during the hot months, after being invited to participate with some of his Elevate teammates.

Brown and Kozmeniuk both said they are passionate about hockey and as 13-year-olds, will be continuing with the under-15 reps in Powell River in the fall.

“We have a really strong age group,” said Brown. “Since first year Atom, Kooper’s and my age group have been dominating. Hopefully, we can get gold this year. Two years in a row, we’ve got bronze.”

As for their futures in hockey, Kozmeniuk said he is more concerned about his hockey right now than what comes later.

“I’m thinking about what teams I want to play on,” said Kozmeniuk. “I’m looking at what are the best teams I can go to, and what are the best camps that I can go to, instead of looking at my future.”

Brown said it would be cool to be able to go to college later on, getting an education as well as a great hockey experience.

“I would want to go to a college,” added Brown, “where I can learn and study if hockey doesn’t work out to be my first thing.”

Join the Peak's email list for the top headlines right in your inbox Monday to Friday.