Daily News Sports Editor
The Kamloops Blazers, their roster full of youngsters who likely think a razor is an online skate, got a bit older on Thursday.
Kamloops acquired forward Tristan Sieben, 19, from the Vancouver Giants for a seventh-round selection in the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft. Sieben, from Edmonton, has 29 points, including 11 goals, in 97 regular-season WHL games. He
“I think he has a lot more skill than what people give him credit for,” Kamloops head coach Dave Hunchak said after Thursday’s practice at Interior Savings Centre. “He’s known for his work ethic and his compete level but I think he can offer more as far as skill is concerned.”
In 2010-11, Sieben had 39 points in 32 games with the midget AAA Maple Leaf Athletic Club team in Edmonton.
“I’m extremely excited about the new opportunity and looking forward to putting on the Blazers jersey,” the 5-foot-9, 187-pound Sieben told The Daily News. “I know the winning tradition that Kamloops has and hopefully we can bring the success back that they’ve had in the past.”
The Blazers, who are at home to the Kelowna Rockets tonight, are 1-1 in the preseason, but have been outshot 79-44 as their young players have struggled to adapt to speed at this level.
The Blazers are hoping that Sieben’s presence will help overcome some of those problems.
“We’re looking for a couple of things,” Hunchak explained. “We’re looking to get a little older up front and . . . another veteran to come in and push the compete level. That’s something with our young group that we’re going to have to continue to work at; we need to understand that the harder we practise, the easier the games are.”
The Blazers lost 4-3 to the host Rockets a week ago, then beat the visiting Giants 4-3 in overtime on Sunday. Because of what the coaching staff saw in those two games, Hunchak said, “We spent a lot of time this week working on defensive zone coveage. The amount of shots we’ve given up in the first two games isn’t acceptable.
“We’re looking for how we forecheck . . . we’ve worked on all of our structure all week.”
The big thing in this early going is to get the young players to understand what all goes into playing the game at this level.
“It’s just a matter of continuing to build on the base we have set,” Hunchak said, “and making sure the kids understand through practice and through video how we need to play the game.”
JUST NOTES: Game time tonight is 7 o’clock. . . . The Blazers will start G Taran Kozun. . . . Sieben is to join his new team today, at which time he expects to find out whether he will play tonight or Sunday when the Blazers meet the Giants in Burnaby. . . . Kamloops F Tim Bozon (Montreal Canadiens) and F Cole Ully (Dallas Stars) are in NHL camps so won’t play tonight. . . . Ully didn’t play last night as the Stars beat the St. Louis Blues 5-2 in the NHL Prospect Tournament in Traverse City, Mich. . . .
The Rockets are 1-1, having beaten the Blazers and then lost 4-2 to the host Giants. . . . This was the 10th trade made between the Blazers and Giants since 2008. Brothers Craig and Scott Bonner are the respective general managers. . . . Six Blazers — Mitch Friesen, Sam Grist, Joe Kornelsen, Aaron Macklin, Matt Needham, Chase Souto — spent time in Vancouver this week as part of EDGE program. They will have seen first-hand what life on the mean streets is like, and will bring their message to Kamloops school children as the season progresses.
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