Blazers ink netminder Cole Cheveldave
The Kamloops Blazers signed a netminder who has a legitimate shot at claiming the starting job at camp in August.
Cole Cheveldave, who will turn 18 on June 8, signed with the Blazers on Thursday, April 14.
His decision to go the Western Hockey League (WHL) route was not an easy one.
“I was talking to several NCAA Division 1 schools and then I could have gone back and played for another year of junior A in Alberta,” said Cheveldave, who plans on spending the summer working out at Crash Conditioning, an elite hockey player conditioning centre in Calgary.
“I’d be getting more opportunity with Kamloops than through school, I thought.”
Blazer GM Craig Bonner brought Cheveldave to Kamloops for three days during the last week of the Blazers’ regular season in March.
Cheveldave got a chance to meet some of the players on the squad and Bonner took the opportunity to see what the 17-year-old had to offer between the pipes.
“The biggest thing for me is his competitiveness,” Bonner said of Cheveldave.
“He competes for everything. He’s technically good, but he’s a real competitive, athletic goalie, which we really like.”
Matt Recchi, Kamloops’ director of player personnel, identified Cheveldave, a Calgary product, at the Alberta Junior Hockey League’s (AJHL) showcase game last fall.
Cheveldave played with the AJHL’s Drumheller Dragons last season, posting a 16-20-6 record with a 2.90 GAA and a .917 save percentage.
The 5-foot-11 goaltender made the league’s south division all-star team and was named the Dragons’ player of the game 14 times.
He was named the AJHL’s rookie of the year and was a finalist for the league’s most valuable player and top goaltender awards.
Cheveldave will compete for the starter's job in Kamloops with Cam Lanigan, who backed up Jeff Bosch in the Blazers’ goal last season, Taran Kozun, who played midget AAA in Prince Albert, and Troy Trombley, who played midget AAA in Fort Saskatchewan, Alta.
Lanigan will be 19 next season, while Kozun and Trombley will be 17.
Bosch completed his WHL eligibility last season.
Cheveldave knows exactly where he wants to be when the puck drops on a new season in September.
“That starting position, that’s what my goal is,” he told KTW.
“I just have to battle hard and try and fight for the spot.”