Skip to content

Minten off to confident start in sophomore season with Kamloops Blazers

Yaletown features hip restaurants and cocktail lounges, many with buzzing outdoor terraces, as well as indie fashion and decor boutiques, according to Wikipedia.
Fraser Minten
Fraser Minten (left) was among standouts last weekend at Kamloops Blazers' training camp.

Yaletown features hip restaurants and cocktail lounges, many with buzzing outdoor terraces, as well as indie fashion and decor boutiques, according to Wikipedia.

The online encyclopedia fails to mention the chic Vancouver neighbourhood is also home to an in-vogue hockey player — 17-year-old Fraser Minten of the Kamloops Blazers.

“I feel like last year was a great year to get my feet wet,” said Minten, the left-shot forward who sprouted to 6-foot-1 during the off-season and weighs about 180 pounds.

“I feel like I even could have done more last year. I had a really good off-season, as well, so I feel really confident coming into camp and super excited to, hopefully, have a big year as an individual and as a team.”

Minten pounced on opportunities offered during the shortened 2021 WHL pandemic season, two in particular that gave him the platform to cement his status as one to watch in 2021-2022, his NHL Draft season.

Blazers’ star forward Logan Stankoven left the team after six games to play for Canada at the Under-18 World Hockey Championship in Texas.

Kamloops bench boss Shaun Clouston bumped Minten to third-line centre from fourth-line centre.

“He handled that really well,” said Clouston, who was promoted to head coach and GM in the off-season.

Minten’s next promotion, to second-line centre, came when Calgary Flames’ draft pick Connor Zary was injured.

“We never changed after that,” Clouston said.

Minten finished the campaign with four goals and 18 points in 20 games to lead the B.C. Division in scoring among 16-year-old players.

“I ended up getting more ice time,” said Minten, who is expected to feature on the power play this season. “With that came more confidence and I felt like my game just kept growing. I was able to make the plays I know I can make.”

Minten, who worked with a nutritionist in the off-season and did his best to avoid cheat meals, showed up hungry to training camp last week.

He peacocked during a three-on-three tournament on Saturday, tallying 10 points on his team’s 13 goals and registering five points in a 6-5 victory in the final.

“Probably the thing that stands out the most is he appears just that much more confident,” Clouston said. “He’s got a year under his belt and he looks like he wants to be the guy this year. Extremely smart, great vision, very committed, really wants to be a player, puts a lot of work into his game and keeps finding ways to get better. He’s had a terrific camp so far.”

Minten will be given the chance to play a prominent role during exhibition action, with four of Kamloops’ forwards — Stankoven (Dallas), Daylan Kuefler (Arizona), Caedan Bankier (Minnesota) and Josh Pillar (Minnesota) — participating this month in NHL camps.

Fans will be able to get a look at the Yaletown product on Friday, when Kamloops plays host to Prince George in exhibition action at Sandman Centre, a 7 p.m. start.

Interior Health restrictions were eased on Monday to allow for 50 per cent capacity inside the arena. 

All spectators will be required to wear masks and provide proof of full COVID-19 vaccination prior to entry for WHL games in Kamloops, Kelowna, Prince George, Vancouver and Victoria.

Regular season action is slated to begin on Oct. 2, when the Blazers square off against the Cougars in Prince George.

“We obviously lost a couple key pieces with a captain, a 20-year-old forward and a couple great D-men, but I think we’ve got a lot of great returning guys, a super good young corps, lots of skill and everybody is super happy to be here,” Minten said.

“I think we’ve got a really good shot at going pretty far this season.”