KIJHL: Creston Valley Thunder Cats add Creston defenceman Jake Livingstone to roster

Jake Livingstone, younger bro of former Thunder Cat Colby Livingstone, joining Creston team; Maverick Lynes advancing to Junior A...

The Creston Valley Thunder Cats are pleased to announce the addition of Creston defenceman Jake Livingstone for the 2015-16 Kootenay International Junior Hockey League (KIJHL) season.

Livingstone will join the Thunder Cats full-time after he affiliated with the team last season while playing for Creston’s midget rep program. As a 15-year-old, Livingstone practiced with the Thunder Cats on a daily basis while suiting up in three regular season games and picking up two assists.

“Jake is a smart, puck-moving defenceman who has all the tools to move up the ladder and play a high level of hockey,” said head coach Jeff Dubois. “He sees the ice really well and makes a great first pass, and he showed when he got into the lineup as an AP last season that he could make things happen with the puck on his stick.”

Jake will join second-year forward Logan Wullum as Creston’s locally developed representation on the Thunder Cats. With his commitment, Livingstone follows in the footsteps of older brother Colby, whose two seasons with the Thunder Cats led to a year of Junior A in Amherst, N.S., and a recent trade back to the BCHL’s Trail Smoke Eaters.

“I’m very excited to play for my hometown team,” said Livingstone, who describes himself as having a high hockey IQ and good offensive instincts. “I’ve grown up looking up to the players here and it’s been a longtime goal of mine to play for the Thunder Cats.

“I’m looking forward to improving as a hockey player and a person next season and I’d like to help the Thunder Cats win a KIJHL championship.”

Livingstone will join his new teammates — including newcomers Marc-Antoine Gagnon, James Severs and Zack Sanderson — for Thunder Cats main camp beginning Aug. 21 at the John Bucyk Arena.

The Thunder Cats are also losing a defenceman, with Maverick Lynes of Sherwood Park, Alta., committed to play Junior A hockey with the Selkirk Steelers of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League for the 2015-16 season.

Lynes spent the past two seasons with the Thunder Cats and emerged during the 2014-15 campaign as one of the top blueliners in the KIJHL. His 23 assists led all Creston defenceman while he finished one point behind Austin Steger for the lead at his position.

He also logged substantial icetime against the opposition’s top players and was a fixture on the team’s power play and penalty kill. Following this season, he was the recipient of the team’s top defenceman award.

“Maverick was a key player for us in all situations and a guy who is 100 per cent ready to move up and thrive at a higher level,” said Dubois. “His skating and mobility are exactly what coaches look for, and he’s developed the defensive side of his game to the point where he was a top shut-down guy in our league. We’re very excited for him to have the opportunity to play for a very good program in Selkirk.”

The Steelers, located 35 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg, are one of the MJHL’s premier teams. Over the past 12 seasons, the club has won two league championships, advanced to the league finals on two other occasions and captured three regular season titles.

“Creston was a great place to play,” says Lynes. “I was lucky to learn from great coaches both years and they helped me improve my skills and develop as a player. I’m also very grateful to my billets, the Woods family, who made the transition of moving away from home a lot easier. They made sure the only thing I needed to focus on was hockey.

“I’m excited to take the next step to Junior A hockey and I’m looking forward to the challenge and continuing to improve as a player. My ultimate goal is to play NCAA hockey and this is the next step to achieve that. I can’t wait to be a part of the Steelers organization and contribute in any way I can to the team’s success.”

—CRESTON VALLEY THUNDER CATS

Creston Valley Advance