Although the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League’s regular season has almost a month remaining, the Summerland Steam have already clinched a spot in the playoffs.
The Steam are the second-place team in the Okanagan/Shuswap Conference: Okanagan Division in the Junior B league.
So far this season, the team has 26 wins, seven losses, one tie and three overtime losses, placing just behind the first-place Osoyoos Coyotes.
On the weekend, the Steam earned a 7-4 win against the Chase Heat on home ice and a 4-3 overtime win against the Kelowna Chiefs at the Rutland Arena.
Mike Rigby, general manager of the team, said the team’s success is in part the result of coach John DePourcq.
“He’s been an inspiration to a lot of the boys,” Rigby said.
He added that there is a lot of talent among the players on the team.
“There’s some very good hockey being played in Summerland,” he said.
Already the team is preparing for the next season.
Rigby said the Steam could lose eight to nine players next year.
Players on the team are between 16 and 20 years of age, so the five 20-year-old players will age out of the league at the end of this season.
In addition, some of the younger players may move on to Junior A hockey or may leave the team for other reasons.
The Steam will hold a prospects camp April 7 to 9. Players who would like to be on the team are encouraged to download an application from the Steam’s website at www.summerlandsteam.com. The prospects camp is open to anyone interested in playing Junior B hockey.