Smokies get lift with return of Castlegar's Jesse Knowler
The Jesse Knowler/Western Hockey League experiment appears to be over.
The Trail Smoke Eaters announced Thursday the addition of 18 year-old Castlegar native to the club’s active roster.
Knowler joins the Smokies after making 57 appearances during the 2011-12 season with the WHL’s Prince Albert Raiders. He was re-assigned to the BCHL by Raider management.
Knowler appeared on the WHL radar as a 16-year-old after a sparkling playoff performance with the Castlegar Rebels.
The Rebels ran the table before losing out to the Osoyoos Coyotes in the 2011 KIJHL final, scoring eight times and finishing the playoffs with 17 points after being called up from the Kootenay Ice of the B.C. Hockey Major Midget League.
In addition, Trail has acquired forward Luke Sandler (93) and future considerations from the Cowichan Valley Capitals in exchange for the rights to forward Travis Stephens.
Sandler, a 6’2”, 180 lb native of Chicago, Illinois, amassed 3 points in 4 games with the Capitals this season. He has 75 games of USHL experience to his credit with Des Moines, Tri-City and Fargo.
Both Knowler and Sandler are expected to report to practice Thursday and could make their Smoke Eaters debuts at the club’s home opener, Friday, September 21st against the West Kelowna Warriors.
Trail enters the contest going 1-3 on the road to start the season.
The lone victory came against the Prince George Spruce Kings, 4-3 in overtime on a goal by captain Garrett McMullen.