Sports

Chilliwack flavour to the developing Chiefs roster for next season

Chiefs coach Jason Tatarnic and local boy Dennis Cholowski. - Submitted
Chiefs coach Jason Tatarnic and local boy Dennis Cholowski.
— image credit: Submitted

After a disastrous 2013-2014 season, new blood is pumping in to the Chilliwack Chiefs for next year.

Newly hired head coach and general manager Jason Tatarnic has so far announced the commitment of seven players, including two 19-year-olds from the Massachusetts, an 18-year-old from Quebec, two local 16-year-olds, the brother of a former Chief and his teammate from last year.

Nineteen-year-olds Craig Puffer and Tipper Higgins both hail from Berkshire School in Sheffield, Mass.

The five-foot-10-inch, 170-pound Puffer scored 16 goals and got 31 assists in 29 games last season. His linemate, the six-foot-one-inch, 190-pound Higgins, tallied 20 goals and 12 assists in 29 games.

Chiefs fans will remember the name of the third recruit: 18-year-old Mark Esposito is the younger brother of former Chief Luke Esposito. Esposito joins the Chiefs after two seasons with the Brunswick School in his hometown of Greenwich, Connecticut.

“Ever since my brother tried out for the Chiefs two years ago, I’ve wanted nothing more than to be a Chilliwack Chief,” Esposito said.

The two local commitments include 16-year-old defenceman Dennis Cholowski who had a memorable year at Yale Academy in Abbotsford last year, and 16-year-old forward Ryan Bowen of Chilliwack who spent last season with the Okanagan Hockey Academy U18 Midget Prep team.

“He is a talented player and we look forward to being part of his development,” Tatarnic said. “He may have a bright future ahead of him. I think he’s very excited to play in his hometown.”

On Tuesday, the team announced new Chief 18-year-old defenceman Vincent Desharnais from Laval, Quebec, who spent last year at Northwood School in Lake Placid, New York, where he finished plus-15 in 37 games. At six-foot-six-inches and 200 pounds, Desharnais brings size to the back end.

The latest announcement on Wednesday was 19-year-old Liam Ferguson who played with Esposito at the Brunswick School last year.

“Our goal as a team next season is to play a high tempo game," Tatarnic said in a press release. "By adding Liam Ferguson we have added speed to our lineup. A player that brings speed can be used in many situations. He brings a good skill set to our team and we know his goal is to play college hockey one day and were extremely happy he decided to play in Chilliwack to try and achieve that goal.”

• Season tickets for the 2014-15 season are now available. Visit the Chiefs website at www.chilliwackchiefs.net.

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