Jarret Stoll, former captain of the Kootenay ICE and two-time WHL and Stanley Cup Champion, is grateful and thankful for being the team’s first inductee to the newly formed Kootenay ICE Hall of Fame.
Following the recent announcement from the team back on February 6, 2019, Stoll will be the ICE’s first inductee which will be celebrated with a ceremony at Western Financial Place in Cranbrook on March 2, 2019, against the Calgary Hitmen.
Speaking with MyEastKootenayNow.com about the news of his induction, Stoll also took the time to reflect on his time in Cranbrook, where he played his entire WHL career before moving on to the NHL.
“It’s an honour for sure,” Stoll said of the ICE Hall of Fame. “The first thing I thought of is just all of the memories, all of the people that I’ve met those four years playing in Cranbrook and all the relationships and connections that I’ve made through hockey on and off the ice.”
“It was a great place to play, a great community, and just a lot of things came to mind for sure, just how proud I was of it and proud of the organization.”
Returning to Cranbrook for the ceremony, this will be Stoll’s second trip back to Western Financial Place since participating in a ceremonial puck drop at the team’s 2017 home-opener, to officially open the new era of ICE ownership. Since that time, Stoll said there were conversations about forming the Hall of Fame and that those conversations continued until the announcement was officially made this month.
Stoll was the first overall pick in the 1997 WHL Bantam Draft where he would play eight total games with the Edmonton ICE before Ed Chynoweth relocated the hockey club to Cranbrook in 1998 for Stoll’s rookie year.
“For all of us it was just a fresh start, everything was new, we’re all going to a new high school, we got new billet families,” Stoll said of the experience.
“Playing in the old Memorial Arena was something pretty unique and special and definitely visiting teams didn’t want to come in there and play. I loved playing in there, fans right on top of you and not an empty seat in the building so it was just a lot of good things, a lot of good memories those first couple years of just starting out in that town and getting the support that we did right away.”
A native of Yorkton, Saskatchewan, Stoll said his family would make the 11-hour drive to B.C. to see him play with the Kootenay ICE, a place that his family loved because of his supportive billets and the supportive fans. Stoll told MyEastKootenayNow.com that the fans were always open to chatting with the players, joking and encouraging them at the local “place to be” after every ICE home game back in the early 2000s.
“I remember after every single game we would go to Boston Pizza, win or lose and just talk about the game and have dinner,” Stoll laughed. “A lot of the fans would come in there and obviously they knew where we were going after the game, but it was good to hangout with everybody, and everybody was so supportive of us and we did have some good teams there, we played some good hockey.”
Since moving to Cranbrook in 1998, the Kootenay ICE made the WHL playoffs 17 straight seasons, a run that eventually ended back in 2015. During that span, the ICE were WHL Champions in 2002 and again in 2002, also winning the franchise’s only Memorial Cup in 2002 during Stoll’s final year of WHL eligibility. The Kootenay ICE would win another WHL Championship in 2011, competing in their third Memorial Cup.
“I’m just really proud to come back,” said Stoll. “Obviously the team is going away, it’s going to be one of the last couple games in that building so it’s going to be special to come back and see a game in there one last time.”
Prior to the formation of the Kootenay ICE Hall of Fame, the WHL and both ICE owners, Greg Fettes and Matt Cockell, announced that 2019 will be the ICE’s final season in Cranbrook after 21 years.
More: The Kootenay ICE Age Has Ended (January 29, 2019)
“Losing a franchise, you just got to think of the good times, the good memories, and the winning that went on in that building and both those buildings,” Stoll said of the relocation. “It was a proud city to support a team and it was a good team for a lot of years, and went to the Memorial Cup and won Championships and you never know in the future, what’s going to come in.”
Looking ahead to the Kootenay ICE Hall of Fame induction ceremony on March 2, 2019, at Western Financial Place, Stoll said he’ll keep those strong memories in his mind as he celebrates not only his WHL legacy but the legacy of the ICE in Cranbrook.
“In 2002 we won it at home there so that was pretty cool just lifting that trophy at centre ice, just up in the air, I remember that like it was yesterday so I’ll definitely be thinking about those times.”
Stoll still holds the ICE record for most assists (66) and points (106) in a season and is second all-time in total scoring behind Sam Reinhart (120G, 199A, 319P) with 286 total points (124G, 162A). Stoll is also the team’s all-time leader in playoff points (18G, 32A, 50P) and Memorial Cup points (7A, 7P). After his time with Kootenay, Stoll would go on to play 12 full seasons in the NHL, winning two Stanley Cups with the Los Angeles Kings in 2012 and 2014, hired by the Kings in 2017 as a Development Coach following his retirement.
The ICE will battle the Calgary Hitmen on Saturday, March 2nd for Stoll’s induction ceremony, but the team’s final game in Cranbrook will be their regular season finale on Sunday, March 17, 2019, against the Red Deer Rebels.