Kootenay ICE legend Jarret Stoll had his number raised to the rafters Saturday as the former captain was named the team’s first inductee into the newly formed ICE Hall of Fame.
Speaking to MyEastKootenayNow.com prior to the ceremony and the ICE’s game against the Calgary Hitmen, Stoll said it’s an honour and a privilege to be back in Cranbrook to receive the honour of being the team’s first Hall of Fame inductee.
“It’s something that I’m very very proud of and a lot of good times and good memories that I’ll always remember here and all those teams we had, it was a good four years, it was a heck of a run.”
“It brings a lot of memories stepping back into this building and actually going over to the old building this afternoon and walking in there and checking that out,” added Stoll.
Hopping in the vehicle with his former billets that took him and his wife around Cranbrook before the game, Stoll said it was great to reminisce in the memories of his time as a young player that in the WHL, living in the Kootenays.
“It was good to see the high school again, you drive by there and the old Boston Pizza, which is now East Side Mario’s,” remembered Stoll. “It was funny, we were driving around and there’s just a couple of streets that I know, I knew Trevor Johnson lived in that house, Colin Sinclair lived in that house and, yeah, it brought back a lot of memories.”
Thinking about the night to be, Stoll said he wanted to just take in as much of the experience as possible, not sure exactly when he’d be able to make it back to Cranbrook in the future, being with the LA Kings as a Player Development Coach and with his wife Erin Andrews, being a prominent sports broadcaster and TV host.
“It’s not somewhere that I can come to that often,” said Stoll. “It was two years I was here last and before that, I can’t even remember, but my parents haven’t been here since 2002 and yeah, I’m not sure when I’ll be here in the future so I want to soak this in and enjoy the time.”
When asked what exactly he’d be thinking when the time came to give his speech to the Kootenay ICE fans in attendance and seeing his name and number up in the Western Financial Place rafters, Stoll said he’d think about the Championships.
“The last game in this building that I played in was when we hoisted the WHL Championship at centre ice so I’ll probably be thinking about that for sure.”
More: Kootenay ICE Legend Jarret Stoll Reflects on WHL Legacy (February 20, 2019)
Stoll led the ICE to a WHL Championship in 2000 and 2002, captaining the team to its only Memorial Cup Championship in 2002 against the Victoriaville Tigers. By fellow alumni, former coaches and others Stoll is considered to be the ICE’s greatest player, still holding franchise records for most assists (66) and points (106) in a single season and is second all-time in total scoring behind Sam Reinhart with 286 total points (124G, 162A)
2,738 fans were in attendance Saturday for the Hall of Fame induction ceremony as they watched the team unveil Stoll’s number in the rafters, a banner that will remain with all the others in Western Financial Place even after the team relocates at the end of the season to Winnipeg.
After Stoll’s Hall of Fame ceremony, there was still a Kootenay ICE game to play.
Battling the Calgary Hitmen for the start of a home-and-home series with their Central Divison rivals, the Kootenay ICE fell 5-2 to the Hitmen just one night after earning a 5-3 win over the Swift Current Broncos for their “WHL Suits Up with Don Cherry” Game.
Trading goals in the first period, Marco Creta and Brad Ginnell would both score for the ICE but James Malm would single-handedly give the Hitmen the lead at every turn of the game, scoring a hat trick by the 3:14 of the second period.
Giving Calgary a 3-2 lead with his hat trick, Malm and Hitmen wouldn’t look back. Two more insurance goals in the third period sealed a 5-2 win for Calgary with Malm being named the game’s first star.
“It was a 2-2 game, it was a tight game, I thought we did a lot of good things, I liked our compete,” said James Patrick, Head Coach of the ICE. “Gave up the shorthanded goal late on the kill after I thought we did a good job killing and I liked a lot of the game, I just thought as the third period went on we started losing a lot more battles and that was the difference to me.”
“It comes back to playing a good 60 minutes,” added Peyton Krebs, Captain of the Kootenay ICE. “I thought we had a good 45, 50 and when it came down to the wire we needed to step up and we didn’t do that.”
Looking ahead to the end of their three-game weekend on Sunday and the conclusion of their home-and-home series with the Hitmen, Patrick believes they’re going to need to have better defensive matchups against Calgary’s offensive attack.
“They got some talent, we have to find a way to matchup against them, to battle, to neutralize them,” Patrick told MyEastKootenayNow.com. “We’re going to rely on obviously Marty (Bodak) and Chase (Hartje) as our older D to see if they can win some battles against some good players.”
Kootenay and Calgary take to the ice at the Scotiabank Saddledome at 4:00 pm on Sunday.
Reflecting on the pre-game ceremony with Jarret Stoll, Patrick felt the organization appropriately recognized the two-time Stanley Cup and WHL Champion.
“They did a great job honouring a great player. You could feel a bigger crowd in the building which was fun to be in the that and I know it’s fun for the players to be playing for a more vocal audience, a bigger crowd,” said Patrick. “I thought the atmosphere was great.”
“He’s a special player for Cranbrook and the Kootenay ICE,” added Krebs. “Anytime you can have something like that, that person, a high-calibre of player and person come and talk it’s pretty special.”
Stoll spoke to the ICE players before the game, encouraging and providing motivation inside the dressing room, something that Krebs took to heart, knowing of Stoll’s NHL success, also being a former first overall draft pick into the WHL.
“Hopefully, one day, you can play in the NHL like he did,” said Krebs.