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North Okanagan players advance junior hockey careers

Devin Jameson of Armstrong, Riley Cormier of Vernon leaving KIJHL for Junior A ranks on Prairies

Two North Okanagan hockey players will make the move from the Kootenay International Junior B League to the Junior A ranks in the Prairies.

North Okanagan Knights forward Devin Jameson of Armstrong has signed with the Portage Terriers in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League for next season, and Vernon defenceman Riley Cormier leaves the Columbia Valley Rockies for the Melfort Mustangs of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League.

Jameson, 19, completed his third full season with the Knights in which he had 45 points in 40 games. He first debuted with the Knights in the 2019-20 season, playing one game. In 84 career KIJHL regular season games Jameson had 22 goals and 58 assists for 80 points to go along with 136 penalty minutes.

Jameson is excited to make the jump to Junior A with an organization such as the Terriers.

“The Knights and the KIJHL have helped prepare me to make the next step in my career,” said Jameson. “Playing for my hometown since I was 16 has helped me mature on- and off-the-ice and I have really enjoyed representing Armstrong and the Knights. Thank you to Knights coaches Liam McOnie and Josh Evans for pushing me to be my best since day one.

McOnie feels that Jameson has matured significantly as a player and person.

“He has grown into an excellent representative of our organization,” he said. “We couldn’t be happier for Devin as he achieved his goal of signing with a Junior A team and we would like to wish him the best of luck in Portage.”

In his first season in the KIJHL, the 17-year-old Cormier had 17 points in 39 games. In six KIJHL playoff games, he earned one assist. The 6-1, 180-pound Cormier joined the Rockies from the Thompson Blazers U18AAA program.

“Playing in Columbia Valley was very good for my development,” said Cormier. “I felt like I matured as a player and learned a lot playing for Emery Olauson. I am very excited for my opportunity next year with the Melfort Mustangs.

Olauson, the Rockies’ head coach-general manager, said as a 17-year-old defenceman, Cormier took his on- and off-ice development very seriously.

“He was another one of our first-year players who was relied upon in all situations throughout the year and he earned our trust more and more with his work ethic,” said Olauson. “Riley will bring that same commitment to Melfort and we can’t wait to see his continued growth as a player at the next level.”

The Terriers captured the MJHL’s regular-season pennant with a 43-11-1-3 record in 2022-23, but were eliminated in seven games in the league semifinals by the Virden Oil Capitals.

Melfort finished second in the Sherwood Division of the SJHL with a 31-16-5-4 mark. They defeated the La Ronge Ice Wolves 4-2 in the league quarterfinals before falling 4-0 in the semis to the eventual league champion Battlefords North Stars.

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