By GREGG DRINNAN
Daily News Sports Editor
The B.C. Major Midget Hockey is preparing to showcase a lot of talent this weekend in Chase and Kamloops.
The league’s all-star game is scheduled for today, 6 p.m., at the Art Holding Memorial Arena in Chase. On Saturday and Sunday, the league’s teams will play a total of 10 games — eight in Chase and two at the McArthur Island Sport and Event Centre.
“They bring all the teams to one central location,” Tyler Forsythe, the head coach of the Thompson Blazers, said Thursday. “It’s a scouting weekend . . . a showcase weekend for the scouts. They don’t have to go anywhere. They can just go to one location.”
The Blazers, a team that moved to Chase this season after having been based in Kamloops, will be represented in tonight’s all-star game by goaltender Wade Moyls and forward Ian Chrystal, both of whom are from Kamloops.
Chrystal, 16, is 6-foot-1 and 174 pounds. He has 15 points, including six goals, and 78 penalty minutes in 28 games.
“He is a big kid who skates pretty well,” Forsythe said. “He gets in on the forecheck, creates a lot of turnovers with his size and speed, and finishes his chances when he’s in tight.”
Moyls, also 16, stands 6-foot-6 and weighs 180 pounds.
“Moyls is a big kid who saves our bacon more often than not,” Forsythe said. “He makes some big saves and his consistency has gotten a lot better through the season. He’s really been a big help for us.”
On the season, Moyls is 1-12-1 with a 5.49 GAA.
As Moyls’ numbers would seem to indicate, the Blazers have had a tough go this weekend. They go into the Showcase Weekend with a 1-26-1 record. They have scored only 44 goals, while allowing 197.
They posted their first victory of the season Saturday in Nelson when they beat the Kootenay Ice, 7-4. The Ice came back to win 10-2 on Sunday.
“The difference in the two games was that we scored on our chances in the first game and they scored on theirs in the second,” Forsythe said. “It was really nice for the boys (to win the first one). Once they got a little momentum from finishing the odd chance, it snowballed. We scored five goals in the third period for the win.”
The Blazers are young — Forsythe said their average age is 15.5, and one of their two 17-year-olds, defenceman Ryan Murray, has been out for a month with an injury and won’t be back for another three weeks.
Forsythe added that there also are players on his roster who haven’t played in the higher echelons of minor hockey on their way to this league.
“We also have a lot of players who haven’t played AAA their whole lives,” Forsythe said. “They are at a different competitive level than they’ve been at before. If we’d been able to get a win or two earlier in the season it would have helped their confidence.
“But they’ve struggled with that and they’ve struggled with the other teams being really fast and really skilled. We make a mistake, it goes in our net; we earn a chance and we weren’t scoring on our chances.”
The Blazers will hope to carry the momentum from that first league victory into this weekend. They will meet the North Island Silvertips (7-13-6) twice, on Saturday, 7 p.m., and Sunday, 12:15 p.m.
At Chase (Art Holding Memorial Arena)
10:45 a.m.: Greater Vancouver Canadians vs. South Island Thunderbirds
1:30 p.m.: Cariboo Cougars vs. Kootenay Ice
4:15 p.m.: Fraser Valley Bruins vs. Vancouver NW Giants
7 p.m.: Thompson Blazers vs. North Island Silvertips
at Kamloops (McArthur Island Sport and Event Centre)
7 p.m.: Valley West Hawks vs. Vancouver NE Chiefs
at Chase (Art Holding Memorial Arena)
9:30 a.m.: Canadians vs. Thunderbirds
12:15 p.m.: Blazers vs. Silvertips
3 p.m.: Bruins vs. Giants
5:45 p.m.: Hawks vs. Chiefs
At Kamloops (McArthur Island Sport and Event Centre)
10:15 a.m.: Cougars vs. Ice
B.C. Major Midget Hockey League