North Okanagan Knights Junior Hockey Club
2022-2023 Recruitment Package
Proud Member of the KIJHL
The North Okanagan Knights are a franchise in the KIJHL based in Armstrong, BC. The KIJHL is widely regarded as the best Jr. B league in Western Canada. We compete in the Bill Ohlhausen division. The top 4 teams in our division make the playoffs and compete for the KIJHL Championship – The Teck Cup. The KIJHL champion team moves onto play in the Cyclone Taylor Cup against the champion teams from the PJHL and the VIJHL, as well as the host team.
North Okanagan Knights Mission Statement
Our mission is to provide a positive platform of growth and improvement for young men in all areas of life.
About the KIJHL:
The KIJHL is widely regarded as the best Jr. B league in Western Canada. With 20 member franchises, the KIJHL offers a competitive league for players aged 16-20. The playing style of the KIJHL is fast, physical, skilled, and structured. There is no question that the KIJHL is filled with older, bigger, and stronger players, but the days of Jr B hockey being “just for goons” are completely gone. More than ever, there is heavy emphasis on skill, structure, speed, and learning to play the game the right way – with integrity, class, and sportsmanship. Each year, there are typically 3-5 players from each team who move onto play a higher level of junior hockey, and most 20 year olds aging out of the KIJHL are recruited heavily for NCAA D3, ACHA D1, BCIHL, ACAC, and many other college/university conferences. Since the 2019-2020 season, the Knights have helped 9 players sign in various Jr A leagues, 2 players sign with WHL teams, and 6 players sign with various college hockey programs.
Armstrong is a small town in the heart of the Okanagan Valley of approximately 5,000 people. Armstrong is 20 minutes from Vernon, 30 minutes from Salmon Arm, 1 hour from Kelowna, and 1 hour from Kamloops. Armstrong is a growing, safe, small town with caring people and a great sense of community. The Okanagan Valley is surrounded by big mountains, beautiful lakes, and world class golf courses and ski resorts.
Team Workout Facility
A24 Fitness joined the Knights as a corporate partner for the 2021-2022 season. With substantial experience in health and lifestyle optimization, A24 will be developing the off ice training program for the Knights.
In a typical week, practices run Monday-Thursday 1:00PM-2:15PM and skate on home game days at 10:00AM. In addition, we run skill 2 skills sessions every other week. We push all of our players to improve every day. Whether you are a first year player looking to move up to either Jr A or the WHL, or if you are a 20 year old with college aspirations, we expect all of our players to bring their highest work ethic and compete level every single day.
Over the years, the KIJHL has structured its season slightly differently. For example, in the 2019-2020 season before the COVID-19 pandemic, each team played 49 games which included cross conference play. With so many uncertainties prior to the 2021-2022 season, we played 42 games all within our own conference. We expect to be playing between 45-52 games in the 2022-2023 season and expect cross-conference play to resume.
Proximity of Jr A & WHL teams
We are fortunate to be located within 2 hours to 5 Jr A teams, and 2 WHL teams. We have consistently been able to have players each year from our team join local Jr A teams as Affiliate Players. In 2021-2022, we were able to help 3 of our players practice and play with Jr A teams. Another was listed with a WHL team. It is no secret that many players need an extra year of development between U18AA/AAA and Jr A hockey, and we are happy to provide that stepping stone for our players.
Vernon Vipers (BCHL) – 20 Minutes
Salmon Arm Silverbacks (BCHL) – 30 Minutes
West Kelowna Warriors (BCHL) – 1 Hour 15 Minutes
Merritt Centennials (BCHL) – 2 Hours
Penticton Vees (BCHL) – 2 Hours
Kelowna Rockets (WHL) – 1 Hour
Kamloops Blazers (WHL) – 1 Hour 15 Minutes
The Knights provide the following equipment and apparel to their players each season: Helmet + cage, gloves, pant shells, team bag, tracksuit, hoodie, workout t-shirt, workout shorts, and various other pieces of apparel. Sun Valley Source for Sports, in Vernon, provides a 15% discount for any retail item in their store to our players.
For the 2021-2022 season, our team fees were $7,500 +GST.
Billet fees are $765/month.
Dean and Mynah Keller are successful and well-respected business people in the community. They purchased the Knights prior to the 2015-2016 season. Their son and current President of Operations, Dallas Keller, played for the Knights in his final year of junior hockey and since the 2018-2019 season has been involved in hockey and business operations. The Keller family also owns and operates Need A Lift Trucking Services Ltd. based in Oliver, BC.
Head Coach & General Manager
Liam was named Head Coach/GM prior to the 2021-2022 season, following 5 years with the organization spent as an associate/goaltending coach, and a short stint in the 2018-2019 season as interim head coach. Liam is a players first coach with a positive yet demanding approach to teaching and helping players improve. Aside from coaching the Knights, Liam’s coaching experience is substantial. From coaching minor hockey at Pursuit of Excellence Hockey Academy (now Rink Hockey Academy – Kelowna), coaching with the WHL’s Tri-City Americans and Kelowna Rockets, and working with NHL goaltenders in a consulting role (Carey Price, Eric Comrie, Stuart Skinner), Liam has an excellent ability to deliver his message with clear and concise communication.
Associate/Goaltending Coach & Assistant General Manager
Josh has worked as an Associate and Goaltending coach with the Knights since the 2019-2020 season. Josh has played an integral role in developing and consistently advancing Knights players onto the next level. Josh also handles off ice duties such as corporate partnerships, regional scouting, and affiliation of local players. Josh brings a high energy, positive outlook on the game and preaches team comradery and chemistry. Aside from working with the Knights, Josh runs private goaltending sessions, clinics, and camps, as well as private consulting for various minor hockey groups in the Okanagan.
Tony has been an Assistant Coach with the Knights since the 2020-2021 season, previously serving in an advisor role. Tony has been a head coach for various Bantam and Midget AA and AAA teams in the Thompson-Okanagan region and brings great composure and hockey knowledge to the team. Tony’s playing career includes time spent in the QMJHL followed by 4 seasons at the University of Ottawa. Tony brings expertise and experience to the bench and helps with both the forwards and defencemen. Beyond his work with the Knights, Tony is a lead engineer for Valmet, a pulp and paper processing company.
Trainer & Equipment Manager
Kevin has volunteered with the Knights since the 2018-2019 season when his son, KT Walters, joined the team as a 16 year old. After racking up 66 points in 92 games, KT moved on to play Jr A in the SJHL and the BCHL. Kevin continues to help out as a Trainer and Equipment Manager and is a passionate supporter of all levels of junior hockey. Aside from working with the Knights, Kevin works with the City of Vernon.
Team Chaplain & Broadcaster
On top of presenting one of the KIJHL’s top broadcasts, Mike has run the Knights’ chapel program since 2012. Mike hosts the players at his house once every 2 weeks for a group meeting and discussion regarding day to day adversity that players may face – individually or as a team. Many of our past players have raved of the importance of the chapel program as it helped them to face their fears, conquer them, and rise to any challenge they have faced. Mike has been a hockey coach, lacrosse coach, and has great experience in driving character growth, an increase in personal responsibility, and self-accountability. Beyond working with the Knights, Mike runs Your Plan Financial, a financial planning firm for individuals, families, and corporations.
Head Coach & General Manager
Associate Coach/Goaltending Coach & Assistant General Manager
President of Operations
Office Administration and General Inquiries