It’s signing season in the Pacific Junior Hockey League, and the White Rock Whalers have been busy adding to their roster and they look ahead to puck drop in the fall.
Since the calendar flipped to June, the Whalers – who joined the junior ‘B’ Pacific League last year, in time for the 2018/19 season – have announced five new additions to the roster. The most recent announcement came last week, when the team signed Delta native Chris Fortems, who played last season with the Delta Hockey Academy.
With Delta last season, he tallied 28 points – four goals and 24 assists – in 36 games.
In addition to his time with the academy program, where he’s played since 2015, the 17-year-old forward also played two games in the junior ‘A’ B.C. Hockey League as an affiliate player with the Surrey Eagles.
Fortems’ signing came just two days after the second-year club announced Josten Hu had also been added to the team. Hu, a Burnaby native, is an 18-year-old right-hand shot defenceman who played last season with the North Vancouver Midget A1 team. He’ll be familiar to Whalers head coach Jason Rogers and the rest of the staff, however – he played two games last year with the Whalers as a call-up player.
Also signed this month by White Rock is hulking forward Benn Simms, who will certainly add some size to the team’s roster next season – he is listed at six-foot-three and 170 pounds. Simms played last season with South Delta Minor Hockey.
The Whalers’ first two signings this month both came from the BC Major Midget League. Forward Zachary Sherwin will join the pod from the Greater Vancouver Canadians program, while Valley West Giants defenceman, Bryce Margetson, has also been signed.
Margetson, a 17-year-old Surrey resident, had 12 points in 40 games on the Giants’ blue line last season. Prior to playing in the BCMML, he was a member of the Delta Hockey Academy. In 2017, he was a sixth-round pick of the Swift Current Broncos in the Western Hockey League’s bantam draft.
— Bryce Margetson (@bryce_margetson) June 6, 2019
Sherwin, meanwhile, is also originally from the Delta Academy, but last hockey season put up 16 points in 38 games in the BCMML.
The Whalers are coming off an inaugural year in which they were within range of a playoff spot for much of the season, before a late-soon swoon left them on the outside looking in with a record of 14-28-0-2 (win-loss-tie-overtime loss).
“We set a goal as a group to make the playoffs. Early in January, with a good start after the break, we felt that we could make that push, but for numerous reasons – and by no means are they excuses – we came up a little short,” Rogers told Peace Arch News shortly after the season ended.
“But despite some of those results towards the end of the year, I thought we played well, competed hard and showed some improvements.”