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There was good news for the Kamloops Blazers on Monday.
The Blazers, who are winless in their first four games of this season, haven’t had a lot to smile about of late. But you can bet there were lots of smiles yesterday when forward Deven Sideroff was back on skates. Sideroff, one of the WHL’s
speediest skaters, has missed the first four games of the regular season with a virus.
Sideroff was a third-round selection by Anaheim in the NHL’s 2015 draft and attended the Ducks’ training camp.
Last season, he had 42 points, 17 of them goals, in 64 games as a freshman. He spent a lot of his time on the right side of a line with centre Matt Needham and Cole Ully.
This season, Sideroff, who is from Summerland, was ticketed for that same spot, alongside Needham. Chances are that those two will be reunited when Sideroff returns, with the coaching staff cycling other forwards through on the left side.
The Blazers are preparing for two home games this week, against the Tri-City Americans (1-1-1) on Wednesday and the Victoria Royals (4-0-0) on Saturday. The Royals swept the visiting Blazers on the weekend, winning 4-2 and 5-1.
Sideroff won’t face the Americans, and may not play Saturday, either. It is more likely that he makes his return against the Red Deer Rebels on Oct. 13.
Meanwhile, the Blazers are again without veteran forward Matt Revel, 19. Revel suffered a shoulder injury during a Sept. 11 exhibition game. He didn’t play again until Friday in Victoria; however, he re-injured the shoulder and didn’t play Saturday. The Blazers show him on the weekly injury report as being out day-to-day.
Defenceman Conner McDonald, a 16-year-old from Delta, B.C., is back skating after being out since early in training camp. A second-round pick in the 2014 bantam draft, McDonald isn’t likely to be rushed into the lineup after such a lengthy absence.
There was good news for the Blazers off the ice, too, on Monday. The WHL’s U16 Challenge Cup is scheduled for Calgary, Oct. 28 through Nov. 1, and the Blazers have had seven prospects selected to play.
G Jordan Naylor, a list player from Aldergrove, D Luke Zazula, a fourth-round selection in the 2015 draft, and F Jackson Shepard, who was taken in the second round in 2015, will play for Team B.C. Zazula is from Langley, while Shepard is from North Vancouver.
F Ryley Appelt, a fourth-round pick in 2015 from Edmonton, is on Team Alberta’s roster.
Team Saskatchewan includes three 2015 draft picks — D Devan Harrison, a second-round pick from Dysart, F Carson Denomie, a fourth-rounder from Regina, and F Jake Tremblay, a seventh-rounder from Pense.
Team B.C.’s roster includes two players from Kamloops — F Ryan Chyzowski, who was a first-round selection by the Medicine Hat Tigers in the 2015 bantam draft, and D Seth Bafaro, who was a third-round pick by the Tri-City Americans in 2015.
Chyzowski is the younger brother of Blazers F Nick Chyzowski. Their father, Dave, is a former Blazers player who now is the team’s director of sales and marketing.