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Local Junior stars on the move

Stockfish, Proulx, Kirkby and Brunette all finding new homes on the ice in 2022-23
2022 02 17 Jack Stockfish Lumberkings
Jack Stockfish in action with the Pembroke Lumber Kings of the CCHL last season. File photo.

A group of former teammates from the memorable 2018-19 version of the North Bay U18 Trappers, are separating and heading to different corners of North America for their final year of junior hockey eligibility.  

Jack Stockfish, Reece Proulx and Jesse Kirkby, all of the Pembroke Lumber Kings, have found different homes to end their junior hockey careers along with former Trappers teammate Ben Brunette. 

Brunette, who is a commit to the University of Massachusetts-Lowell NCAA Division I hockey program, was traded to the Penticton Vees of the BCHL this summer. 

The 20-year-old, played last season with the Waterloo Blackhawks in the USHL, but was limited to just 15 games due to injury. The 6’0,” 181-pound blueliner is no stranger to the BCHL, as he played the 2020-21 season with Powell River. In 20 games with the Kings, the North Bay, ON product posted four goals and six assists for 10 points.

“Ben is a good, two-way defender that has a lot of potential now that he is fully healthy. We feel he will bolster our depth on the blueline for the upcoming season,” said Fred Harbinson," head coach and GM of the Vees who won the BCHL league title in 2022. 

Meantime, Jack Stockfish, a commit to Holy Cross University NCAA Division I hockey program, accepted a trade from Pembroke to Prince George where he will play for the Spruce Kings also in the BCHL. 

"I was very excited (about the trade) as the Spruce Kings have a reputation for being a first-class organization with exceptional coaching and a great track record," said Stockfish in a release.  

"There is a long history of winning and developing players to the next level. Graduated players had nothing but great things to say about their experience playing for this team and this town. I couldn’t be more thrilled to finish off my junior career as a Spruce King." 

Stockfish had a terrific season with the Lumber Kings last year, which included 50 points in 47 games. The 6’2, 181 pounds forward also served as an alternate captain in 21-22 and has 108 games of junior hockey under his belt. Stockfish had quite the playoff season as well, adding five goals and six helpers in just seven games.

“Jack is a very skilled hard-working player with great size. He’s also a great person and teammate and immediately improves every aspect of our already strong forward group. It’s an exciting day anytime you’re able to acquire a player like Jack," Mike Hawes, Spruce Kings GM said about Stockfish

Stockfish is excited to bring his game to Prince George, and his brand of hockey will be exciting to the Spruce Kings fans,

“I am a big, offensive, center that works very hard to play a 200-foot game and make myself tough to play against," he said.  

"I’ve played a big part on a lot of winning teams in the past and have the experience to shut down opponents and win big games."

Meantime a pair of Stockfish's teammates, goaltender Reece Proulx and forward Jesse Kirkby have moved on to play in the North American Hockey League with the Texas Brahmas. 

Proulx, a 2002 Goalie, made an impact in his three seasons with the Lumber Kings. Reece supplied Pembroke with a 2.26 GAA and 3 shutouts within the 35 games played during the 2021-22 regular season, and a dynamite 1.73 GAA during the Kings’ seven-game playoff run.

The agile netminder, who was a North Bay Battalion draft pick, is “super excited to get started!” said Proulx in a follow-up comment announcing the news.

“We are very excited to be able to add Reece to our incoming class of tendered players,” said Ryan Anderson,  associate head coach of the Brahmas,

Kirkby, a 2002 forward, made an impact in his three seasons with the Lumber Kings, totaling 99 points (41g-58a) in 104 games played, including four goals in the Kings’ seven-game playoff run. A native of North Bay, ON, the skater developed in his own backyard, playing for the North Bay Trappers AAA organization.

Kirkby is described as not only a goal-scorer but also a points-leading playmaker on the ice every season since 14U AAA in the 2015-16 season.

“We are very excited to be able to add a player like Jesse to our incoming class of tendered players,” said  Anderson.

“Our scouting and coaching staff felt that it was extremely important to add a dynamic offensive threat with junior experience and Jesse fills that need. Not only is Jesse a great player on the ice but he has shown maturity and leadership throughout the tendering process that we believe will be vital during the 2022-23 NAHL season.”

The four North Bay area products hope to leave junior hockey on a high much like they left their final year of minor hockey in which they went on to an unbeaten season and a Great North Midget League championship.  

Chris Dawson

About the Author: Chris Dawson

Chris Dawson has been with since 2004. He has provided up-to-the-minute sports coverage and has become a key member of the BayToday news team.
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