The Grande Prairie Storm have made a pair of moves over recent days, adding both a forward and defenceman.
Zach Okabe, 16, spent last season with Shawnigan Lake Midget Prep, a well-known sports academy on Vancouver Island. He accumulated 27 points in 30 games. He also appeared in one game for the British Columbia Hockey League’s Victoria Grizzlies.
“Fans are going to love the skill Zach possesses. He’s one of those players that can do special things at high speed. He has explosive wrists and a great release. The first time Bomersback and myself watched him play live we had to check his age again. We thought no way this kid is only 16 years old. Zachary has an incredible story and the sacrifices his parents made to leave everything behind in Australia and move to North America for him to pursue his hockey dreams shows through in his character. We’re incredibly excited that Zach and his family have chosen the Storm as the next step in achieving his goals,” said Matt Keillor, Storm Head Coach.
Twenty-year-old defencemen Christopher Lanouette has been acquired from the Terrebonne Cobra’s of Quebec’s Jr. AAA league.
He competed in the RBC Cup this past spring as a member of the Cobras.
Lanouette also played in 16 games with the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s Victoriaville Tigers, tallying one assist and 32 penalty minutes last season.
“Anytime you get a player from a program like that you know he has been part of a strong culture. When I spoke with Lanouette I asked him if he had any questions. His first question was ‘tell me about the guys?’. That speaks to his character, he’s a team first guy and that’s very important for our culture here. The thing that I like the most about Christopher is there’s no identity crisis. He’s mature enough to know what he’s capable of and he takes pride in being responsible defensively, getting pucks in the forwards hands with speed and clearing the net for his goaltender,” Keillor said. “I hope fans will fall in love with him and I think his teammates will appreciate his experience and style of play. We need some poise and toughness on our back end to provide confidence, especially with some of the exciting young skill we have committed this year… We are very excited to have Lanouette join the Storm family.”
During the 2014-15 season, Lanouette appeared in five games for the QMJHL’s Chicoutimi Sagueneens.
(Photos courtesy of grandeprairiestorm.ca)