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New Wave: Nelson Leafs


The Kootenay International Junior Hockey League has an exciting new wave of rookie talent entering the 2022-23 season, which begins on Sept. 23. Leading up to the start of the season, we will highlight those players from each team.

Next in the New Wave series are the Nelson Leafs. The Leafs finished first in the Neil Murdoch division with 31 wins in 42 games. In the playoffs, they advanced to the KIJHL Final playing for the Teck Cup against the Revelstoke Grizzlies.

Here’s a look at their new wave of rookies with insight from Head Coach Adam DiBella.


Leighton Partington 

Forward, West Central Wheat Kings U18 AA

Partington put up 36 points in 28 games for the Wheat Kings and continued his strong offensive production in the playoffs with 18 points in 12 games. 

“Leighton is a fast, gritty and skilled forward who is tenacious on the forecheck. He was the captain of his U18 team last season and is a proven playoff performer.”

Hunter Sperle 

Forward, West Central Wheat Kings U18 AA 

Playing on a line with Leighton Partington, Sperle put up 45 points in 32 games for the Wheat Kings. In the playoffs, he was a threat with his shot, netting 13 goals in 12 playoff games. He was an assistant captain last season.

“Hunter is a power-forward with a lethal shot. He can find a way to be open in scoring areas.” 

Owen McFarlane

Forward, Okotoks Oilers U18 AAA 

McFarlane had five points in 37 games for the Oilers last season and is a defensively responsible centre with great positioning. 

“Owen is a dynamic skater who has an amazing work ethic both on- and off-the-ice. He has underrated skills and high potential.”

Jason Scott

Forward, OHA U18 Prep 

Scott collected 18 points in 36 games last season for OHA. 

“Jason is a big bodied power-forward with a big upside. Jason has a great work ethic and as the season progresses we are anticipating him to grow into a physical force. He has great hands around the net and can play anywhere in the lineup.”

Connor Hanna

Forward, IHA U18 Prep

Hanna collected five points in 33 games for IHA last season. 

“Connor is a strong skating, big power-forward who is very coachable. With Connor’s work ethic and coachability, we think he is going to get better in every game he plays.”

Dawson Davis

Forward, OHA U18 Prep 

Davis collected 13 points in 36 games for OHA last season and has an elite compete level. 

“He is a strong skating two-way center and will be used in all situations. He is very positionally smart and refuses to be out worked. He is a great forechecker and is excellent on the penalty kill.”

Tyler Seminoff

Defence, OHA U18 Prep

The Oliver product spent three seasons with the Okanagan Hockey Academy and last season he recorded 11 points in 35 games.

“Tyler is a player that can control the pace of the game with his skating ability and high end hockey IQ.”

Drake Proctor

Forward, Okanagan Rockets U18AAA

Proctor is a local product who had 14 points in 36 games for the Rockets last season. As
an affiliate player for the Leafs last season Proctor played in 10 games, nine of those
coming in the Kootenay Conference Final and the Teck Cup Final. Proctor scored a key
insurance goal in Game 4 of the Kootenay Conference Finals securing a 2-0 win.

“Drake is big, fast, and skilled. He really showed his potential with us last season. Drake was a key recruit for us and we are really excited to see him continue to develop throughout this season.”

Owen Ditzel

Forward, Okanagan Rockets U18AAA

Ditzel is another local product from Nelson who put up 10 points in 32 games for the Rockets last season. Last season Ditzel played two games as an affiliate player with the North Okanagan Knights and one with the BCHL’s Alberni Valley Bulldogs.

“Owen is a player with big upside. He is a feisty player who is tough to play against. With his work ethic, our coaching staff is excited to see him develop throughout the season.”

Jasper Tait

Goalie, OHA U18 Prep

The Prince George product earned five wins last season with a 3.40 goals against average along with a
.907 save percentage.

“Jasper is a very technically sound goalie and likes to be square to the shooter and in front of pucks. Jasper is very calm and quiet in the net. We are very excited to have Jasper with us this season.”