Tim Bozon returns to the Kootenay Ice lineup for the first time this season when the Calgary Hitmen visit Western Financial Place Friday night.

Tim Bozon returns to the Kootenay Ice lineup for the first time this season when the Calgary Hitmen visit Western Financial Place Friday night.

The Bozon Effect

Star forward boosts Kootenay Ice lineup; Virtanen to return for Calgary Hitmen

Taylor Rocca

Though the Kootenay Ice’s most recent two-game road trip through Saskatchewan wasn’t a productive one in the rink, it was an important journey for Tim Bozon.

During the month of March, Bozon spent 27 days at Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon under the care of medical physicians after coming down with neisseria meningitis. This week, the team’s travels took Bozon back to Saskatoon for the first time since leaving the hospital and he was met with a warm reception. For the 20-year-old native of Valbonne, France, his first road trip since rejoining the team was a special one.

“The fact I [was able] to visit the hospital made my day,” Bozon said Thursday prior to practice at Western Financial Place. “I was pretty pumped after that. I was so happy. It was something I was a little bit anxious [about], going back. You don’t really want to go back [to a place where you went through something like that]. But just seeing everyone and [knowing] that finally, everything is back to normal and everybody is happy to see me definitely made my day.”

Prior to Wednesday’s game at SaskTel Centre in Saskatoon, the Blades welcomed Bozon back to the ice for the ceremonial puck drop. As he stepped onto the red carpet, fans in the building gave the Montreal Canadiens prospect a standing ovation.

“I saw that [support] when I was in the hospital, the support from all around the league,” Bozon said.

“It’s something that I appreciate. When I was in Saskatoon, I made sure I thanked everybody…the fans and the people that helped me at the hospital.”

Bozon didn’t suit up for the Ice’s 5-2 loss to the Blades Wednesday night as he continues to deal with a lower-body injury. With the Calgary Hitmen (6-4-0-1) in town Friday, the former 90-point spitfire is ready to get back to business on the ice as he makes his 2014-15 WHL debut.

“He’s such a dynamic offensive player,” said forward Luke Philp Thursday afternoon. “He can change a game. He has the ability to do that. If he comes back to the lineup, that would be huge to get some offense. We’ve been struggling to score goals lately. Tim could definitely help with that.”

Heading into the weekend, the Ice remain the second-lowest scoring team in the WHL with 24 goals through 12 games. The Lethbridge Hurricanes are the lowest-scoring team in the league, having tallied 21 times in 11 outings. The Ice are nipping at the heels of the Seattle Thunderbirds, who have scored 26 times in 11 contests. At the top end of the totem pole, the Brandon Wheat Kings lead the WHL with 66 goals through 12 games.

Though he has yet to suit up, Bozon has been with the team since arriving back in Cranbrook Oct. 12, leaving him plenty of time to take his team’s tough start to the season.

“It’s all about details. Obviously we can always compete more,” Bozon said. “Everybody has to step up their game. After that, as a team, we’ve got some skill up front and we can score goals. Maybe we were not lucky enough to score some goals [to this point]. When we don’t score goals, we have to push harder, keep it simple for a bit and then goals will come.”

Tonight’s tilt with Calgary represents the third game in four nights for the Ice following back-to-back road losses Tuesday and Wednesday in Prince Albert and Saskatoon, respectively. The Hitmen last played Sunday, Oct. 19 in a 5-1 home-ice victory over the visiting Regina Pats.

“It’s nothing different than any of the other teams are doing around the league right now,” Philp said. “You have phases of the year where you play three [games] in three nights, four in five nights, whatever it may be. You’ve got to be ready for it and prepare for it in the weeks ahead.

“We’ve got to play hard. We’ve got to compete against them otherwise they’re going to walk all over us. They’re a good team, they’ve got a lot of firepower. It comes down to us competing.”

While Bozon boosts the fire power for the home team, the visitors are expected to be fuelled by the return of star forward Jake Virtanen. The 18-year-old Vancouver Canucks prospect led the Hitmen with 45 goals in 2013-14 but has missed the first 11 games of the WHL season following off-season shoulder surgery.

Forward Jon Martin (upper body) and defenceman Rinat Valiev (lower body) will once again be unavailable for the Ice as they continue to deal with injuries.

Just Posted

The Kimberley Refugee Resettlement Group is active again after a few years off and are working to find a home for Gloria in Kimberley. Photo taken at a KRRG fundraiser several years ago. Bulletin file.
Kimberley Refugee Resettlement Group active once more

KRRG working to find a refugee a safe place to live in Kimberley

The Kimberley Aquatic Centre is set to reopen its doors to the public on July 6, after being shut down due to the pandemic in March, 2020. The Centre will be initially operating with reduced occupancy and limited program offerings. Bulletin file.
Kimberley Aquatic Centre set to re-open July 6

New safety infrastructure, limited guests and programming allow facility to open again

Interior Health is reporting a COVID-19 exposure at Selkirk Secondary in Kimberley. Bulletin file.
COVID-19 case identified at Selkirk Secondary in Kimberley

Interior Health is conducting contact tracing

The Kootenay International Junior Hockey League met for their AGM and announced a number of new initiatives, new awards and changes in their executive committee, as well as the starting date for the 2021-22 season. Paul Rodgers file.
KIJHL announces start dates for 2021-22 season

Season set to begin Oct. 1 with league still following all health guidelines

Calvin Dickson photo.
Severe thunderstorm watch in effect for East Kootenay

Conditions favourable for the development of thunderstorms, hail and heavy rain

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

(pixabay file shot)
B.C. ombudsperson labels youth confinement in jail ‘unsafe,’ calls for changes

Review states a maximum of 22 hours for youth, aged 12 from to 17, to be placed in solitary

Grace (left), a caribou that was born in a maternal pen north of Revelstoke, is alive and well said the province. It appears she even has a calf. Maternity pens aim to increase caribou calf survival by protecting them from predation until they are older and less vulnerable. (Contributed)
For the first time in years, caribou numbers increasing near Revelstoke

North herd growing but south herd still concerning

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Eleonore Alamillo-Laberge, 6, reads a book in Ottawa on Monday, June 12, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Parents will need to fight ‘COVID learning slump’ over summer: B.C. literacy experts

Parents who play an active role in educating their children this summer can reverse the slump by nearly 80%, says Janet Mort

Kelowna General Hospital. (File photo)
COVID-19 outbreak at Kelowna General Hospital declared over

Three people tested positive for the virus — two patients and one staff — one of whom died

The border crossing on Highway 11 in Abbotsford heading south (file)
Western premiers call for clarity, timelines on international travel, reopening rules

Trudeau has called Thursday meeting, premiers say they expect to leave that meeting with a plan

Most Read