The Castlegar Rebels are thrilled to have Oak Lake’s Josh Wiens leading the way for them this coming season.
The British Columbia-based Junior B hockey team recently announced that Wiens will serve as its captain for the 2020-2021 campaign. It will be the third season in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League for the son of Brad and Angie Wiens. Wiens started last winter as an assistant captain but was picked to wear the “C” when its previous owner departed in a trade.
“Josh has been a huge part of our team’s success and has been a big leader as we changed the culture in our locker room,” head coach Carter Duffinsaid. “He brings an exceptional work ethic to the rink everyday, and isn’t outworked any time - games, practices, or workouts.
“Josh was unanimously voted by his teammates as the new captain mid last season. Our coaching staff was excited to see the players respond to his leadership and are looking forward to having him back for his final season to lead this team.”
Last season, as a 19-year-old, Wiens was selected as the Rebels’ Most Valuable Player – for the second straight season. The 5-foot-10, 175-pound forward, led Castlegar with 39 points and 29 assists in 42 games. He scored 10 goals.
“He was able to lead our team in points this season, being a threat both offensively as well as being relied on against opposing team’s top lines defensively, along with heavy use on the powerplay and penalty kill,” Duffin said. “His relentless work ethic is what helps separate him from other players.”
That hard work translated into success. Wiens boosted his goal production by seven and points by 12 in his second KIJHL campaign.
“The work I did in the gym last summer I think was one of the biggest things that helped me to improve my game this season,” Wiens said. “I also spent a lot of time working on certain skills last summer to make sure I put myself in a good spot to be successful this season. I worked on my shot a lot in the offseason. It was one part of my game that I thought I needed to work on, and it helped me to have more confidence shooting the puck. I think just being in my second year and being more creative and comfortable playing at this level helped me to improve my point totals as well.”
While he had a strong season, Wiens was most pleased with the Rebels’ success as a team. After missing the postseason in Wiens’ rookie year, Castlegar earned the fourth seed in its division last winter. The team was swept by the top seeded Beaver Valley Nitehawks, but two of those contests went to overtime.
“This year we were able to get into the playoffs, and even though we didn't have the run we wanted, it was a lot of fun,” Wiens said. “Playoffs were definitely the highlight of my season.”
Another highlight was his teammates.
“They're really great guys and they made coming to the rink a lot of fun. I love playing in front of the fans here too. They can make our games loud and a lot of fun to play in. …
“Castlegar is a great organization and they gave us opportunities to work in the community and I also enjoyed doing that.”
While he plays far from home, Wiens knows he has the strong backing of his family. In addition to his parents, he knows that his siblings Ty and Abby, and grandparents Lou and Deb Schwindt, and Mano and Helen Wiens are pulling for him.
“My family is awesome,” Wiens said. “They have supported me from day one. My siblings and my grandparents have done a lot for me and they give me encouragement when I need it. My parents have gone above and beyond helping me. I am very thankful for the efforts they have invested in me and all the support and encouragement they have given me. I am very lucky to have them as my parents and I really appreciate everything they have done for me.”