WHL NOTEBOOK: Glover enjoying fresh start
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Cayden Glover admits it’s not always easy adjusting to a different role on the ice than the one he grew up with in Brandon.
The six-foot-one, 186-pound Prince George Cougars forward was a prolific sniper as a youngster, which led to him being selected 25th overall by the Medicine Hat Tigers in the 2019 Western Hockey League draft. That offensive success has been tougher to replicate in the WHL, and he admits it can be hard to deal with at times.
“In bantam and even midget, it seems like I got to score when I wanted to, as cocky as that sounds,” Glover said. “It seems like I got to control the game a little bit more, whereas nowadays, it’s kind of shifted and the confidence isn’t there as much and the puck’s not going my way and I can’t do what I used to out there.
“It’s a lot harder for sure.”
Glover developed a well-earned reputation as a goal scorer in minor hockey. He potted 47 goals and 19 assists in 36 games with the under-15 AAA Wheat Kings in his draft year.
After spending the 2019-20 season with the U18 Wheat Kings — he had 40 points in 46 games — Glover began the 2020-21 year with the Willie Desjardins South Alberta Hockey Academy (SAHA) prep school in Dunmore, a short drive down the Trans-Canada Highway from Medicine Hat.
In six games, Glover produced three goals and three assists in five games on a team that included several other Tigers prospects. When the WHL started its season in February, he joined the Tigers, appearing in 15 of their 23 games and earning an assist.
He scored his first WHL goal at home in Brandon in a 7-4 Wheat Kings victory on Nov. 26, 2021, and then added his second 21 minutes later.
To top it off, he fired in a third goal the next night in Winnipeg against the Ice.
But a giant change was coming.
On Dec. 27, 2021, the Cougars acquired Glover and another 2004-born forward, Carlin Dezainde, in a three-team trade involving Medicine Hat and the Saskatoon Blades.
The Cougars also ended up with a second-round pick in 2023 from the Tigers, and a third-round pick in 2023 and seventh-round pick in 2025 from the Blades.
In exchange, the Cougars sent 2004-born forward Kyren Gronick to the Blades and a fifth-round pick in 2025 to the Tigers.
The trade wasn’t a big surprise for Glover, who had asked for a deal.
“There was still that kind of shock factor of leaving all the guys and my billets,” Glover said.
Glover was already a long way from home in Medicine Hat, which is an 830-km trip, but Prince George is 1,882 kilometres from Brandon.
He said of the options he had — the Victoria Royals were the other one — there wasn’t anything much closer so he accepted his new home pretty quickly.
“We knew it was going to be farther no matter what,” Glover said of his family’s reaction. “We knew it was going to be my first time going into B.C., either way. We were all excited for me.”
It’s proven to be a good fit for Glover, who turned 19 on Jan. 11. A key part of that was the chance to start all over again with a clean slate with another organization.
“It was awesome,” Glover said. “It was nice to be able to show them what I can do here and get a solid spot in the lineup and showcase my skills to a new group of guys and a new set of coaches.”
Prince George is a young team on the rise, with a talented group of high-end forwards that include Koehn Ziemmer and Riley Heidt.
“Last year we were the youngest team in the CHL and now we’re getting a little bit older,” Glover said. “I fit in great last year as one of the younger guys.”
Glover usually plays on the fourth line — his most frequent linemates have been Blake Eastman and Carlin Dezainde — and is expected to bring a lot of energy, forechecking, physicality, speed and positivity to the lineup.
“I expect myself to stay positive,” Glover said. “Trying to keep everyone else positive is easy but keeping myself positive is a little bit harder I think. Other than that, it’s getting pucks deep, getting pucks on net, just keeping my game simple and not trying to do much.”
In 29 games this season playing fourth-line minutes, Glover has a goal, four assists and eight penalty minutes.
A big part of playing in Prince George is the travel from the northern British Columbia city, which is roughly equivalent to living in The Pas in Manitoba.
Their closest game is in Kamloops, a journey of 521 kilometres. It’s an eye opener after playing in Medicine, where the longest trip in the Central Division is a 527-km voyage to Edmonton.
“It’s not even close,” Glover said. “It’s a different world here. Our closest game is seven to eight hours away. (Saturday) night we played in Edmonton and got in at 6:30 in the morning. I just woke up about two hours ago (around 4 p.m. local time).”
When he’s awake on the bus, he often puts headphones on and either listens to music or watches television or movies. He also goes to the back of the bus sometimes, where the seats are turned around and facing each other. That’s where the guys play cards or a game called Mafia.
But getting lots of sleep remains the key, and he has some help in that regard.
“I have amazing rowmates,” Glover said. “There are three in our row and I get three seats and one guy takes one and one guy takes the floor. I kind of get to spread out across all the seats and it’s not as bad as some would think.”
There is certainly a benefit to the move for a Prairie kid, who suddenly finds himself playing in a number of picturesque locations in British Columbia and the United States.
There is certainly lots to look at out the window.
“The cities we get to go to and the places we get to see are, I wouldn’t say a lot nicer, but there is more to see,” Glover said. “Portland, Seattle, Victoria, Kelowna, Vancouver, all those places are so beautiful. It’s nice to see them.”
Of course it’s all business when they arrive.
The Cougars (19-20-4-0) are currently in sixth place in the competitive Western Conference, where five points separate the fourth-place Everett Silvertips from the seventh-place Vancouver Giants.
“We can’t take games off here,” Glover said. “It’s so tight in the Western Conference, every point matters whether it’s OT or a win. We can’t take nights off, that’s how close it is.”
He isn’t taking any courses this year, deciding instead to focus on hockey, but is open to the idea of resuming his studies next season.
Off the ice, he’s also kept busy with the team’s work in Prince George.
“We actually do a lot of stuff in the community, a lot more than I’m used to,” Glover said. “I actually really enjoy that. We do community skates, we go to schools, we do signings after games and all that kind of stuff. The community here is awesome, and the team is super tight knit.
“We’re all very close with each other, which is amazing. It makes playing so much better.”
THIS AND THAT
• QUIZ — Since the 1958-59 season, how many Brandon teams have scored 400 or more goals? And since the Wheat Kings started playing 60 or more games per season in 1965-66, how many teams have given up fewer than 200? Which teams hold the records for most goals scored and fewest allowed?
• WEEKLY AWARDS — Wheat Kings netminder Carson Bjarnason was named goaltender of the week after winning both his starts last week on the road. The 17-year-old Carberry product, who also earned the award in mid-October, stopped 51 of the 53 shots he faced to post a shutout, a 1.00 goals-against average and .964 save percentage. He is the top-ranked North American goalie going into the 2023 National Hockey League draft … Meanwhile, Prince George Cougars forward Koehn Ziemmer was named player of the week after scoring six goals and adding a pair of assists in three games. An 18-year-old product of Mayerthorpe, Alta., the 20th-ranked North American skater was selected fourth overall in the 2019 draft, one pick of Brandon’s Nate Danielson.
• SIN BIN — The Portland Winterhawks were fined $250 for a warmup violation against the Lethbridge on Saturday. On Friday, Calgary Hitmen vice president and governor Mike Moore earned a $500 fine for his actions following a 4-2 loss to Brandon.
• ALUMNI GLANCE — Braylon Shmyr is starring with Herner EV 2007 in Germany’s third-division league, where he has 22 goals and 23 assists in 41 games.
Shmyr, who was drafted 12th overall by Brandon in 2012, spent the full 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons with Brandon, and during the 2015-16 campaign, was part of a massive deal when he was shipped with disgruntled overage defenceman Colton Waltz to the Saskatoon Blades for overage defenceman Mitchell Wheaton, 17-year-old rearguard Schael Higson and the Blades’ second-round pick in the 2017 WHL bantam draft, which turned into defenceman Vinny Iorio.
In 300 WHL games, Shmyr produced 111 goals, 129 assists and 78 penalty minutes. After three seasons in the North American minors mainly spent in the ECHL, the 25-year-old Shmyr headed to Europe beginning in the 2021-22 season.
• THE WEEK AHEAD — In its only action next week, the Wheat Kings visit the Moose Jaw Events Centre to meet the Warriors on Friday at 7 p.m. In addition, Brandon’s top two NHL prospects, Danielson and Bjarnason, will attend the Canadian Hockey League’s top prospects game in Vancouver on Wednesday. Brandon’s next action at Westoba Place is on Tuesday, Jan. 31 when Carberry’s Ben Saunderson, former Wheat King Jake Chiasson and the Saskatoon Blades visit.
• ANSWER — To nobody’s surprise, the Wheat Kings record for most goals came when their legendary 1978-79 team sniped 491 times. The feat of eclipsing 400 goals has only been repeated three other times, 1983-84 (463 goals), 1976-77 (447 goals) and 1977-78 (424 goals). To put those numbers in context — hockey has changed substantially — Brandon’s most recent championships have been a lot less prolific: The 1995-96 Brandon team scored 369 goals and the 2015-16 team scored 319 goals.
The team that allowed the fewest goals is harder to measure. The 1966-67 squad gave up 178 goals in 57 Manitoba Junior Hockey League games, and the 2019-20 team gave up 173 in 63 games in the pandemic-shortened campaign. In 72 games, the record is 187 allowed during the 2002-03 season with Geoff McIntosh and Robert McVicar in net. The 2015-16 team gave up 197, and the 2004-05 team surrendered 199, which are the only others under 200.