FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Smoke Eaters sign Joel Barton and Chris Kobelka for the 2021-22 season.
Trail, British Columbia (January 20th, 2021) – The Trail Smoke Eaters are excited to announce the first two recruits for the 2021-22 season in Joel Barton out of the Okanagan Hockey Academy (OHA) and Christopher Kobelka from the Edge Hockey School in Calgary.
Smoke Eaters fans will recognize the name Barton, as Joel Barton is the younger brother of Smoke Eaters alumni Seth Barton who played for the Smoke Eaters during the 2017/18 season. (Joel) Barton, from Kelowna, BC, is a right shot defenceman who played OHA U18 hockey last year on the same team as current Smoke Eater Connor Michaud. Barton was fifth in team scoring with 3 goals and 14 assists in 36 games. In limited game time this season playing U18, the 17-year-old has one goal and three assists in nine games.
“I am excited for the opportunity to play for the Trail Smoke Eaters. Trail has consistently checked all the boxes for an amazing hockey club. The hockey history, the culture, the team ownership, the coaching group, the facilities, the city, and the fan support…amazing! Thank you to OHA and my family for getting me here. I look forward to wearing the black and orange and doing my part to contribute to the ongoing success of the Smoke Eaters organization” – Joel Barton.
Kobelka, a left shot defenceman from Calgary, Alberta, has been a member of the Edge hockey school for multiple years. During the 2019-2020 season Kobelka had 5 goals and 18 assists from the blueline. The year prior in a mix of Elite 15’s and U17 hockey the now 17-year-old had 30 points in 36 games. This year Kobelka is playing U18 Prep hockey with the Edge program and in just three games he’s tallied four assists.
“When choosing where I wanted to play junior I wanted to find a place that would allow me to develop individually as a player and more importantly compete for a championship. After spending a month in Trail, training and skating with the team earlier this year I realized that it was the perfect place to accomplish both. I am incredibly excited to get things underway in Trail next season, and look forward to getting to play in a packed Cominco arena.” – Chris Kobelka.
“Joel is a mature individual that skates well and plays a consistent and steady game making him a reliable defenceman. Chris is currently the team captain with his Edge team, he is a mobile puck moving defenceman that plays with intensity and has strong leadership qualities. We are excited to add young men to our team and community for next season!” – HC&GM Tim Fragle
The Smoke Eaters would like to welcome Chris and Joel to the Smoke Eaters organization and we look forward to seeing them suit up in the fall!