It turns out there will be a Junior A hockey team playing in Bremerton next season after all.
It’s just not the West Sound Warriors.
The Western States Hockey League announced new management as the West Sound Admirals will replace the former Warriors and join the Northwest Division for the 2018-19 season. The Admirals will play home games at the Bremerton Ice Center.
The Warriors announced two weeks ago they would not be in operation next season, leaving a void at the ice arena for the first time since the franchise moved from Tacoma to Bremerton in 2004. The Warriors had finished their first season in the WSHL by advancing to the playoffs and had a 29-21-1 record.
The WSHL officially made the announcement on Monday, and the team will continue to play in the same division as the Seattle Totems, Bellingham Blazers, Southern Oregon Spartans and Lake Tahoe Icemen.
General manager David Daniello will lead the Admirals. Daniello served as head coach and general manager of the Vancouver Rangers for the 2015-17 seasons, taking the team to the playoffs both seasons.
“I am very excited for the Admirals to be joining the WSHL,” Daniello said in a press release from the WSHL. “Bremerton will be a terrific place to showcase our team to the Bremerton fans and the other teams in the league, and I am so excited of the team to become a positive influence on that community.”
Daniello continued by thanking WSHL commissioner Ron White and Seattle owner Mike Murphy for “helping to make this a reality, and I look forward to the Admirals being a competitive team the will bring a fun hockey experience to the fans in Bremerton.”
Daniello has already started recruiting and signed three players so far including Kyle Chambers, a 6-foot-1, 175-pound defenseman who played for the Midget AA Portland Junior Winterhawks last season.
“Kyle is a player I have watched for a couple years,” Daniello said. “He has leadership skills and is a solid defenseman. I believe, once he adapts to the junior game he will be an asset on defense. I am very happy to have Kyle with us for this season.”
Chambers is just as pleased to sign with West Sound.
“I am very excited about my signing with the Admirals,” Chambers said in the release. “It’s a dream come true to play junior hockey. I can’t wait to lace ‘em up!”
The Admirals also inked Houlton, Maine’s Brandon Dunn and Coby Bruton of Vancouver, Wash.
Dunn, 5-10, 185, just completed his high school career and is someone Daniello has known for some time and had the opportunity to coach in the past.
“He is dedicated, extremely hard-working and is one of those high character players every team is looking for,” Daniello said. “I am very excited to have Brandon as an Admiral.”
“My whole life I’ve had a dream of playing this caliber of hockey,” Dunn said in a press release Friday. “I was lucky enough to link up with a coach (Daniello) a long time ago that made a promise that he would help me out in this situation. With him taking over this new team, my dream was granted.”
Bruton is a former Vancouver Ranger and at 5-11, 185 pounds will bring size and a work ethic to the Admirals, Daniello said.
“I am very happy to have Coby as an Admiral,” Daniello said. “He is a very hard-working player. He is committed, loyal and coachable. It’s my pleasure to give him an opportunity to wear the navy blue and gold.”
Bruton signed with the Admirals when he heard the team was accepted into the league.
“It has been one of my dreams to play junior hockey,” he said. “I’m looking forward to taking my game to the next level, both mentally and physically. I’m excited to be an Admiral!”
Any players who are interested in playing for the Admirals can contact the team at firstname.lastname@example.org or 207-542-7899, or by completing the player prospect information at www.wsadmirals.com.