Steven Jandric will start his junior hockey career with the Salmon Arm Silverbacks.
Jandric, a 16-year-old forward who plays for the Cariboo Cougars, has signed with the Silverbacks for the 2014-15 B.C. Hockey League season. Salmon Arm scouted him at the prestigious Mac's tournament, held in Calgary during the Christmas break.
Jandric, a Prince George product, led the Cougars in regular-season scoring with 24 goals and 48 points in 40 games. He finished 16th in scoring in the B.C. Hockey Major Midget League.
The five-foot-eight, 160-pound Jandric has already visited Salmon Arm and had a chance to practice with the team. He will attend training camp next fall and has set a goal of cracking the Silverbacks' roster.
Right now though, his focus is on the first round of the MML playoffs, which, for the Cougars, starts Friday night in Langley against the Valley West Hawks. The teams will play a best-of-three series. Games are also scheduled for Saturday and, if necessary, Sunday.
The third-place Hawks (27-11-2) will enter the series as the favourite. During the regular schedule, they won three of four games against the sixth-place Cougars (17-21-2). The Hawks skated to 3-2, 6-4 and 5-3 victories, while the other game ended in a 1-1 tie.
Other opening-round match-ups will see the first-place Vancouver Northwest Giants take on the eighth-place South Island Royals, the second-place Okanagan Rockets play the seventh-place Fraser Valley Thunderbirds and the fourth-place Greater Vancouver Canadians clash with the fifth-place Vancouver Northeast Chiefs.
The playoff champion will skate against the Alberta winner in a Pacific regional series that will serve as a qualifier for the Telus Cup national midget championship tournament. This year's Telus Cup is April 21-27 in Moose Jaw, Sask.