Howse joins Kings as scout

Ryan Howse is returning to his junior hockey roots.

The 24-year-old was named to the scouting staff of the Prince George Spruce Kings on Monday. He first toiled with the Kings as a 15-year-old during the 2006-07 B.C. Hockey League season and was a member of the team that hosted the Royal Bank Cup.

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After a successful 2006-07 season with the Cariboo Cougars in the B.C. Hockey Major Midget League, Howse went on to a stellar career with the Western Hockey League's Chilliwack Bruins. He had a 51-goal, 32-assist season in 2010-11.

Howse was drafted by the Calgary Flames in the third round, 74th overall in the 2009 NHL draft.

After two seasons in the American Hockey League, Howse returned home to Prince George and turned his attention toward coaching. As a result of a successful 2014-15 season behind the bench with the bantam Tier 2 Cougars, he was named Prince George Minor Hockey Rep Coach of the Year.

This season he'll guide the midget Tier 1 Cougars.

"(With the midgets), he's going to do some traveling and will see teams while at tournaments," said Spruce Kings general manager Mike Hawes. "He'll be a regional scout focusing on the northern part of the province and he'll see a lot of different teams in the province."

Over the years, Hawes and Howse kept in touch and Howse was a coach with the Kings during the team's spring prospects camp.

"The feedback we received from parents on the teams was terrific," said Hawes. "He's cut out for it (coaching). It's always good when you can add a tremendous, young and talented hockey mind to your staff."

Howse is currently working alongside Spruce Kings head coach Chad van Diemen and assistant coach Adam Maglio for the next three weeks during the Kings hockey school at the Coliseum.

Van Diemen joined the club in April after spending the last six years as associate head coach and assistant general manager of the Powell River Kings.

During the summer, he relocated to Prince George with his young family.

Spruce Kings fans will see some new faces on the team as half of the roster has been turned over.

The coaching staff is allowed to be on the ice with the players for a pre-training camp from Aug. 14-20, thanks to a new BCHL rule. The team's official camp begins Aug. 24, with intrasquad games Aug. 25, 26, and 27.

The Kings will play their first exhibition games in a home-and-home series against Merritt on Friday, Aug. 28 with a 7 p.m. faceoff at the Coliseum.

They're in Merritt the following night.

Exhibition games follow on Sept. 1 in Grande Prairie, Sept. 4 against Vernon at the Coliseum and Sept. 5 in Vernon.

The regular season begins Sept. 11 when the Kings host the expansion Wenatchee Wild.

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