White Rock captain Chris Fortems won the Pacific Junior Hockey League (PJHL) scoring title with 94 regular season points. "It's pretty crazy to look at my stats," Fortems said of his historic year. | Photo courtesy of David Stevens Photography.
‘C’ Chris Fortems wears the league points crown.
CENTENNIAL ARENA – Whalers captain Chris Fortems wanted to make history on two fronts with three strong periods of play on Feb 12.
First, he could become the Pacific Junior Hockey League’s (PJHL) top scorer; second, he also could establish a new league record for assists.
Fortems's linemate, centre Zach Sherwin, finished second in PJHL scoring with 90 points. | Photo courtesy of David Stevens Photography.
He only had one game left to accomplish these remarkable feats. During that regular-season finale – an 8-3 victory over the Aldergrove Kodiaks – Fortems notched two goals and one assist.
Therefore, the 20-year-old captain succeeded on the first front: the PJHL scoring crown.
‘Pretty crazy’ stats
He finished the 2022-2023 regular season with a red-hot 19 goals and 75 assists for a total of 94 points. Linemate Zach Sherwin finished second in the league with 90 points.
Unfortunately, Fortems just missed out on the second front – the league assists record – since the talented winger ended two helpers behind the standard of 77 assists.
From his first Jr. ‘B’ game to now, his fourth and final season – Fortems has been Mr. Dependable when it comes to lighting the lamp. He consistently causes havoc from the blueline in and uses his tremendous skating to pressure opposing defencemen for turnovers.
Chris Fortems after he recorded his 50th PJHL goal. His Whaler record of 231 career points (as of Feb. 14) will probably stand for years to come.
The captain also plays the point on the powerplay for more chances to score.
“It’s pretty crazy to look at my stats,” Fortems acknowledged. “I don’t think I would have been able to do it” without linemates centre Zach Sherwin and winger “Big Goal” Cole Svendson.
White Rock head coach Jason Rogers called Fortems a “wonderful captain.”
Rogers pointed out the 20-year-old’s on-ice intelligence and leadership inside the dressing room for maturation into a “first-class human being and a heck of a hockey player.”
Before the opening face-off on Feb. 12, the eight 20-year-old Whalers were saluted by the Centennial faithful. In junior hockey, young men cannot play after the age of 20.
The eight graduates were: Braydon Clark; David Moody; Jacob Dorohoy; Cam Newson; Cole Svendson; alternate captains Bryce Margetson; Zach Sherwin; and captain Chris Fortems.
Playoffs to come
The Whalers will face off against the Richmond Sockeyes next week in the postseason. We’ll have a playoff preview and game schedule posted soon!
“A bit of a theme with us – an inability to kind of keep our emotions at an even keel,” White Rock head coach Jason Rogers commented. He said that the coaching staff would continue to address the concern.
With six minutes left in the third period, Pilot Connor Jarvis cut the Pod’s lead to 3-2. Thankfully, Cole Svendson again earned his nickname with an insurance goal before the last minute of play.
Playoffs, here we come!
As of press time on Jan. 23, the Whalers have officially clinched a playoff spot for a chance to skate with the Ray Stonehouse Cup.
White Rock has a record of 23 wins, 15 losses and two shoot-out losses for 48 points. They currently sit third in the six-team Tom Shaw Conference.
The Whalers are 10 points behind the second seed, the Delta Ice Hawks and one point ahead of the fourth-seeded Grandview Steelers.
Long-standing volunteer Charlie Gregor presents Braydon with his #42 jersey.
42 Braydon Clark | He recently joined the Whalers at the trade deadline. Braydon played with the Western Hockey League’s Prince Albert Raiders and the BCHL’s Merritt Centennials.
Veteran volunteer Rainer Schuessler presents Davey with his #9 Jersey.
9 Davey Moody | The epitome of hard work and an experienced penalty killer who provides a much-needed spark for his teammates game after game.
The newest volunteer, Landon Wolbaum presents Jacob with his #18 Jersey.
18 Jacob Dorohoy | A gritty two-way forward and a vocal leader on the ice. During his two seasons with the Pod and last year’s playoff run, Jacob scored 37 goals and 22 assists.
The Whalers first volunteer, Lou Fuchs presents Cam with his #21 Jersey.
21 Cam Newson | An original Whaler from the expansion 2018 season. He returned to the Pod after enrolling in university. The veteran defenceman has 11 goals and 31 assists during his four years.
Volunteer Charlie Gregor presents "Big Goal" Cole with his #62 Jersey.
62 Cole Svendson | “Big Goal” Cole has been a dominant offensive presence since his first day as a Whaler and does his talking on the scoresheet with 82 goals and 46 assists in his four seasons, including playoffs.
Volunteer Landon Wolbaum presents his favourite player Bryce Margetson with his #7 Jersey.
7 Bryce Margetson | An original Whaler from the inaugural 2018 season. A defensive stalwart, he has scored 22 goals and 62 assists with the Pod.
Volunteer Rainer Schuessler presents Zach with his #16 Jersey.
16 Zach Sherwin | He has played four seasons for the Pod. Zach has had a breakout offensive year – ranked second in league scoring 69 goals and 90 assists.
Volunteer Lou Fuchs presents the Whalers Captain Chris Fortems with his #19 Jersey.
19 Chris Fortems | White Rock captain has been Mr. Dependable in lighting the lamp. The 22/23 PJHL leader in scoring has a career total of 59 goals and 172 assists (231 points including playoffs) with the Pod.
POST GAME AUDIO with Coach Rogers and Chris Fortems
"You can't say enough about Chris. He stepped up to the challenge of taking a leadership role as captain," head coach Jason Rogers said of Chris Fortems.
Live Audio with Coach Rogers
David Moody and Travis Smythe are just "huge guys on the PK that give us energy," Whalers captain Chris Fortems said of the Pod's unsung heroes.