Minto alum Ferster excited to take the ice at Memorial Cup with Kamloops Blazers

Submitted photo. Ashton Ferster (pictured) will suit up for the Kamloops Blazers at the 2023 Memorial Cup beginning Friday

When hockey fans from Prince Albert tune into the first game of the Memorial Cup on Friday night, there will be a familiar name taking the ice for the Kamloops Blazers.

Shellbrook product Ashton Ferster spent parts of three seasons with the Prince Albert Mintos recording 23 goals and 29 assists in 74 games.

Ferster says he is excited to participate in the Memorial Cup.

“It’s going to be a lot of fun. It’s going to be some really good hockey; really high pace physical is what it’s going to be like. Playoff hockey again. I kind of miss the fans. After the playoffs, (we have) another chance to play in front of them, so it’s going to be very loud. It’s going to be a great time.”

Ferster was selected in the fourth round of the 2018 WHL Prospects Draft by the Medicine Hat Tigers and spent parts of two seasons donning the black and orange. He recorded nine goals and 10 assists in 76 games as a Tiger.

In September, Medicine Hat traded Ferster to the Kamloops Blazers in exchange for a conditional 8th round pick in the 2025 WHL Prospects Draft.

Ferster says he was excited to arrive in Kamloops knowing of the opportunity to play in the Memorial Cup.

“When you first get traded, you realize that the team that traded for you is hosting the Mem Cup. It’s an opportunity and you give them everything you have got. You do everything you can to make it past that trade deadline because you just never know. And once we move past that and you just get ready for the playoffs. We were trying not to look too far ahead to the Cup, even though we had a bye.”

One change that fans will notice from the regular WHL season is all players wearing neck guards. Neck guards are mandatory by rule throughout minor hockey and in both the OHL and QMJHL but are optional in the WHL.

Ferster says he has gotten used to the change throughout practice with the Blazers.

“When we were told that we had to wear them, an awful lot of us weren’t thrilled because they’re kind of uncomfortable and you don’t wear them the whole year. It’s kind of changed, but we’ve been wearing them in practice here the last week or so, so we’ve been getting used to them and now I don’t really notice them.”

Ferster also has several family members making the journey of over 1,300 kilometres to Kamloops to watch him play in the Memorial Cup live in-person.

“It’s going to be awesome.” He says. “It’s a once in a lifetime chance. And to have them out here with me, it’s going to make it that much more special, having them in the crowd. So, I hope it all goes well.”

Ferster will not be the only Minto alumni with the Blazers during the tournament. Ashton Tait was recalled by Kamloops after the conclusion of the Mintos season, but did not appear in a single playoff game for the Blazers.

Kamloops begins the 2023 Memorial Cup on Friday night when they take on the QMJHL champion Quebec Remparts. Puck drops from the Sandman Centre at 6 p.m. Pacific.