In the summer of 2013, Caedan Bankier and Logan Stankoven were two
10-year-olds competing for a spot at the Brick Invitational. After starting
out in different tryout groups, they both made the team and soon found
themselves flying to Edmonton and Los Angeles to represent their province.
“I played against him lots growing up in spring hockey, we were like six,
seven, eight, but I never got to know [Bankier],” Stankoven says. “We had
team practices together and that’s when I first really got to know Banks
“It was just an instant connection,” Bankier adds. “We spent a lot of time
together and just had similar interests.”
After the tournament, they kept in touch, reuniting in other spring
tournaments and with Team B.C. at the 2019 Canada Winter Games. They were
both selected by the Kamloops Blazers in the 2018 WHL Prospects Draft;
Stankoven was chosen fifth overall by his hometown team and Bankier, a
Surrey, B.C., product, went 49th overall.
“I was super excited,” Bankier says of being drafted with Stankoven. “[It]
made the whole process a whole lot easier for me going in with somebody you
know… [it] makes the experience all that more enjoyable too.”
Bankier and Stankoven were two of three 16-year-olds that were included on
the Blazers’ roster for the 2018-19 season. From there, the forwards worked
their way up to becoming the team’s leading scorers, with Stankoven
recording 17 goals and 44 points and Bankier notching 20 goals and 33
points so far this season.
Not only has their scoring made an impact on the Blazers, so has their
leadership. Stankoven was named an alternate captain with Kamloops for the
2020-21 season, became a co-captain in 2021-22 and wears the ‘C’ this year.
Bankier is active in the Blazers’ leadership group as well, serving as an
alternate captain for the past two seasons.
“We want it to be an enjoyable and awesome experience to play in Kamloops
and we just try and make it feel like that wherever we go,” Bankier says.
The friendship continued to grow off the ice too—from playing video games
(the NHL series and Fortnite are games of choice) to Bankier moving into
Stankoven’s family home for a month during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The word was early January, maybe [they’d] start back up the season again,
so Banks wanted to come to Kamloops and train with a few of us,” Stankoven
“It was hard for me to find training in Vancouver, so I asked him if I
could live with him for a little bit before the season started and he said
yes,” Bankier adds. “We had an off day […] and we decided to go on an
outdoor rink just to skate around. We were pretty fortunate we were the
only ones out there and we still had the whole day left. So, Stanks decided
to book us a tee time on a golf course afterwards.”
“It was a crazy day,” Stankoven says. “It’s not too often that you go
golfing and then you’ll go skate on an outdoor pond on the same day in the
middle of December.”
When Stankoven attended selection camp last year ahead of the 2022 IIHF
World Junior Championship, he had teammate Dylan Garand by his side, who
had previously competed in the 2021 World Juniors. This year, the roles
reversed: Stankoven is coming off a gold medal performance in August while
Bankier attended his first Team Canada camp.
“It’s nice to have somebody that you go through this whole process with.
It’s not easy,” Stankoven says. “It’s stressful being a guy that was trying
to fight for a spot on the team, and with me going through it last year, I
was able to help Banks this year.”
“On the plane ride, I think I asked him a million questions about what his
experience was like and just what to expect for me,” Bankier adds. “Going
in last year, he just worked his way onto the team and that was my goal
this year: to work my way on. I tried to replicate everything he did last
year and that way, we could experience this event again together.”
After a strong showing at selection camp, the two friends waited to hear if
they would be taking the ice together wearing the Maple Leaf.
“He’s had a real nice season with our team back in Kamloops,” Stankoven
says of Bankier. “He went out there in two games [against a team of U
SPORTS all-stars] and had a goal and a couple assists and looked really
good. [I was] just proud of him as a friend.”
“I couldn’t believe it,” Bankier says about making Canada’s National Junior Team. “First, I got a knock on the door, and it was the [housekeeping]
service… I had so many emotions running through my head. Obviously, a bit
later I got a knock on the door and there was the assistant coach and the
camera out there.
“You watch those videos on social media from years past with guys. For you
to be the one in the video, I can’t even describe it. It’s a lifelong
From tournament teammates to Blazers leaders, the duo are ready to embrace
the international stage together as they compete in Halifax at the 2023 World Juniors.
“Very few get to experience the World Juniors, but only a handful get to do
it with their best friends,” Bankier says. “I’m pretty lucky and I’m really
looking forward to it.”
“We’ve created some good memories over the years,” Stankoven says. “I think
having a crack at this tournament together is something that I think is
going to really pay off in the long run with our team hosting the Memorial
Cup. Hopefully [we] win a gold medal here and take this experience back to
our team and have a good rest of the season.”