The three Kootenay Ice overagers have graduated from their careers, but the rookies who donned the blue, black and gold for the first time this year will be back for next year's training camp in August.
Sam Reinhart, Jaedon Descheneau, Jon Martin and Spencer Wand all came into their inaugural season as 16-year-olds, while Mackenzie Skapski, Jeff Hubic, Levi Cable and Mike Simpson were born a year before.
All those players will head to their respective homes to reintegrate back into their school systems and prepare for the next WHL season.
The whole team held exit meetings last Friday, the day after the Edmonton Oil Kings swept the Ice out of the WHL playoffs.
While Chynoweth said he is happy with the way the rookies performed throughout the season, he made sure to send a message to each player before they left.
"The way we finished is totally unacceptable," Chynoweth said. "It isn't acceptable by them as players and by us as an organization. You look at the success of our organization over the last 14 years, that's not how we finish.
"We had an awful month of March and we never got it back on track. All the young guys had good seasons, we're very happy with their development, but moving forward, we just can't have that happen next year because we're going to be such a young team."
The Ice struggled in the second half of the regular season and had their worst slide of the year going into the playoffs, losing their last five games before getting swept by the Oil Kings in four matchups.
Ice head coach Kris Knoblauch agrees, saying the new additions to the Ice roster played well, but added that the way the team finished didn't sit well with management.
"All our young players, especially our rookies, were pleased with their overall progress throughout the season," said Knoblauch. "But the one underlying theme that we wanted them to understand was that exit meetings at the end of March are unacceptable."
The franchise will be leaning on those returning players next year; with eight 19-year-olds heading into their final year of eligibility, the club will likely have a younger squad.
In addition to the rookies returning, other guys like Erik Benoit, Jagger Dirk and Tanner Muth, who are all born in 1993, will be back to take on more prominent roles with the team.
"Overall, personally, I thought I had a pretty good season, but from the team perspective, I know that everyone wanted a little bit more," said Benoit. "There's nothing we can do about that now and we just have to look forward to the next season."
Benoit also added that he knows he'll likely have more responsibilities next year.
"I want to try to lead by example as much as I can," he said. "…We didn't gel as well as we wanted to [this year], and hopefully we can change that in the future."
As for his off-season training, Benoit will put in the usual work to get bigger, faster and stronger, but he also got feedback from Ice management about the mental side of his game.
"I think the most important thing I've got to work on is my mental toughness," Benoit said. "There's times where we were in a pressure situation and I'd crumble down, not bear down and try to take the positives in things, so that's what I've got to work on."
The numbers Sam Reinhart put up during his rookie campaign speaks for itself; the youngest Reinhart scored 28 goals and notched 34 assists for 64 points and played well enough to be the Eastern Conference's nominee for the WHL's Rookie of the Year.
Although it was his first full year in the league, Reinhart had a taste of what to expect, as he joined the club during its playoff run last year and the ensuing trip to the Memorial Cup in Mississauga, Ontario.
"You never know what you're going to expect," Reinhart said. "You're going to face some ups with a lot of downs, especially with your first year in the league, but it definitely went well for me and I'm looking forward to improving on next year."
That experience, coupled with his offensive talent, got him spots on the first and second lines, which came with the responsibility of producing points.
"I think experience from last year definitely helped," said Reinhart, who returned to his hometown of Vancouver. "I didn't play a lot last year but being around the guys during playoffs and the Memorial Cup, that definitely helped me."
Spencer Wand finished his first year with a goal and three assists, and was third on the team for penalty minutes, with 98.
His first season was everything he expected and more, Wand said.
"I expected it to be very challenging. I've got a lot of good things looking forward here coming up to next year. I learned a lot this year, so I'll just take that into next year," he said."…I thought I got a lot calmer with the puck, for sure. I got more confident in practice and games, and I thought I progressed well over the season."