TISDALE — The Tisdale Trojans expect to ice a skilled, young team packed with character next season.
After winning the bronze medals at the Telus Cup national midget AAA hockey championships last season, the squad expects to return only a handful of players. Various members of last year’s squad had aged out or have earned an opportunity at the next level. In their stead comes a talented, youthful crew.
“We believe we have a quality group of players lined up for this season. Not only are they skilled hockey players, they are leaders too,” Trojans general manager Cole Simpson said.
The Trojans have released the commitment of 12 new players. Tisdale head coach Dennis Kubat said he has received great reviews about them from all the coaches he has talked about - and not just about them as players.
“The best thing is their work ethic and they are great character kids … Obviously you want the best players, but there is more to the best players than what he does on the ice,” Kubat said.
“What I’ve heard off the ice about these guys off the ice is what I’m almost as excited about as what they can do on. If they are going to work hard and they are going to put the time in, they are going to get better.”
Kubat and Simpson took over their roles from Darrell Mann in May. Simpson said the duo was fortunate to be stepping into a situation where much of the recruiting for next season has been completed.
“Darrell Mann has always had an amazing ability to recruit good hockey players and we are lucky to be reaping the benefits of his hard work. Darrell’s commitment to the program and passion for the game was the heart of the Trojans’ organization for many years and we certainly have some big shoes to fill.”
Simpson also said, “there are still spots that need to be filled and we are looking forward to the challenge of finding the perfect pieces of the puzzle.”
The incoming group includes the previously announced Tisdale duo of Nicholas Andrusiak and Drayton Hvidston. Both suited up as affiliated players for the Trojans last season.
Other commitments include Lanigan’s Kylynn Olafson, who was picked in the seventh round this spring by the Edmonton Oil Kings in the Western Hockey League Bantam Draft and sixth overall by the Flin Flon Bombers in its Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League counterpart. He captained the bantam AA Humboldt Broncos last season. The forward posted 17 goals and 36 points in 26 regular season games.
Cole Tanchuk is another Trojans commitment drafted by both a major junior and junior A team. The Prince Albert defenceman was selected in the firth round of the WHL draft by Seattle and the second round of the SJHL draft by the Bombers. He had 34 points and nine goals in 30 games last winter for his hometown Pirates bantam AA team.
Forward Carter Briltz was selected by Weyburn in the second round of the SJHL draft and in the fifth round of the WHL event by Victoria. The Regina product scored 27 goals and recorded 51 points and 42 penalty minutes in 30 games for the bantam AA Aces last season.
Jordan Normand was the seventh overall selection in the 2019 SJHL draft by the Humboldt Broncos. The Warman product played bantam AA at home for the Wildcats. He scored 20 goals and recorded 44 points in 31 games.
Rosetown’s Kayden Ostrom, a forward, tallied 30 points in 31 games for the West Central Wheat Kings last winter. He was selected in the SJHL’s second round, 20th overall, by the Broncos.
In addition to talented young rookies, the Trojans have also added some experience. Star City’s Ryan Donald played the last two seasons against the Trojans as a member of the Yorkton Maulers. Last season the 17-year-old defenceman had four goals, 12 points, and 60 penalty minutes in 41 games.
Keagon Little will join the Trojans for his 16-year-old season. The Wymark product was tabbed in the 2018 SJHL draft by the Humboldt Broncos. Playing last season for Caronport’s Prairie Hockey Academy, the talented playmaker led the Canadian School Sport Varsity Hockey League with 42 assists in 24 games. Little also had 15 goals.
The Trojans have also signed his teammate Noah Willis of Swift Current. A fourth-round pick in 2018 of Weyburn, Willis paced the CSSVHL in points with 59 in 24 games. He scored 24 goals.
With Tanner Martin and Bryson Garton both aging out, the Tisdale team is seeking goaltenders to step up. After playing two seasons for the Trojans’ foes, the Battlefords Stars, Carter Serhyenko will join the team. The Saskatoon product had a 3.72 goals against average last season. The Trojans have also inked 16-year-old Hunter Lolacher from Pilot Butte. Lolacher had a 3.30 goals against average for the Prairie Storm midget team last season.