The Sherwood Park Crusaders have filled a couple of holes in their d-core by acquiring Brendan Kallis from Steinbach of the MJHL and Kole Bryks from Melville of the SJHL.
The 20-year-old Kallis has played over 100 games between the AJHL & SJHL, most recently with the Grande Prairie Storm and should bring a strong veteran presence a team that has lost their share of impact defenders this offseason. Same for Bryks who not only brings Junior A experience, but he’s also suited up for the Vancouver Giants playing in 4 games.
The team knew that Ben Sowa and Chase Torontow wouldn’t be back as they had graduated, also, Koletrane Wilson was headed to the WHL to play in Lethbridge. During the offseason, they also lost Cam Reagan (USHL), Brett Roberts (KIJHL) and Jacob Thomas (retirement).
Kyle Chase added Tyler Pang earlier in the offseason and at the time it looked like they may have a solid core. A few decisions didn’t go the Crusaders way and they were left with a shell of a blueline. But give credit to management, adding Kallis and Bryks gives this team a respectable core of defenders.
Kallis is a bigger defender, coming in at 6’2 and pushing 200 pounds, who plays a responsible game in his own end which is something a young team like the Cru will value. He has some offensive touch, putting up 22 points last year in GP, which is a number I believe can still increase with a little more 5v4 time and better zone starts.
“I’m thrilled to be a Crusader. They are a class organization and the opportunity to play with some of their young talent excites me,” said Kallis when asked for his reaction to the deal.
This is also a bit of a homecoming for Kallis who is from St. Albert, and also is a return to the Crusaders organization. He played one game with the team back in the 2013-14 season, that game was also his AJHL debut. Between then and now he’s had stops in Drayton Valley (AJHL), Lloydminster (AJHL), Nipawin (SJHL) and then last year in Grande Prairie.
As for Bryks, he played 47 games in Melville over the past 2 seasons notching just 7 points. That’s hardly a knock on the Sturgeon County product, who stresses play in his own end and provides a physical presence that the Crusaders will benefit from.
I spoke to Kole after the trade and he mentioned that he’s looking forward to kicking off the season. Bryks is the type of guy who wants to impact the game in every aspect.
“I’m a big strong d-man who can be a presence at both ends of the ice. Good puck mover and great team guy.” he also stressed that he’s always willing to protect his teammates.
Could we be seeing these two on a pairing in the future? It’s entirely possible. They spent all 3 of their midget seasons together in St. Albert and Kallis is excited by the opportunity to be reunited.
“We have some good chemistry from Midget, Kole will be a good player for us this season” Kallis added.
One day changes a lot, and Kyle Chase has completely changed the look of this defensive core with a pair of solid moves. If you want to hear thoughts on the offseason from the GM himself, you can listen to last weeks Inside The Cru.
You can also expect to hear from the two newest Crusaders during the next two installments of Inside The Cru!