There was plenty of news around the AJHL this past week with a number of notable alumni making the headlines.
We also saw a couple of players head to NCAA Division III school, the Calgary Canucks make a couple of moves, and the Drumheller Dragons move out a veteran defenceman.
Before you catch up on the news, check out our full up to date rosters for the upcoming season here. If you notice any mistakes or see any players that need to be added, please contact us.
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Thomas Commits To Cardinals
Brooks Bandits forward, Trey Thomas has found a new home for the 2020-21 season.
The Williams Lake, BC, native has committed to Plattsburgh State of the State University of New York Athletic Conference in the NCAA Division III.
Thomas played 105 AJHL games over two seasons splitting time between the Bandits and the Bonnyville Pontiacs. He was brought to Alberta from the Salmon Arm Silverbacks by Bonnyville during the 2019 season.
Thomas scored 36 goals and 97 points and had a career season with the Bandits last year scoring 18 goals and 52 points.
He now becomes the 16th player from the 2019-20 Brooks Bandits to commit to a post-secondary.
Bladen Commits To Liberty
Kris Bladen is heading to Liberty University (ACHA) next season after announcing his commitment on Twitter.
He last played in the MJHL for the Waywayseecappo Wolverines who’s associate coach is former Sherwood Park Crusaders’ defenceman, Josh Lee. Before his move to Manitoba, Bladen played in 65 AJHL games over two seasons for three different teams.
The Edmonton native began his junior career with the Spruce Grove Saints where he played 19 games scoring one goal and seven points. In late November, he was moved to the Calgary Mustangs in exchange for Cole Basnett.
Bladen dressed in 31 games for the Mustangs to close out the season and then in five more playoff games against the Camrose Kodiaks. The next season, he joined the Lloydminster Bobcats after the Mustangs folded.
Bladen finished his AJHL career with six goals, 17 points in 65 games played. While in the MJHL, he broke out offensively scoring 17 goals, 25 points in 45 games which helped earn him a spot at Liberty University next season.
Makar Named Calder Trophy Finalist
One of the biggest stars to come from the AJHL, Cale Makar has been named a finalist for the 2020 Calder Trophy after an outstanding rookie campaign with the Colorado Avalanche.
Makar had 12 goals, 50 points in 57 games making him the second-highest scoring rookie behind only Quinn Hughes.
Before heading to the NHL, the Calgary native dressed in 111 games for the Brooks Bandits, Makar was a standout performer every night scoring 35 goals and 135 points during his team in Alberta.
Makar won back-to-back AJHL champions in Brooks beating the Spruce Grove Saints 4-1 in 2016 and then sweeping the Whitecourt Wolverines in 2017.
In 2016, the Bandits lost to the West Kelowna Warriors in the semi-finals but Makar was named the RBC MVP after leading the tournament in points with four goals and seven points. The following year, they made it one step further but again missed out on the championship losing in overtime to the Cobourg Cougars. Once again, Makar was named the RBC MVP.
He went on to represent Team Canada West in his final season in Brooks at the World Junior A Challenge. He won a goal medal and was named to the All-Star team.
At the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, Makar was taken 4th overall by the Colorado Avalanche making him the highest-drafted AJHL player.
Canucks Trade Burns-Marion To SJHL
The Calgary Canucks decided to trade veteran forward Leighton Burns-Marion to the Melfort Mustangs in exchange for future considerations.
Burns-Marion spent two seasons with the Canucks scoring eight goals and 13 points in 92 games.
The move now opens up another 20-year spot for the Canucks with five now on their roster.
Mitchell Signs With Blackhawks
Ian Mitchell has signed his first professional contract with the Chicago Blackhawks. Mitchell was selected in the 2nd round, 57th overall, in the 2017 NHL draft by the Blackhawks.
He spent the past three season at the University of Denver where he dressed in 116 games scoring 18 goals and 89 points. The Calahoo native was named captain for his final year with the Pioneers. Mitchell was also named to the NCAA (NCHC) First All-Star Team and NCAA (West) First All-American Team. He also won gold with Team Canada at the Spengler Cup.
Before his time in Denver, Mitchell played his junior hockey career in Spruce Grove with the Saints. He was with the organization from 2015 to 2017 playing in 109 games (two as an affiliate) scoring 14 goals and 64 points. In his rookie season with the Saints, he was named the AJHL (North) All-Rookie team and won a gold medal with Team Canada White at the U17 World Hockey Championship.
Wolverines Name 2020/21 Coaching Staff
The Whitecourt Wolverines announced their 2020/21 coaching staff before the weekend.
Returning to the team are Shawn Martin (General Manager and Head Coach), Darcy Charrois (Assistant Coach), and Jamie McCaig (Goalie Coach).
The newest addition to the Wolverines bench is Garry Childerhose. Childerhose will be joining as the Associate Coach after spending the past five years in the SJHL. He was most recently with the Kindersley Klippers as their Head Coach.
Canucks Add Local Product
Calgary continues to add local talent as they now welcome Blake Setter to their organization.
Setter played with the Calgary Buffaloes last season on their Midget AAA team. He’s a 2003-forward that is 6’1 and 210 lbs.
Last season, Setter scored ten goals and 23 points for the Buffaloes in 29 games. He also dressed in six games for the Canucks as an affiliate.
Crusaders Alumni Signs In ECHL
For Sherwood Park Crusaders defenceman, Chris McKay has signed his first professional hockey contract with the Toledo Walleye of the ECHL.
McKay played for the Crusaders from 2014 to 2016 dressing in 98 regular-season games, four as an affiliate. In those 98 games, the Edmonton native scored eight goals and 38 points. He also played in 14 playoff games for the Crusaders scoring three goals and five points.
McKay committed to the Rochester Institute of Technology Tigers, NCAA Div. I, and joined them for the 2016-17 season. He spent four seasons with the Tigers and was named an Assistant Captain in year four of his time there. He played in 123 NCAA games for them scoring five goals and 23 points.
Dragons Trade Veteran Defenceman
The Drumheller Dragons have moved 2000-defenceman Jeremie Roy to the Ottawa Jr. Senators in exchange for a player development fee.
Roy played one season in Drumheller dressing in 50 games scoring two goals and 18 points.
The move now opens up another 20-year-old spot for the Dragons who now have four – Aiden Yakimchuk, Shane Ott, Cayden Shmyr, and Andres Bridgewater.