The Bisons have announced five recruits who, when combined with last year's red shirt and post-Christmas acquisitions, cover most of the team's pressing needs for the upcoming season. Of the eight players profiled, seven are from every corner of Sunny Manitoba. One more solid major junior goal-scorer would be nice! Here are the details:
Brady Pouteau - D - Regina Pats (WHL)
Pouteau fits what was once the prototype for a Bison recruit: A local boy (from Oak Bank, BTW) who went off to play in the WHL, wore a letter, and is coming back home to go to school. He is 6'3" and 203 lbs and plays some physical D. That was one big item on the Bison shopping list. He played five years in the Dub, in Regina, Lethbridge, and back to Regina for their Memorial Cup run. Of great local interest is that the Pats gave him the Rick Rypien Memorial Award. Rypien was the captain of the Pats and, though undrafted, was recruited to the Manitoba Moose where he established himself as a legit prospect and was offered a 2-way deal by the Vancouver Canucks. When the Jets were revived, he was signed by the team but unfortunately took his own life whilst suffering from depression before training camp.
➤ GoBisons.ca: Bisons recruit Oak Bluff native Brady Pouteau for the 2019-20 season
➤ ChrisD.ca: Bisons Sign Former Regina Pats Defenceman Brady Pouteau
➤ Regina Leader-Post: Pats playing for pride on final weekend of season
➤ Elite Prospects: Brady Pouteau Career Stats
Riley Lamb - G - Swift Current Broncos (WHL)
Lamb, from Rivers, is coming home. He finished his WHL career with Swift Current, but started with Red Deer. He had two years with Red Deer (2016-17 and 2017-18) before heading to the SJHL in 2018-19 for his "overage" year. After stints in Weyburn and Yorkton, he was added by Swift Current for their late-season drive. His numbers are solid (just over .900 save % the last three years). After the departure of the three goaltenders the Herd has had in recent years (Byron Spriggs, Justin Paulic, and Dasan Sydora) they needed somebody to partner with last year's redshirt, Tyler Brown (also a WHL grad). I expect them to add a local recruit from the MJHL or even MMJHL to act as a #3.
➤ GoBisons.ca: Bisons add veteran goaltender Riley Lamb for the 2019-20 season
➤ WHL: Broncos clarify crease, sign overager Lamb to WHL Standard Player Agreement
➤ CHL: Rebels’ Riley Lamb named Vaughn CHL Goaltender of the Week (2018)
➤ Swift Current: Page of Video Links
➤ Elite Prospects: Riley Lamb Career Stats
Matthew Stanley - D - Swift Current Broncos (WHL), Jacksonville Icemen (ECHL)
Stanley is from Balmoral and is another sizeable country boy on D, just what the Bisons need. In 2015-16 he started his career with Steinbach in the MJHL. He then spent three seasons in the WHL, from Swift Current to Lethbridge then back again. Last year was his "overage" year and Swift Current picked him up after Lethbridge let him go. He also had a cup-of-coffee with Jacksonville at the end of 2019. If only they had fighting in the CW! The Bisons have more than their share of capable pugilists.
➤ GoBisons.ca: Bisons recruit WHL defenceman Matthew Stanley for the 2019-20 season
➤ YouTube: Matthew Stanley vs Tristyn DeRoose Mar 7, 2018
➤ Lethbridge: Hurricanes Waive Stanley
➤ Swift Current: Broncos welcome back pair of familiar faces
➤ Elite Prospects: Matthew Stanley Career Stats
Tony Apetagon - F - Winnipeg Blues / OCN Blizzard (MJHL)
Brian Harris - F - Swan Valley Stampeders (MJHL) / Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL)
The Bisons had a joint press release for these two MJHL forwards.
Apetagon is a 6'2" forward from Norway House. It is tough to come up through the ranks up north. Distances are long and travel is rough. In 2016-17 he started with the OCN Storm (Junior B), then in 2017-18 he went to the OCN Blizzard (Junior A). Last year he was OCN's captain but was traded to the Blues late for their playoff run. He finished 3rd in league scoring (29-45-74 in 59 games) and was on the 1st all-star team. He was also OCN's captain.
Harris is a 6' 1" forward from Wawanesa. He helped lead Swan within a game of their first-ever MJHL title. Last year he was 16-36-52 in 59 regular season games, and 4-11-15 in 17 playoff games. The linked YouTube video shows he can throw 'em like a good old Manitoba boy!
➤ GoBisons.ca: Bisons recruit local talent in Tony Apetagon and Brian Harris for 2019-20 season
➤ ChrisD.ca: Bisons Stay Local in Latest Pair of Hockey Recruits
➤ Elite Prospects: Tony Apetagon Career Stats : Brian Harris Career Stats
➤ Winnipeg Blues: Apetagon's Player Card
➤ MJHL: Apetagon expected to boost the Blues’ scoring attack
➤ Swan Valley: Former Stampeder Brian Harris Found A Home In The WHL
➤ YouTube: Brian Harris vs Ty Ettinger Jan 9, 2018
In addition to the five recruits, the Bisons have a redshirt and two post-Christmas recruits of note from 2018-19.
Tyler Brown - G - Saskatoon Blades (WHL)
Last year Brown was a redshirt after having surgery in the off-season. Reports at the time had him coming to the team in the new year, but that never happened.
➤ Eliteprospects.com: Tyler Brown Career Stats
➤ WHL: Tyler Brown Player Page
Ryan Carlson - D - Wisconsin-Superior Yellowjackets (NCAA) / Steinbach Pistons (MJHL)
Carlson is a Minnesota boy but played three seasons for Steinbach in the MJHL from 2014-15 to 2016-17. He then played a season and a half down south before transferring at Christmas last year. He is 6'3" but not very physical. He does handle the puck well, though. He was one of those guys who was better than expected. He was on the NCAA Scholastic Honour (or Honor as they say) Roll!
➤ Eliteprospects.com: Ryan Carlson
➤ MJHL: Former Pistons Defender Carlson Commits to University of Wisconsin Superior
Colton Veloso - F - Jacksonville Icemen (ECHL)/Kootenay Ice (WHL)
Veloso is a Winnipeg boy who left Steinbach and went far west to play for the Portland Winterhawks in the WHL in 2015. He wound up his WHL career with the Kootenay Ice (now the Winnipeg Ice), where he scored 25 goals in 2017-18. He went to play for the Jacksonville Icemen at the end of the 2018 season and then in 2018-19 he played until Christmas. He then came to the Bisons so he could cash in his WHL scholarships. He posted stats of 2-5-7 in 12 games.
➤ Eliteprospects.com: Colton Veloso
➤ Game On: Winnipeg's Colton Veloso to Attend Manitoba Moose Camp (2018)
➤ WHL: Player Page
➤ Steinbach: Former Pistons forwards sign in ECHL (2018)
➤ Jacksonville: Pair of Rookie Forwards Join Icemen
The Winnipeg Ice of the WHL will play their first two seasons at the Wayne Fleming Arena whilst their new arena is being built about a 15-20 minute drive from the U of M. We knew that renovations would be coming but the place is in for a massive face-lift. Highlights are:
- increased capacity from 1,400 to 1,600, with a balcony on the east side;
- party lounges are being installed;
- upgraded concessions;
- VIP lounge;
- video scoreboard;
- miscellaneous improvements to the media area, glass, boards, safety netting, dressing rooms, etc.
Here are some artist renderings:
To orient yourself on the pictures, the seating is in a "C" shape, going behind both nets and on one side (the one with the penalty box). The nets are at the north and south ends and the seats are on the west side. The player benches are on the east side. The new loges are going on the east side.
➤ WHL: 50 Below Sports + Entertainment announces upgrades to Wayne Fleming Arena
➤ ChrisD.ca: Winnipeg Ice Spending $1.2M on Upgrades to Wayne Fleming Arena
➤ Winnipeg Sun: FRIESEN: Ice pretty themselves up for Winnipeg debut
➤ CJOB/Global: Moore’s Morning Sports Briefing for Friday, May 10
Two new teams will be joining the CW in 2020-21. The Trinity Western Spartans will join from the BCIHL and the MacEwan Griffins will join from the ACAC.
This will bring the CW up to 10 teams. However, the downside is that unless new schools join, the BCIHL will be down to four teams and the ACAC down to seven. So, seen globally, this would not improve the status of university/college hockey very much.
However, there are rumours of significance coming from UQAM, of all places. They have never had a team before. They have a million dollar donation from the Molson's! Maybe the other UQ's can also have teams. UQTR has a new logo. Maybe UQAC can come back!
Holy Trinity was a founding member of the BCIHL in 2005, operating a team known as the "Titans". In 2010-11 the hockey team was elevated to varsity status, and adopted the "Spartans" moniker, as used for their other varsity teams. They have finished first and won the playoffs in each of the last two seasons. They last an exhibition game to UBC 6-2 last September. Jeff Gamache (AD) had this to say in the link:
“I could not be happier for (TWU men’s hockey head coach) Barret Kropf, as without his dedication to hockey in general at TWU and his leadership and ability to build a team of people around both our men’s and women’s programs, this day would not be possible. We can now say with great certainty that TWU will be home to the leading Christian hockey program in the world. I have no doubt we will have players from literally all over the globe who want to join Spartan hockey because it will provide elite hockey players a place to explore what it means to be a follower of Jesus and a godly Christian leader. We understand how unique this opportunity is and we are excited to see many more young women and men use their God-given hockey talent on a team that loves each other and competes shoulder to shoulder in such a unique way within the hockey world.”
I suspect that TWU will be able to recruit on a continent-wide basis, which might compensate for them being at a disadvantage against UBC and other CW schools due to their strict code of conduct.
The Peter Griffins had a prolonged period of mediocrity in the ACAC (5 straight seasons of quarter-final eliminations preceded by 3 straight years out of the playoffs), however they have now won three titles in a row. In all three seasons they finished second to NAIT in the regular season before rallying in the playoffs. MacEwan has only just begun to add non-conference games with the CW to their schedule. This contrasts to NAIT, who have loads of games every year against CW and NCAA teams, both inside and outside Alberta. Last year they were hammered twice by the Bedrock Dinosaurs, 6-2 and 9-0.
➤ CW: New sport applications approved for TWU, MacEwan, UFV
➤ TWU: SPARTANS JOIN CANADA WEST IN MEN’S & WOMEN’S HOCKEY
➤ UBC 6 TWU 2: SPARTANS LOSE TO UBC IN HARD-FOUGHT CAPTAINS CUP CONTEST
➤ MacEwan: MacEwan hockey programs accepted into Canada West conference, starting in 2020-21
➤ MacEwan: Three latest recruits - Gable, Miller and Harris - bring tons of championship, leadership experience
➤ MacEwan: Quickly back to work after third-straight title, Griffins add talented new recruits Taupert, Chalifoux
➤ UQAM: Towards the creation of a hockey team at UQAM
➤ Quartierlibre.ca (translated): One million dollars for hockey at UQAM
The CW is getting a Hall of Fame!
➤ CW: Canada West launches Hall of Fame
➤ UofM (rp): Canada West launches hall of fame