The Winterhawks have had an eventful week, after wrapping up the Neely Cup festivities, they cut two 1993 born players from their roster in Lukas Walter and Eric Walker. This means that the Hawks currently carry the full allotted amount of 20 year olds (3), though the combination of Defenseman Garrett Haar and Forwards Adam Rossignol and Tayler Thompson, will not likely be the 3 that they carry through the season. Thompson, for one, played last year in the SJHL, compiling only 12 goals and 18 assists as a 19 year old in 45 games. Rossignol was impressive in the Neely Cup, potting a couple goals and playing inspired hockey. He will have to continue playing well at both ends of the ice, to make it onto the team.
Speaking of the Neely Cup, it was won last Sunday by Team Morrow, who bested Team Vernon 7-2 in the championship game. Taylor Leier and Brendan Leipsic scored twice a piece for Team Morrow in the victory.
Portland announced prior to the trip to Everett today, that they have signed ’97 born RW Ethan Price, from Lincoln, Nebraska. This means, the 6’4” 195 lb, 16 year old will be in the lineup for the tourney and more likely than not, be on the Hawks this season. Price, not surprisingly, is supposed to play a physical style of play, throwing around that large frame of his. I am very excited to see him perform in Everett this weekend.
Portland also released a statement to the effect that three ’98 born players: Center Skyler McKenzie, Defenseman Carter Czaikowski and Goaltender Michael Bullion have all been signed to WHL contracts. All of them, since they are 15, are not eligible to play more than a few games this season, but they should all be players we keep an eye out for. Czaikowski was a 6th round pick Bullion was a 9th round pick and McKenzie was an 8th round pick in the 2013 Bantam Draft. Bullion is from Alaska, meaning that with the addition of Price and him, 10 of the 32 Hawks on their current roster are American born. This is further proof the Coach Johnston and the rest of the organization will continue to find American players willing to forgo the college option and sign with a CHL team.
Portland is getting ready to take on the Spokane Chiefs in their first preseason action of the Everett tournament later today. All of these young players recently signed, as well as, new additions: Center Shane McColgan and Defensemen Garrett Haar and Anton Cederholm, will look to prove themselves in their first game action in Winterhawks sweaters. Portland will likely keep many of the younger players in camp, since Leipsic, Leier, Derrick Pouliot and more, will likely head to NHL training camps in the coming weeks.
On a side note, it will definitely be odd to see Spokane without #8 on the blue line (Brenden Kichton). He had played for the Chiefs since 2008.