PHOTO: Reid Wilson (L) and Mackenzie Watson (R) joined the Eagles at Friday's practice and will play this weekend during the team's northern road trip.
NEXT HOME GAME: CALGARY CANUCKS ON TUESDAY, DECEMBER 9 – 7 PM
The Canmore Eagles have added two new players to their roster and both players are expected to be in the lineup when the Eagles travel north this weekend to play the Grande Prairie Storm (11-21-0) on Saturday night and the Sherwood Park Crusaders (18-13-3) on Sunday afternoon.
Joining the club for their first Eagle practice on Friday morning were 20-year-old forward Reid Wilson and 19-year-old defenceman Mackenzie Watson.
Both Wilson and Mackenzie bring plenty of Alberta Junior Hockey experience with them to the Eagles hockey club, a team that has struggled with injuries and currently find themselves with a disappointing 13-16-1 record at the half-way point of the AJHL season.
Wilson, a Banff native, has played 72 Alberta Junior Hockey League games for the Olds Grizzlys over the past two seasons registering two goals and two assists, while accumulating 98 penalty minutes.
“Wilson brings experience and character to our hockey club,” said Eagles Head Coach and General Manager Andrew Milne of the 6’1, 182 lb. Banff Academy graduate. “He is a solid teammate that competes hard on every shift and does a lot of little things very well.”
Mackenzie, a graduate of the Calgary Royals AAA Midget program, has played 68 AJHL games over the past year and a half while playing for the Fort McMurray Oil Barons, Calgary Canucks and Camrose Kodiaks.
“Mackenzie is a guy who skates well and can play in all situations,” said Milne of the 5'11, 196 lb. defender. “He should bring a calming influence to our backend and lessen the heavy load that some of our d-men have experienced lately.
“We didn’t make any major trades at the December 1 AJHL deadline because we firmly believe that we already have the players in our dressing room to make a good run in the second half of the season,” said Milne, whose club has been hurt by some major injuries to top-end defencemen Jakob Lavoie and Nikolas Kosman thus far. “We have a solid group of players here and when we get healthy, I think we can compete with any other AJHL team. The addition of Wilson and Mackenzie should give our dressing room some added depth and experience going forward.”
NOTEBOOK: The Eagles will play this weekend without the services of three of their top players as captain Connor Wilson, forward Ryley Risling and d-man Griffin Mumby will all be in Calgary attending the tryout camp for Team Canada West for the upcoming World Junior A Hockey Championship tournament. . .. Eagle rookie goaltender Levi Nelson, who has been out of the lineup since suffering a leg injury on October 25, was back at practice this week and may see some action this weekend. In his absence, Ryan Ferguson has started the past 13 games straight. . . Also skating at practice this week was forward Brett Radford who has missed the past two games with a lower body injury . . . Defenceman Lavoie, who has not played since October 24, and Kosman (out since November 19) are still out with longer term injuries, while fellow d-man Brett Schimmel will not play this weekend due to lingering concunsion symptoms. . . The Eagles have seven games left in the month of December before enjoying a two week Christmas break from December 21 to January 2.