Eagles”™ roster begins to take shape
The Canmore Eagles have trimmed their roster but still have some key decisions to make as the start of the Alberta Junior Hockey League season looms.
With a week to go before they begin their 60-game regular season, the Eagles are down to 25 players with 15 of those carrying the rookie label. Following an attempt at an abbreviated 2020-21 season that was aborted due to Covid-19 all 16 teams will feature their fair share of first-year junior A players.
Canmore opened its training camp on Aug 31, and following a few intense days of on-ice sessions split their exhibition, double date with the Whitecourt Wolverines, losing 4-3 on Monday, Sept. 6 and winning 4-0 on Tuesday, Sept. 7. The Eagles head to Olds tonight (Friday, Sept. 10, 7 p.m. at the Sportsplex) to take on the Grizzlys in their final pre-season game.
The Canmore roster announced today features goaltenders Devin Chapman (with AJHL totals of 35 games played ““ 3.08 goals-against average — .881 save percentage) and Andrei Proctor-Ramirez (7GP-2.49GAA-.929s/pct).
The 19-year-old (2002-born) Proctor-Ramirez is still technically a rookie with seven games coming over four AJHL seasons with the Lloydminster Bobcats, Spruce Grove Saints and Canmore. He was an Under-18 AAA (formerly major midget) star with the St. Albert Raiders in the 2019-20 season, posting a 1.25 GAA and a .950 s/pct. in 19 appearances.
The defence includes three veterans in Zachary Cunningham (100 games played ““ 8 goals ““ 15 assists ““ 80 penalties in minutes), Drae Gardiner (45GP-3G-17A-73PIM) and Cale Lyons (43GP-0G-7A-39PIM). Joining the blue-line corps are four rookies in 2004-born Dylan Bidyk (out of the Calgary Flames minor hockey organization), 2003-born Nathan Ellis (International Hockey Academy ““ Calgary), 2004-born Emanuel Hudson (Southern Alberta Hockey Academy ““ Dunmore) and 2002-born Borys Protsenko (junior B with Revelstoke and Sicamous).
There are just six returning forwards and only three featured in training camp: Carter Myrol (58GP-11G-6A-18PIM), Lane Paddison (38GP-6G-17A-18PIM), Isaac Suppin (2GP-0G-1A-2PIM) and Mitchell Watson (106GP-14G-29A-54PIM).
Fellow veteran forwards Tye Carriere (8GP-1G-2A-4PM) and Ethan Schaeffer (49GP-16G-17a-24PIM) missed training camp due to injuries. Schaeffer is expected to take his first game-time shifts tonight. There is no timeline for the return of Carriere.
The rookie forwards are led by 2002-born Kyle Young (Calgary Royals), the younger brother of Colton and Alex, who both starred for the Eagles before graduating to Colgate University (Hamilton, N.Y.) and NCAA Div. 1 hockey.
Also making it are a trio of hometown rookies in 2003-born Nathan Ellis (IHA””Calgary), 2004-born Owen Jones (Airdrie CFR Bisons) and 2003-born Maguire Smyth (Red Deer Chiefs). While Banff is represented on the Eagles by 2003-born Max Monette (Edge School ““ Cochrane).
Other rookie forwards include 2002-born Riley Dekowny (Swift Current Legionnaires), Sam McPeak (Okanagan Hockey Academy ““ Edmonton) and Kayden Smith (Calgary Flames).
The Eagles”™ roster also includes two players currently at major junior training camps: 2005-born Ethan Neutens (Edge) with the Kelowna Rockets and 2006-born Nathan Pillling (Calgary Flames) with the Moose Jaw Warriors.
Meanwhile, 2003-born rookie Jack McKeown (Calgary Northstars) missed training camp due to injury with no timeline on when he will be able to join the team.
The team does have one major player dilemma as it prepares for the start of the season with eight 2001-born players on the roster: Carriere, Chapman, Cunningham, Gardiner, Lyons, Paddison, Schaeffer and Watson. AJHL rules allow for only six 20-year-old players to dress for a game.
Canmore begins its 60-game regular season on Friday, Sept. 17 when they head back to Olds (Sportsplex, 7 p.m.). When the season opens, the Eagles will be without their General Manager/ Head Coach Andrew Milne, who starts serving a 15-game suspension.
The league imposed the ban last spring following Milne”™s comments to the media after he and more than half his team”™s players were diagnosed with Covid-19.
Bossing the bench in Milne”™s absence will be new assistant coach Bryan Arneson and director of skill development and also a newly named assistant Kyle McLaughlin.
The Eagles”™ home opener is the following night ““ Saturday, Sept. 18 ““ when they host the Calgary Canucks at the Recreation Centre. Game time is 7 p.m.