Forbes commits to SAIT

Great news this morning as Dillon Forbes has officially committed to the SAIT Trojans.

This announcement certainly is not a surprise as Forbes has plenty to offer at the next level. After a 3 year career with the North Stars Forbes has developed into a well rounded D-man. As an 18 year old he was a stay at home presence on one of Canada’s top teams. The Stars lost in the north final to Humboldt that year and the Broncos went on to win the SJHL title and finish 3rd at the RBC Cup as hosts.

This past season the Stars rallied to win the Kramer Division and the 20 year defenseman was a huge part of that turn around. When he turned his game around and settled in a little bit the Stars took off. Early in the year Dillon took a few too many penalties. The team was also taking too many penalties. As a leader Forbes stepped up to play a more calm and steady game and the team followed suit.

He’s also incredibly tough as well. Seeing the way he played in the playoffs this year when he was injured was inspirational. Coach Atcheynum said he didn’t think any other player in junior hockey would have played through that kind of pain and been that effective.

Never one to shy away from work has made Forbes into a great player. He’s big and strong and has now added offense to his game as well. His work on the power play this past season was built around his effort to improve as a player. That bodes well for his future and for the SAIT Trojans. He’s also a good kid with a great sense of humour.

As for SAIT? It’s a great school that will give Forbes a chance to get a great education. And he will get to play in a very competitive league on one of the ACAC’s top teams. SAIT is the defending champion of the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference and with Forbes coming on board the Trojans will continue to be a top team.

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The Stars also added a couple of players to their protected list. For more check out http://www.northstars.ca

Futures announced in Blair trade

The Battlefords North Stars and Flin Flon Bombers announced over the weekend the future considerations from the Cam Blair trade. The North Stars are sending 17 year old defenseman Braden Lacoursiere and 16 year old prospect Brandon Lesko to the Bombers. In exchange the North Stars also pick up Carson and Dawson Boehm.

Lacoursiere is the big piece in this trade outside of the principle at the time it was announced, Blair and Austin Evans. Lacoursiere is a strong and steady young D-man. A right hand shot with some offensive upside Lacoursiere looks poised to be one of the SJHL best all around defensemen in the coming years. He’s also a great kid off the ice and always willing to get involved in the community. It was a little surprising to me that Lacoursiere was involved in the trade. But Cam Blair was the most sought after forward in the league at the trade deadline and the North Stars had to give up a lot to get him. You can see now why the Bombers were willing to do this deal. They also land Lesko a 16 year old forward from Hafford. Lesko had 26 points as a rookie with the AAA Stars this past season. Lesko is a prospect with the WHL’s Calgary Hitmen.

The North Stars also pick up a couple prospects in the deal. Both were at Spring Camp. 15 year old D man Dawson Boehm and 18 year old forward Carson Boehm. Carson had 11 goals in 44 games with Beardey’s this past season.

So the final trade is Austin Evans, Braden Lacoursiere and Brandon Lesko to Flin Flon in exchange for Cam Blair, Carson Boehm and Dawson Boehm.

With the piece they acquired from the Brett Boehm, Devin Buffalo and Dillon McCombie trades this season the Bombers look to be one of the top young teams in the SJHL heading into the up coming season.

As for the North Stars? They obviously feel that defense is a position of strength from which to deal. With returning players like Charleson, Fransoo, Yew and Erickson the North Stars do have depth on the back end. They also have prospects on the horizon including the likes of Saskatoon Contact Connor Sych and potentially former AAA Star Alex Pernitsky.

Lacoursiere will be missed though. The Unity native is a dedicated player with a great attitude and a bright future. He and his family were fantastic to me all season. I wish Lacoursiere all the best in Flin Flon.

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The North Stars also announced over the weekend that they have retained goalie coach Travis Harrington for the 2014-15 season. Harrington is one of the top goalie coaches in Saskatchewan and helped both Michael Gudmandson and Darren Martin this past season. Gudmandson was named the SJHL’s MVP and Martin was one of the league’s top rookies. With Martin entering his 19 year old season and looking to take over as the team’s number 1 goalie his work with Harrington will be important. Harrington and Martin have worked together since Darren was in midget and they have a very good working relationship which should help Martin develop further. Overall the North Stars goalies will be better for having Harrington in the fold.

North Stars losing a key piece

The Battlefords North Stars are now searching for a key piece of their staff. Athletic Therapist Michelle Beatty has decided to move on after 2 seasons with the team.

Michelle is a highly qualified and hard working A.T. who will be missed. Replacing the legendary Dale Jackson was never going to be easy but Michelle fit right in with the team and helped usher in a new era. Having a full time athletic therapist helped make the North Stars a more professional organization. It was just another piece in the puzzle that has helped make the Stars one of the top teams in the SJHL.

I wish Michelle the best in the future as she progresses in her field.

So now the team will have to replace Beatty. A job posting is up on the North Stars website if you would like more information.

http://www.northstars.ca/news_article/show/385524?referrer_id=618157

It is a demanding but ultimately very rewarding position with a first class organization. I am sure the North Stars will receive an avalanche of applications.

 

Gudmandson up for National MVP Award

The CJHL announced the finalists for the National MVP award over the weekend. Amongst the six names on the list is North Stars goalie Michael Gudmandson. Goody has already claimed several MVP honours so far after his extraordinary 2013-14 season.

The North Stars started the season 4-12-0-1 before getting rolling with a couple wins down south early in November. Gudmandson then showed up and posted a 20-3-0-1 record the rest of the way to help the Stars grab the Kramer Division title. In terms of the value part of the MVP award it is tough to argue with the Stars tender. He has already claimed team, Kramer Division and SJHL most valuable player honours.

So now Gudmandson will take his sparkling stats and numerous awards to the national level. There are six finalists for the award including Landon Smith of the BCHL’s Salmon Arm Silverbacks, his team didn’t make the playoffs in BC, and Try Phillips of the Canmore Eagles. Gudmadson is the only goalie on the list of finalists and Phillips is the only D man. The rest are forwards. Andy Sturtz of the Carleton Place Canadians is the only finalist that is still playing. His team has qualified for the RBC Cup.

And so Sturtz will be there when the award is handed out this week just prior to the RBC Cup in Vernon which gets underway on Saturday.

Congratulations to all the finalists and best of luck to Gudmandson as he looks to wrap up his junior career with one more MVP award!