Tuesday July 29, 2014

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Bruins bidding for Western Canadians

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The Estevan Bruins are one of three SJHL teams vying to host the Crescent Point Energy Western Canada Cup in the spring of 2016.

The league announced at the annual general meeting in Nipawin in early June that Estevan, the Melville Millionaires and the Yorkton Terriers are interested in hosting the tournament, which will boast the league champions from the four western Canadian junior A leagues, as well as the host team.

The tournament's top two teams will advance to the Royal Bank Cup.

Saskatchewan hosts the tournament once every four years.

Teams will submit bids early in the fall, and the nine other SJHL will determine which team will host the event.

Also at the annual meeting, the format for the 2014-15 season was decided. There will be three divisions: Sherwood, Kramer and Viterra. Estevan will remain in the Viterra, with Yorkton, Melville and the Weyburn Red Wings.

Teams will once again play a 56-game schedule, and the playoff format will remain the same. The three division champions, and the fourth, fifth and sixth place teams, will receive byes to the quarter-finals. The next four teams will be involved in best-of-five wildcard series.

The 11th and 12th place teams will miss the playoffs.  

The official schedule will be released in early July.

Other highlights from the annual meeting were:

*The two-referee system will be employed in at least 65 per cent of regular season games, and all playoff games.

*The La Ronge Ice Wolves are studying the feasibility of playing their home games on the Lac La Ronge Indian Band’s property.

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In Bruin news, the club has commitments from two more prospects: left winger Joey Ogden and goaltender Tyler Gutenberg.

Ogden hails from Highland, Michigan, and comes to the Bruins from the Detroit Honeybaked program. Last season he was second for the Honeybaked under-18 club with 23 points in 26 games. He was also a top scorer in the High Performance Hockey League.

He was among the American players who skated at the Bruins' spring camp in April.

"He is a skilled left winger that will add some offensive punch to our talented young forward group," said Bruins head coach/GM Chris Lewgood. "Kids out of that program come with a high level of skill and are generally in tune with the complete 200-foot game."

Guttenberg is a former Estevan resident who now resides in Brandon. He spent three years with the Brandon Midget AAA Wheat Kings, and was among the Manitoba Midget AAA league leaders in wins and goals against average last season.

"We are very excited to have Tyler Gutenberg joining our club," said Lewgood. "Last year we were lucky to have a really solid back up in goal with Brett Lewchuk. With him taking the reigns as our starter we thought it was important to maintain the quality 1-2 punch that we had last year."

The Bruins previously secured commitments from forward Chase McKersie, and defencemen Joshua Rieger and Cody Durdle. 


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