Recent recruits added to the Huskies men’s hockey team lineup heading into the new Canadian Interuniversity Sport season may give the squad the firepower and muscle needed to seriously contend in Canada West.
Most of the Huskies recruits hail from every corner of Saskatchewan and include forwards Brennan Bosch, Andrew Bailey, Kyle Bortis, Kyle Ross and Brendan Dowd, as well as defensemen Cody Hobbs, Brett Ward, Ilan Cumberbirch and Brett McCullough. The Huskies also acquired ex-Regina Pats goaltender David Reekie in the off-season.
Eight of these 10 recruits are recent recipients of WHL graduation diplomas and are in the midst of promising careers. For most of the new Huskies acquisitions, the transition to CIS competition means coming back to the prairies and finding solace in competing close to home again.
Huskies head coach Dave Adolph is pleased so many of the recruits have chosen to return home to pursue their athletic careers.
“Our goal and purpose all along here at the University of Saskatchewan has been to create an environment that encourages kids to come home to Saskatchewan once they are finished their junior careers,” said Adolph. “The Western Hockey League and Junior A programs in Western Canada really give their graduates an opportunity to pursue a post-secondary education.”
Brennan Bosch, who grew up in Martensville, is a dangerously talented forward and one of the recruits looking to make his mark in CIS this year.
“I’ll be able to get the family and friends to watch the games here in Saskatoon. It’s been a while since we’ve been able to do that,” said Bosch as he reminisced about returning to the prairies to lace his skates up again. “It’s kind of exciting to come back and all the Saskatchewan boys are back home. We all get to play on the same team again.”
Bosch, clearly enthused about being able to compete close to his roots once more, spoke of the prominence of the Huskies hockey program at the university.
“It’s a good, rich tradition and I’m happy to be a part of it. As far as this year goes, I want to come in and do whatever I can to help the team win and continue the tradition while making a stamp for my name in the league.”
I want to come in and do whatever I can to help the team win and continue the tradition while making a stamp for my name in the league.”
“It’s a little different,” said the 5-8, 168-pound centre, speaking on his shift from the WHL to CIS. “It’s going to be tough. With the schedule there are less games, you’re on the ice a lot more with practices while balancing it with school. The level is real high out here though. There are a lot guys out here of who have been playing in the WHL and who were really good players in the WHL.”
Bosch’s hockey resumÃ© is quite impressive. A recent WHL graduate, the 21-year-old spent four years and his entire WHL career in Medicine Hat, racking up 73 goals and 118 assists from 2005 to 2009. Aside from putting up consistently solid numbers in the WHL, Bosch’s career is notable because in 2007 he scored the game seven, double overtime-winning goal for the Medicine Hat Tigers to secure the WHL championship.
“It was a pretty unbelievable feeling. It was obviously the biggest highlight of my career,” said Bosch, reliving the electric moment. “That whole year was such a fun experience and we had so many good players. Guys worked so hard to get to the finals and it could have gone either way in that game seven. The rink was pumping in overtime and to score the winning goal in overtime was pretty exciting and is something I’ll remember forever.”
Bosch’s role, not only as a goal scorer but as a leader and team player, will be as precious to the Huskies as the miniature containers of Axe body spray handed out on the first day of classes are for freshman engineers. Aside from winning his team a championship, Bosch received the prestigious Sportsmanlike Player award at the 2007 Memorial Cup.
Bosch and Huskies will open the 2009-10 Canada West season on the road on Oct. 2 against the Manitoba Bison and return home to Rutherford Rink Oct. 16 to face off with their provincial foes, the University of Regina Cougars.