Sherwood Park, AB: The Sherwood Park Crusaders have acquired defenceman Juliano Santalucia (01) and forward Jace Benvie (03) from the Blackfalds Bulldogs in exchange for defenceman Tyler Bates (02).
“We are very excited to add both Jace and Juliano to our lineup,” said General Manager Adam Sergerie.
Santalucia joins the Crusaders with 193 junior games under his belt (138 in the AJHL). He’s spent time with Blackfalds, Calgary Canucks, Grande Prairie and Olds in Alberta, and Coquitlam and Surrey in the BCHL. The Burnaby, BC, native has one goal and 10 points this season with the Bulldogs. In total, he’s scored six goals and 40 points.
“Without Juliano (Santalucia) being a part of the deal, we probably don’t make it,” said Sergerie. “We got raving reviews from past coaches on his leadership, and we know that he is going to bring a calming presence to our young core of defenseman. He played a lot of important minutes for Blackfalds this year, and we expect the same thing from him here with the Crusaders.”
Benvie is a Calgary, Alberta native who is in his rookie season. He played his minor hockey with the Calgary Flames with his new Crusader teammates Logan Hauer and Brett Ursulak. In 30 games this season, Benvie scored three goals and seven points for the Bulldogs.
“Jace (Benvie) was a highly touted player with the Calgary Flames U18 AAA and being able to immediately add him to our young core is really exciting,” continued Sergerie “We believe he will add some offense to our lineup and will be a big piece of our future.”
Going the other way is 2002 defenceman, Tyler Bates. Bates was acquired from the Brooks Bandits during the offseason for forwards Liam Hughes (02) and Nolan Wutzke (02). The Calgary native played in 24 games for Sherwood Park, scoring four goals and 12 points.
“We want to wish Tyler all the best moving forward,” said General Manager Adam Sergerie. “Blackfalds made it difficult on us to say no because we value Tyler a lot. Tyler will be missed in the dressing by the players and coaches. He made a big impact in his short time here and we want to wish him all the best moving forward in Blackfalds.”
The Crusaders would like to welcome the Santalucia and Benvie families to the organization, and wish the Bates family all the best in Blackfalds.
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