SHERWOOD PARK, AB - The Crusaders are thrilled to announce the signing of eight players to Letters of Intent for the 2018/2019 season. Three forwards, four defensemen and one goaltender make up the Crusaders 18/19 recruiting class.
"We're extremely excited about the players we've been able to add," said Crusaders general manager Kyle Chase. "We feel we've done a good job of recruiting high quality individuals, both on and off the ice. All of these players are fantastic young men and we're excited to see what they bring to the team in the near future."
Joining the club at forward in 2018/2019 are Carter Savoie, Cameron Aucoin, and Blake Sydlowski.
Savoie, an '02 forward, is joining the organization from the NAX MMAAA of the CSSHL.
In his single season with the team, he registered 58 points (20 goals, 38 assists) in 34 games. Those numbers helped him finish fifth in league scoring. In November of last year, Savoie committed to the University of Denver for the 2020-21 season.
“We are ecstatic to have signed such an elite forward in every aspect of the game. His scoring ability, vision, and competitive edge on the ice will be very noticeable for fans to see” said Crusaders head coach Adam Manah. “People won’t believe this kid is only 16 years old. He is a special player and makes players around him better. He’s exactly what we are looking for in our line-up and will be a player to watch for to start next season.”
Aucoin is one name within the forward group that will be familiar to Crusaders fans. The St Albert Raiders product played two games for Sherwood Park in 2018, collecting a single assist on a Deklan Whillans goal in a 5-4 victory over the Canmore Eagles.
Last season with the Midget AAA Raiders, Aucoin finished first in team scoring with 27 points (14 goals, 13 assists) in 34 games.
“Cam is a character kid that brings a ton of speed & energy to his game”, said Manah. “His work ethic stood out for us the past two years we’ve scouted him. He’s a tremendous kid, and we like what he’ll bring to our dressing room.”
Also joining the Crusaders from St Albert Raiders is Blake Sydlowski. Sydlowski plays a physical style of hockey and will bring some needed size to the lineup. In 35 appearances last season, the 6'0, 192 pound forward scored 11 points (seven goals, four assists) and also contributed two points (one goal, one assist) in four postseason games.
“We needed to increase our size down the middle, and Blake provides that for us,” stated Manah on the signing. “He is another character player that we can add to our mix, and what we are continuing to build here.”
On the blueline, four defensemen will be joining the team in Connor Hart, Michael Benning, Kyle Fulton and Trent Campbell.
"We're really excited to have all four of these guys," said Chase. "They'll add a lot to our blue line; frankly, they're four of the best defensemen coming out of midget hockey, so we're obviously extremely excited for them to join the Crusaders."
Benning is the second player to come from the Northern Alberta Elite 15's, joining teammate Carter Savoie in signing a LOI with the Crusaders. The '02 blueliner led the CCSHL E15 in points from a defenseman, picking up 49 points (14 goals, 35 assists) in only 29 games.
"We are extremely excited to have signed a defenseman of Michael’s stature to our program," said coach Manah on the signing. "He is a puck moving, offensive type defenseman who likes to join the rush and be active in the play. That’s what we are continuing to look for in our defenseman. His vision, mobility, and how he can recover so quickly is extremely impressive. It will be exciting to watch him grow as a defenseman as a member of the Crusaders".
Hart, an '01 defenseman, played nine games with the Crusaders last season registering two assists. He has developed in the SSAC MAAA program and finished in the top five in team scoring with 21 points (seven goals, 14 assists) in 33 games.
“He is a defenseman we have been extremely high on since he was 15 years old,” said Adam Manah. “Connor is that complete defenseman you want on your team. He can play in every situation, is a puck mover, and shoots rockets from the blue line. His shot is one of his best weapons. He is only going to continue to grow, and we are very happy he is a Crusader.”
Kyle Fulton is another addition that fans may recognize after suiting up seven times during the 2018 campaign. Fulton is more of a stay-at-home defenseman and takes pride in playing in his own end.
“It’s impressive how sound of a defenseman he is,” said head coach Adam Manah. “He provides depth for us on our back end, and people will start to see how much credit they should give him once they see what he brings to our hockey team on a nightly basis".
Rounding out the Crusaders defensive recruits is '00 born Trent Campbell. The 6'1 defender transitioned from forward to defense last season, and recorded 27 points (13 goals, 14 assists) throughout the regular season. In addition, Campbell put up an impressive 9 points (1 goal, 8 assists) in 11 playoff games for the Pats.
Said Manah on the signing, "Trent is a player that made a transition and switched from being a forward to a defenseman throughout this past season. It quickly paid dividends for him, as he became an offensive juggernaut for the KC Pats, especially when it came to their PP. His vision, and ability to shoot the puck from the point was quite evident when we scouted him. He finished top five in scoring on the Pats last season along with being Top 2 on the back end".
The single goaltender signed to a Letter of Intent is Carter Gylander of the Midget AAA Leduc Oil Kings of the AMHL. In two appearances with the Crusaders last season, Gylander registered a 3.53 GAA and a 0.875 SV%. In addition, the 6'4 goaltender picked up his first AJHL win, making 24 saves and earning the Viterra Star of the Game in a 4-1 Crusaders victory over the Olds Grizzlys on January 26.
"This is the goalie we have wanted to recruit from the get go. Carter brings size, mobility, athleticism, and his ability to swallow up rebounds is outstanding. Every puck that hits him…sticks to him. That’s what we liked most about him. He is a calm goalie in the net, and a game changer in our minds in terms of his ability. He is a very driven kid and is always working on improving his game, so he can be the best out there. We can’t express how happy we are to have him a part of our program moving forward!
"We're happy to have every one of these guys signed with us and committed to the organization, as well as us committing to these players," said Crusaders general manager Kyle Chase. "We're looking forward to getting going with a great group this year; not unlike last year, these guys will step in and be major contributors immediately".
Crusaders fans first chance to see the new recruits in action will be at Crusaders training camp, beginning on August 24th at the Sherwood Park Arena.
For more information on the Crusaders 2018/2019 recruiting class, contact marketing and media director Spencer Love at firstname.lastname@example.org
Story by Liam Horrobin
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