Roster Challenge: Defensive Nominees

We are on the hunt to find out who our fans think our best players have been from the past 20 years. Fans can select two goaltenders, six defensemen and 12 forwards from a pool of 50 players. Once the votes have been counted, the final roster will be announced.

Vote Here:

Michael Benning

Michael Benning is an alumnus fresh in the minds of Crusaders fans. Benning was with the Crusaders from 2018 to 2020 and played a pivotal part in their run to the North Division final and becoming the #1 in the CJHL. He played in 114 games and scored 136 points, the most by a defenceman in franchise history. Benning’s 75 points last season were the most by a defenceman in the AJHL since Dennis Cesana for the Brooks Bandits in 2018. The St Albert native was a member of Team AJHL, played in the JCWC in Russia and played at the World Junior A Challenge for Team Canada West. At the end of the 2020 season, Benning was named both the AJHL’s Most Outstanding Defenceman and the CJHL Top Defenceman. He was also voted into the AJHL All-League team. Benning currently plays for the University of Denver Pioneers.

Calvin Brown

Calvin Brown was one of the most dominating offensive defenseman during his four-year stint in Sherwood Park. Brown played in 232 games – the third-most in franchise history – scoring 27 goals and 126 points. Those 126 points trail only Michael Benning on the Crusaders all-time list for points by a defenceman. In 2003, Brown was named the AJHL’s Most Outstanding Defenceman after scoring 15 goals and 48 points in 63 games which helped the Crusaders finish with a 43-13-8 record and first in the North Division. After his time in Sherwood Park was over, Brown spent two years with NAIT in the ACAC.

Trevor Conrad

From 2006 to 2010, Trevor Conrad was a consistent and reliable player for the Crusaders. He dressed in 216 games which is the 5th most by a defenceman in team history. Conrad wasn’t known as an offensive guy but was a steady blueliner who  you could use in critical times. After his three years in Sherwood Park were over, Conrad went to the NCAA for a short stint with the University of Alabama-Huntsville. The following season he joined NAIT of the ACAC for two seasons.

Marshall Donald

Marshall Donald spent three seasons in Sherwood Park before finishing off his junior career in the WHL. Donald played 146 games for the Crusaders and scored 57 points and 11 goals. Those 57 points rank 18th in franchise history. Donald was fantastic for the Crusaders in the postseason scoring 10 points in 18 postseason games, the 4th most points by a defenceman in team history.

Bryan Frost

Since 2000, no Crusaders defenceman has played more regular-season games than Bryan Frost. From 2007 to 2011, Frost lined up on the Sherwood Park blueline 225 times, scoring five goals and 59 points. He was a consistent and reliable player for the Crusaders for years and, in his final year, he showed off his offensive abilities. He dressed in 57 games in 2011 and put together a three-goal and 29 point season. Overall, Frost sits 5th all-time on the franchise record list for games played.

Josh Healey

Josh Healey joined the Crusaders in 2012 from the South Side Athletic Club. In his first season, Healey went on to play in 47 games on the blue line and scored 12 points. The next season, he was named an Assistant Captain and played in 53 games scoring 23 points. Healey was better known for being a tough physical player, in those 100 games he managed to accumulate 187 penalty minutes. He took that toughness to the NCAA level where he spent four years with Ohio State University. Healey is now playing at the professional level with the Milwaukee Admirals of the AHL.

Nick Holden

Nick Holden is the lone player on this list to play a National Hockey League game. He’s currently entering his third season with the Las Vegas Golden Knights. Holden has 496 NHL games to his name along with 295 in the AHL. He played for the Crusaders back in 2006. Holden only played for a brief period playing in 28 games scoring two goals and 17 points before heading to the WHL.

Reid Irwin

Reid Irwin was brought over from the Lloydminster Bobcats at the 2019 AJHL deadline. He brought an immediate impact to the Crusaders blueline with his elite level of skating and offensive abilities. Irwin rounded out his first year in Sherwood Park with three goals and 22 points in 21 games and scored the game-winner in game one of the North Division finals against Spruce Grove. The following season, he followed it up with more impressive numbers scoring eight goals and 35 points. Irwin is currently with the University of Denver Pioneers in the NCAA.

Tyler Jette

Tyler Jette captained the Crusaders to a historic season in 2019. The Farmington, Minnesota native helped Sherwood Park finish with 44 wins which was a franchise record. Jette dressed in 66 games for the Crusaders scoring nine goals and 44 points. He’s now with the Lakehead University Thunderwolves of the CIS.

Josh Lee

From 2007 to 2011, Josh Lee was a member of the Sherwood Park Crusaders blueline. During his time with the Crusaders, Lee dressed in 210 games before being moved to Fort McMurray for a short stint in his 20-year-old season. In those 210 games, he scored 34 goals and 119 points which are the fourth-most in franchise history. Lee is now the Assistant General Manager and Coach of the Waywayseecappo Wolverines.

Brett Magee

Brett Magee was the captain of your 2016 Sherwood Park Crusaders. He led by example that year, hitting a career-high in games played, goals and points. Magee played in 144 games for Sherwood Park and 28 playoff games. He’s currently with the MacEwan University Griffins in the CIS. Magee also spent two years with NAIT before transferring last season to the Griffins.

Tim Maxwell

Tim Maxwell was one of the stars from the early 2000s. In his rookie season in 2002, Maxwell scored five goals and 30 points followed by back-to-back 47 point seasons. He’s still currently a top 30 scoring defenceman in league history. After his time in Sherwood Park, he spent his collegiate career with the University of Maine and Bowling Green State University. Maxwell also went on to play pro for the Utah Grizzlies in the ECHL and then over in Europe for Valerenga and the Fife Flyers.

Chris McKay

Chris McKay spent two seasons in Sherwood Park before heading to the NCAA to play for the RIT Tigers. McKay dressed in just shy of 100 games for the Crusaders scoring eight goals and 38 points. He saved his best season for last hitting a career-high 30 points and seven goals in 54 games. After spending four seasons at RIT, McKay recently signed for the Toledo Walleye of the ECHL.

Ben McLeod

Ben McLeod was known for being one of the heaviest hitters in the AJHL during his time. The 6’4 190 lbs defenceman wasn’t afraid to throw everything he had physically at his opponents, making him a fan favourite. He was never going to blow you away with his offensive capabilities, but his defensive play made him one of the league’s best defensemen. In his final season in Sherwood Park, McLeod hit a career-high in points of 20 and scored the crucial opening goal against Grande Prairie in a must-win game four. He finished his junior career with 143 games played, five goals, and 42 points.

Blair Mulder

Blair Mulder spent three seasons with the Crusaders, and in his final year in 2013, he was named an assistant captain. In his early junior days, Mulder played eight games for the Fort McMurray Oil Barons but then went on to play 151 games for Sherwood Park over three seasons. He wasn’t known as an offensive guy, but in his second season, Mulder scored 20 points in 53 games which was a career-high. He finished his junior career with 13 goals and 43 points. Mulder spent his collegiate career with Red Deer College of the ACAC.

D’Lane Sather

Until Michael Benning came around, D’Lane Sather held the record for most points in one season by a Crusaders defenceman. In 2010, Sather put together a 51 point season that broke Jeff Ewasko’s record set in 1996. Sather finished his AJHL career with 217 games played and scored 24 goals and 106 points. Following his junior career, he spent four seasons with Neumann University in the NCAA Division III.

Mark Smith

Mark Smith was a four year Crusader back in the early 2000s. He scored 107 points for Sherwood Park in 238 games which is the most games ever by a Crusaders defenceman and second overall. He spent four years with the University of Alaska-Anchorage in the NCAA before spending a professional career in the United Kingdom. Smith played 252 games in the EIHL with Edinburgh, Cardiff and Coventry. He spent his final year as a pro in Swindon in the EIPHL. Smith was the director of player development with the Cardiff Fire and had a brief stint as their head coach.

Ben Sowa

It wasn’t too long ago that Ben Sowa skated around the Sherwood Park Arena with the green Crusaders “C” on his chest. Sowa was with the Crusaders from 2013 to 2016 and played in 209 games for the organization. He had a standout season in 2016 when he was named captain of the team. The Edmonton native then scored 11 goals and 43 points which was a career-high for him. He finished his junior career with 32 goals (4th all-time) and 103 points (7th all-time). Sowa is currently with the Concordia University Thunder of the ACAC where he has spent the previous three seasons.

Dane Phaneuf

Since he joined the Crusaders in 2012, nobody has accumulated more penalty minutes than Dane Phaneuf who had 499. He was a tough player to go up against and left it out there every night for the Crusaders. Phaneuf was also a very offensively skilled blueline and displayed that often over his 165 games with Sherwood Park. The Edmonton native scored 16 goals and 73 points. He finished with back-to-back 31 point seasons and had 12 points in 30 playoff games. After his time in Sherwood Park was over, Phaneuf spent one year with the University of Windsor.

Chase Torontow

Chase Torontow was with the Crusaders from 2013 to 2017 and played in 214 games. He finished his junior career with 12 goals and 80 points which are 10th all-time in franchise history. Torontow’s performances over his four years in Sherwood Park earned him a scholarship to UNLV of the ACHA where he spent two seasons.