SHERWOOD PARK, AB – Newly christened general manager Kyle Chase was a busy man over the 2016 summer, doing whatever he could to bring victory to the Crusaders. One of his first major deals came on August 20th when he brought in future fan favourite Tanner Younghans. Coming over from their southern rivals the Camrose Kodiaks, Younghans joined the Crusaders following his best junior year, scoring 19 goals and 32 points in 56 games.
“Getting traded to (the Crusaders) was an easy transition”, Younghans said. “I was very excited when I heard I was getting traded to Sherwood Park; I knew guys from before and I knew it would be an easy group of guys to get along with.”
His Crusaders career started off tremendously for him after being named an assistant captain to longtime Crusader Ben Sowa. Younghans new teammates Tyler Maltby, Darcy Zaharichuk, and Ben McLeod would join him in wearing the A on their jersey for the 2017 season.
It didn’t take Tanner long to register his first point for the Cru. In only his second game, Younghans helped out on the Alex Rotundo goal against the Spruce Grove Saints. The Cru ended up winning that game 5-3 which was a big bounce back victory after they were thumped 6-0 in the season opener by the Saints.
The next game, Younghans opened up his goal-scoring account against the Lloydminster Bobcats with not one, but two goals! Younghans first two Crusaders tally’s certainly wouldn’t be the last, however, as he finished the season with 24 goals; a career high for him. Of the 24 goals, seven of them ended up being game winners for the Cru and helped Younghans finish second in the league in that category.
As previously stated, Younghans became a fan favourite due to the passion he brought every night on the ice. His willingness to do the little things on the ice endeared himself to fans and teammates alike; it could never be said about Younghans that he took a shift off. He was not only a presence on the ice but off the ice, too, partaking in Crusaders community events such as the season ticket deliveries, New Year's Eve festivities, and helping out the kids at Halloween. Perhaps the best example of Younghans character was shown during the Crusaders Fan Appreciation Month, where he collaborated with Crusaders sponsors DK Lok to donate his third jersey to long time Crusaders fan (and Younghans superfan) Roman Lozowy
“I think (Tanner) may be the perfect example of what Kyle was looking for over the summer when he said we were looking for quality people,” said marketing director of the Crusaders, Spencer Love. “First, it’s obvious that Tanner can play hockey, I don’t think anyone can deny that. What really struck me is what a great guy he was to everyone in the organization; every single one of our volunteers noticed that he would go out of his way to say hello to everyone when he came in, or would take the time to have a conversation with you even on the day of a game. I know how much stuff like that means to them. There’s no doubt in my mind that he’ll succeed at any level he gets to.”
Younghans finished up his first and only season in Sherwood Park with 49 points in 56 games. His hard work was rewarded in February when he committed to the NAIT Ooks hockey program in Edmonton.
Tanner will be missed by the Crusaders next season but what he did for the organization will not be forgotten. We wish him all the luck in the world for the future and hope to see him around the arena more often than not.
– Story by Liam Horrobin