David Zammit

WHL players head to Manitoba’s top junior league


The Western Hockey League announced last week that it has granted temporary transfers to WHL roster players. This means players could join Junior A, Junior B, and U-18 teams to continue their development through December 20.

Players would, at that point, return to their respective WHL teams ahead of the new season which is slated to begin on January 8.

“This is an opportunity for WHL roster players to continue their development by playing hockey at a competitive level,” stated WHL Commissioner Ron Robison in a release on whl.ca. “We felt it was very important to accommodate the requests of WHL roster players to play competitive hockey on a temporary basis in anticipation of WHL Training Camps beginning after Christmas.”

Since last week, several players have joined Manitoba Junior Hockey League teams. Keep in mind, this list is subject to change day-by-day.

OCN Blizzard:

Evan Herman played his first game with the team on Saturday, October 24. He generated plenty of chances and had one goal in a 6-3 loss. Herman scored nine times and added 13 assists for Prince Albert last year.

Since Saturday, the Prince Albert Raiders have also announced that they have loaned Justin Nachbaur to OCN and he will likely be in the lineup when OCN plays a home-and-home against the Dauphin Kings this weekend. The 20-year-old began his junior career with OCN in the 2016-2017 season where he scored 11 goals and added 20 assists. Since then he’s played three full seasons with the Raiders and was a part of the championship team two seasons ago.

Cyle McNabb-Evan Herman (photo-Lucas Chudleigh/Apollo Multimedia)

Winkler Flyers:

Justin Svenson started his junior career with the Red Deer Rebels where he played 21 games. Justin also played in the MJHL with Swan Valley and Winkler before joining the Swift Current Broncos.

He tallied three goals last season and added two assists. He is now back with the Winkler Flyers and he made his debut with them this past weekend.

Selkirk Steelers:

One of the biggest splashes since it was announced that WHL players could join Junior A teams has to be Conner Roulette.

The 17-year-old from Winnipeg is with the Steelers who are one of the most storied franchises in league history. He made his debut this past weekend against Steinbach and Conner was held off the scoresheet.

Roulette tickled the twine 19 times last season and had 39 points in his rookie WHL season. Eligible for the 2021 NHL Entry Draft, it is expected that Roulette will be a high draft pick.

Conner Roulette (photo-Brian Liesse)

Virden Oil Capitals:

One of the hottest teams in the MJHL. They are off to a 5-0-1 start which is tied for the best alongside the Winnipeg Blues. Conor Geekie, a product of the Winnipeg ICE also scored his first career junior goal with the Oil Capitals in a win over Winkler.

The team has also added Garrett Sambrook of the Swift Current Broncos. His WHL career began with the Brandon Wheat Kings in the 2015-2016 season and he played the next 70 games of his WHL days with them. He followed that up with 42 games with Virden before joining the Broncos. In 93 games with Swift Current over the past two years, Sambrook has one goal and 14 assists.

Portage Terriers:

Reese Belton of the Kamloops Blazers is expected to join Portage. From Winnipeg, Belton found the back of the net four times last season and he had one assist.

Reese Belton. Photo by Allen Douglas/Kamloops Blazers.

Winnipeg Blues:

Michael Ladyman was one of the ICE’s most reliable defenders last season after he was acquired from the Spokane Chiefs. Playing in 54 games last year, he scored one goal and had 12 assists.

Ladyman played the first 104 games of his junior career with the Blues and he has been practicing with Winnipeg this week and could enter the lineup this weekend. The Blues are tied with Virden as the top team in the league at 5-0-1.

Neepawa Natives:

Dallon Wilton has been loaned from the Kelowna Rockets just before press time. The 19-year-old forward played 46 games with the Rockets last season, scoring twice and adding two assists. The Beausejour, MB native played with the Eastman Selects in 2016-17 and 2017-18.

As noted above, this list is subject to change at any time as WHL roster players are eligible to play in the MJHL until December 20.

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