HALIFAX, Nova Scotia – The summer months were most certainly not a time for rest for clubs in the Atlantic University Sport (AUS) hockey conference.
AUS teams were busy recruiting fresh talent for the 2013-14 season, attracting new players from the major junior, junior A and professional ranks.
St. Thomas adds size, toughness
St. Thomas Tommies new head coach Pat Powers spent much of the summer making his team bigger, tougher and much more physical.
Powers added Spencer MacDonald and Sawyer Hannay to his blue line, two players who will make it tough for opposing forwards to find their way to the Tommies’ net.
MacDonald displayed a bit of offense to go with his physical game during a successful stint with the Summerside Capitals of the Maritime Jr. A League in 2012-13, while Hannay used his his six-foot-four frame to clear the crease and dish out hits for the Victoriaville Tigres of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Hannay is a former draft pick of the Vancouver Canucks, while MacDonald won a Memorial Cup with the Saint John Sea Dogs in 2011.
The Tommies also added five-year Ontario Hockey League veteran Brendan Childerley to their forward lines, along with feisty winger Jason Trott, who spent last year in the Western Hockey League. St. Thomas then added goalie Alexandre St. Arnaud, who spent the last two years tending goal in the Quebec League.
The UNB Varsity Reds, defending AUS and national champions, lost a number of talented players to graduation but wasted little time restocking the cupboard.
Head coach Gardiner MacDougal added defensemen Matt Petgrave, Jordan Murray and Keevin Cutting to the Varsity Reds’ roster. All three enjoyed successful major junior careers before committing to UNB. MacDougall also recruited Phillipe Halley after the talented center enjoyed back-to-back 40-goal seasons in the Quebec League.
Earlier in the summer UNB added former Kamloops Blazers (Western Hockey League) captain Dylan Willick. The team also hopes to have Ben Duffy in the lineup, however the former Quebec League sniper is currently on a tryout with the Hamilton Bulldogs, the AHL affiliate of the Montreal Canadiens.
UNB has reportedly added goalie Joel Vienneau, who spent the past three seasons playing major junior in the Ontario Hockey League. Vienneau will team with Charles Lavigne in a formidable net minding tandem after the Varsity Reds watched both Dan LaCosta and Travis Fullerton move on to the pro ranks this season.
Tigers looking to roar into playoffs
The Dalhousie Tigers won only eight games during the 2012-13 season, but they hope the addition of four quality freshmen will help push them into playoff contention this year.
The Tigers recently announced they have added stay-at-home defenseman Wes Herrett, power forward Andrew Rieder, towering blue liner Tyler Hart and small, but exceptionally quick forward Fabian Walsh.
The foursome brings a mix of offense, defense and grit to the Tigers lineup as the club looks to rebound from a disappointing 12-13 campaign.
New Blue Eagles expected to soar
The University of Moncton Blue Eagles added a set of twins to their roster during a busy summer of recruiting.
The Blue Eagles signed twin forwards Alex and Allain Saulnier, who combined for 165 points as teammates with the QMJHL’s Moncton Wildcats last season. The smooth-skating duo will give the Blue Eagles offense an instant upgrade as the team looks to move into the upper echelon of the AUS conference this season.
Panthers add European sniper
The UPEI Panthers added some international flavor to their team for the 2013-14 season with the recruitment of Robin Soudek of the Czech Republic.
Soudek spent four years in the Western Hockey League before returning home last year and playing 11 games with Ceske Budejovice HC, a member of the top hockey league in the Czech Republic. After an injury ended his 12-13 season early, Soudek looked to continue playing hockey while furthering his education this season.
Soudek is known as a two-way forward with a nice scoring touch. He is expected to land a spot on one of the Panthers’ top lines this fall.
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