courtesy of Steven Wilson, Discoverweyburn.com
The Weyburn Red Wings are sending seven players to the SJHL/MJHL Showcase January 15th and 16th in Regina. The showcase will see one team of players born in 1999 or later, and two teams of players born in 1998 and 1997 from each league.
Five of the players from Weyburn will be skating with Team Schwartz, the SJHL’s team of players 18-year-olds and younger, named after former Notre Dame Hound Jaden Schwartz.
Defenseman Dylan McCabe was selected by the coaches of the SJHL for the team. The 18-year-old blueliner hails from Regina, SK. He has seen limited action this season but has proven himself on the ice, and in the locker room. He is an alternate captain for the Red Wings this season, just his second with the club.
“I think it will be a lot of good skill there, and it will be good competition, and hopefully get some exposure for schools and stuff like that,” McCabe said after practice on Thursday.
Joining him along the blue line will be 17-year-old Jevon Schwean. A rookie with the Red Wings, he has proven himself more than capable of patrolling the blueline at the junior A level. He spent the latter part of last season, and the playoffs, as an AP with the Red Wings, and didn’t look out of place when on the ice.
“I know a few of them from years back, and it’s going to be fun,” Schwean said when asked about who some of his teammates will be for the Showcase. He added it will still be serious, and the level of play means he will need to work hard.
Three young forwards from the Red Wings will be skating with Team Schwartz. A grouping familiar to Red Wings fans, Ben Hiltz, Cade Kowalski, and Jordan Kazymyra were all given the nod for the two-day event.
“It was a little unexpected, but I’m super excited,” said Hiltz in reaction to his selection. “I think it will be a fun event, and I think it will be good exposure for our team here in Weyburn.” Hiltz has been standing out offensively for the Red Wings. The second-year player has more than quadrupled his output from last season, posting 20 goals and 18 assists in 32 games so far.
Joining him is his linemate, Kowalski. The Morden, MB native has been tearing things up as a rookie. He leads all first-year players in the SJHL with 39 points, and the total is good for the team lead in points as well. Coming from Manitoba, he will be facing some players he saw a lot of when playing Midget AAA last season.
“I’m looking forward to it, just getting to see some of the guys again and talking to them, but of course, it’s still a game, and we have to take it seriously and show the SJ is the better league.”
Kazymyra has spent a lot of time this season skating with Kowalski and Hiltz. The fiery forward from Regina has been able to showcase his scoring abilities this year. He has 24 points in 25 games this season and has the third most goals from a rookie so far this season with 13.
“It’s a good honour to be selected to go out here, and it’s nice to play along some of my teammates,” Kazymyra said after Thursday’s skate.
The young guns weren’t the only players from Weyburn selected for the showcase. Captain Mike Eskra and fellow defenseman Erik Olson were also tapped to play in the showcase. Both will be skating for Team Kunitz, named after former SJHLer Chris Kunitz.
Eskra is in his fourth full season with the Red Wings and has been proving his offensive prowess, along with his defensive prowess. His numbers have steadily improved every year, and this season, he is in the top ten for defensemen in scoring. His leadership on the ice is also something which isn’t overlooked.
“Obviously, it’s an accomplishment,” Eskra said, describing what getting the nod felt like. “I think every guy that was picked will tell you they are happy and ecstatic to be there.”
Olson, a 20-year-old from Delta, BC is in his second year with the Wings. He has been keeping pace with Eskra in the points department (they both have 33) and has been a key component of the Red Wings power play, with nine power-play goals.
The showcase runs Monday and Tuesday of next week in Regina.
Team Schwartz will be taking on Team Team Garbutt from the MJHL at 12:00 p.m. on Monday, and again at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday. Team Mitchell takes to the ice at 3:00 p.m. on Monday against Team Zajac (MJHL), and again at 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday. Finally, Team Belfour from the MJHL plays against Team Kunitz at 6:00 p.m. on Monday, and at 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday.