~ Article courtesy estevanbruins.com, Image courtesy Durr Photography
The Estevan Bruins are proud to announce that graduating defenceman Austin King-Cunningham of Pilot Butte, SK has committed to the University of Regina Cougars program (USports) for the 2021-22 season!
Todd Johnson, Head Coach of the Cougars, had this to say about bringing in the outgoing captain of the Estevan Bruins.
“Austin is a player that will transition easily to USport hockey. He is a difficult player to play against and will be a welcome addition to our defence this year. We look forward to seeing Austin continuing to growing his game into a real force for years to come.”
King-Cunningham (6’4, 195 lbs) played four seasons for the Bruins from 2017-18 to 2020-21 and instantly became one of the most intimidating players in the SJHL. As a 17-year-old, he suited up for 31 games after joining the club in November and became a key, everyday player on the team that went all the way to Game 7 of the SJHL championship. While ‘Kinger’ has a booming shot and is more than capable offensively, it’s his defensive game and aggressive, punishing style of play that became his calling card across the league. Over parts of four years, King-Cunningham racked up 647 PIM (and added 88 more PIM in the playoffs) to rank in the Top 5 all-time in Estevan Bruins’ history in penalty minutes. Though the 2020-21 season was cancelled six games in due to COVID, Austin started to show all aspects of his game as he finished the year with 4 PTS (3G, 1A) and 17 PIM in 4 games for a Bruins’ team looking to a make a deep playoff run in his final year of junior eligibility.
“It’s great to see Austin will be continuing his athletic and academic career at the University of Regina. Austin was a great leader for us last season and he’s a player that demonstrated he has a very good skill set, and that’s how we wanted him to play for us. We believe Austin has the potential to be a very good university player. We are excited to see him continue his progression with the Cougars.” – Jason Tatarnic, Head Coach/GM
Austin will be joining many familiar faces on the Cougars’ roster, including a few former teammates with the Estevan Bruins: Jayden Davis, Curtis Meger, Bryce Platt and Turner Ripplinger.
King-Cunningham is the third graduating player from the 2020-21 Bruins to commit to a USports or NCAA program this offseason, as Kade McMillen committed to Trinity Western University earlier this offseason and Eddie Gallagher committed to Northland College in early August. Congrats Austin!