by Rory McGouran
With the SJHL currently on hold, and the collective hockey world patiently awaiting a return to the ice, coaches in the SJHL have compiled their lists of a few players for scouts across the hockey community to watch. Whether or not the season returns in 2020/21, these names are for scouts to keep an eye on in the future, or roll back the tape of the talent available across the league.
Reid Arnold – SGEU Team Player to Watch (Unsung Hero)
SJHL’s current Ironman, Reid Arnold, doesn’t often get the recognition he deserves. This is in large part due to the under-the-radar role he fills for the Humboldt Broncos. Stemming all the way back from his first career junior game in 2018/19, to the opening six games this year, the Yorkton, SK native has not missed a single contest for any reason, stretching his ironman streak to 133 games including the playoffs, the longest among active SJHL’ers.
Although his point totals may not mirror others who are among the SJHL’s scoring leaders, his defensive prowess and face-off ability make him an asset that numerous coaches would be eager to utilize in their lineup night in and night out.
“He’s willing to fill any role and any spot in the lineup. We count on him so much in defensive roles, in key moments of the game, and his faceoff ability is off the charts. When it’s at the end of the game, and maybe were up or down by a goal and need to win that draw, he’s our guy. He does whatever it takes and puts the team first, but maybe doesn’t get the same recognition as the guys who have the high-end amount of points.”
Tristan Shewchuk – RBC Forward to Watch
Height doesn’t measure heart.
The former SJHL first overall pick (2016) has been the epitome of that phrase since entering the league. His knowledge of the game and ability to showcase it continues to grow year after year, which has clearly translated on the scoresheet. After scoring 20 points (10g,10a) in his rookie season with the Melville Millionaires, the 5’6 Saskatoon product exploded for 30 goals and 26 assists after being acquired by the Broncos prior to his second year in the league. In 2020/21, Shewchuk proved that his development was nowhere near finished, adding 10 points in six games before the shutdown, equaling a 97-point pace in a 58 game season.
“Shewy is a player that goes to the areas on the ice that other players in the league don’t often want to go to. He gets a lot of his points because of his hockey IQ, playing at a high pace, and the fact he’s willing to go to those tough areas. We watched him closely during his first season in Melville and when he became available, we were on him right away. We saw his speed, his tenacity, and his ability to be a goal scorer, which now has been proven with him being a 30 goal scorer.”
Cody Hough – Mayfair Diagnostics Defenseman to Watch
Speed is an asset that every coach needs to run a successful hockey club. Find that speed and pair it with elite puck moving ability on the backend, more often than not, translates into a recipe for success.
Second year Humboldt Bronco’ Cody Hough possesses both of these traits at a high level, allowing the potential for an NCAA Division 1 scholarship to be unearthed for the Maple Ridge, BC native. Having never been one that shies away from showcasing his offensive abilities, Hough fit right into Scott Barney’s system from the drop of the puck. He was second among all SJHL rookie defensemen with 24 points in 2019/20 and was looking to skate right past those numbers with 5 points in 6 games this year.
“Every game, he is one of the top guys in the stats that we value on this team. He’s so evasive with the puck, defends extremely well, and without a doubt, is one of the strongest and fastest skating defenseman in this league. We think he definitely has the potential at an NCAA D-1 scholarship.”
Tanner Marshall – SaskTel Goalie to Watch
Championship pedigree is great to have on any team, National Championship is another level. That’s what the Humboldt Broncos got when they acquired Marshall from the BCHL’s Merritt Centennials prior to the 2020/21 season. Marshall won a National Jr. A Championship with the Brooks Bandits of the AJHL in 2018/19. Although he was the backup during their run, he posted a 1.33 GAA and .925 SV% in 12 appearances during the regular season. After suiting up for Merritt in 2019/20, a fresh start and another chance to prove himself as a bona fide starter was granted with the Broncos. Marshall was off to a stellar start with two wins in three games and a .914 SV% with the green and gold before the season came to a halt.
“Tanner has been great since he’s got here. Obviously, he won a championship in Brooks, and you want guys that know how to win on your team. Along with his play on the ice, he carries a captain-like character in the dressing room. He’s made some big saves for us this year when we’ve needed them, which was a big reason for our success earlier this year when we were playing.”
Carson Schultz – Direct West Rookie to Watch
It’s often tough to make a strong impression in your rookie year while on a veteran-laden team like the Broncos. However, Schultz wasted no time in doing so, scoring the opening goal of the season in his Jr-A debut. Schultz then followed that by continuing to impress the coaching staff with his work ethic and commitment to learn, making it hard for them to keep him off the ice.
The Beaumont, AB native was a point-per-game player with the Leduc Oil Kings last year, and will look to carve his role on the Broncos team moving forward. One thing for sure, his blue-collar style of play will lead him to becoming a fan favourite in Humboldt’s Elgar Petersen Arena for years to come.
“He’s a great skater first and foremost. He’s strong on the puck, and he’s a kid that wants to learn and get better every time he steps on the ice. Obviously, with the veteran group we had to start this year, he’s been patient, and when he gets his opportunities he makes them count. We think he’s a player that people should keep their eyes on in the future.