By Mike Stackhouse
1996 D Braxx George (Prince Albert SK) isn’t the first name that pops into someone’s head when looking at the Melfort Mustangs roster of talent; but he’s a player that has been key to their success of the past as well as any the club will have for the remainder of the 2016-17 season.
George dressed for 52-games last season and the blueliner contributed a goal and twelve assists. His numbers this year are of a similar nature through the first half of the season, but it’s his non-statistical play where his true value lies. “I would consider my strongest area of my game would be in work ethic and defensive zone play. I’ve worked on becoming a more efficient skater, along with my puck handling skills. I’m working on improving my offensive side by jumping up into the play or skating up the puck to help contribute more. I am not an offensive defenseman, though. My style is more of a stay-at-home, shut-down one.”
George suited up for 16 games during last year’s Canalta Cup championship run and despite some early struggles by the team, he still has high hopes. “We need to come together as a group and have everyone contributing and working. We have a lot of new faces and are younger, but everyone comes to the rink ready to work. We have to buy into the systems and do the little things. I think we can beat any team in the league. We’ve been getting better and I have to give credit to hard work and a never give up attitude. We’ve been a lot better with our full sixty minute effort. Our special teams have also been better. Our powerplay, especially, is starting to click and that’s a contributing factor.”
George is a top notch student in the class room with a 91% average; although he hasn’t written his SAT (as of early December). “I’m keeping my options open for both American and Canadian universities,” he says. His primary non-hockey interest is in becoming a teacher as he’s found working with young children to be something he has enjoyed. “I also am interested in the trades, like electrical and construction.”
Overall, the Mustang defense isn’t made up of mobile defenders who like to jump into the play; which is something different from recent years past where the blueliners have been very engaged in the offensive zone. Up front, Kalem Zary, Dakota Boutin, and Miles Warkentine have taken that next step of being, not only, a year older; but also a year better.
You can his stats at http://sjhl.hockeytech.com/player?playerId=1379&season=29