By Mike Stackhouse
The 2016 SJHL Defenseman Of The Year is a man in demand.
Eric Sinclair, a three year league veteran, has been traded twice this season; but not because the Melfort Mustangs wanted to see him leave. Sinclair was picked up by the Melville Millionaires as part of a trade completed last year that saw the Mustangs add recruits that helped them win their second straight Canalta Cup. In a move that may be perceived as an opportunity for Sinclair to win a third Canalta Cup, he’s now been shipped to the Flin Flon Bombers.
Bomber Head Coach and General Manager Mike Reagan is very happy with the new addition. “From everything I’ve gathered, they (Melfort) were doing everything they could to keep him and make another deal with Melville so that they didn’t lose him.”
“It’s been a month long process of negotiating with Melville and we knew there some details that needed to be ironed out with Melfort, so we were sitting on the sidelines watching how all of that unfolded. We were given permission to speak with Eric before the deal was done to find out if he wanted to come here and he was. I think a big reason was from playing us in the finals last year. He knew the type of team we had and was familiar with the atmosphere.”
Sinclair fired 13-goals and 32-assists in 58-games for the Mustangs last year and was a veteran 103-games with them before the Melville Millionaires laid claim to him as part of the futures in the Ethan Bear.
Sinclair, as a rookie, was a secret weapon of sorts for Trevor Blevins and the Mustangs as he filled in wherever a roster spot was needed. With his offensive prowess and defensive responsibility, he was able to sub as a forward before, ultimately, settling in as a defenseman last year.
Mike Reagan says Sinclair has a lot of interest in the NCAA market. He’s, reportedly an 85% student with an above average SAT score. “He’s been here for less than a week and we’ve already talked to about six or seven schools. He’s garnering a lot of attention and, rightfully, so. This year he may end up, not only the Defenseman Of The Year, but the Player Of The Year. He has that kind of impact. We’ve noticed within two games the type of presence he brings to our locker room and on the ice.”
“This wasn’t just in the last year. Two years ago when they played Notre Dame in the finals, I watched him in that last game and I was amazed at how calm and steady he was. He played forward for them in the WCC and I was just as impressed. We’ve known for awhile he’s a guy that every team would love to have.”