~ written by Jamie Neugebauer (@Neugsie), image courtesy Marla Possberg
One constant through the Weyburn Red Wings’ thick and thin the last three years has been the play of Graham Skinner.
Skinner, who turns 19 Dec. 6, is a rangy, two-way defenceman, and since joining the club in 2019-2020 out of Okanagan Hockey Academy Prep in the Canadian Secondary School Hockey League, he has been firmly in the Wings’ Top 4 blueliners.
A Saskatoon native, the now 6-foot-2, 179-pounder was drafted by both the Humboldt Broncos of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League, and the Prince Albert Raiders of the Western Hockey League in 2017 out of his hometown Outlaws U15s.
A move from Saskatchewan minor hockey to the prep ranks paid off for him 2018-19 when he posted 20 points in 36 games as a defenceman on a squad that also included current Bronco Reilly McKinnon and former Melville Millionaires goaltender Kaleb McEachern.
Skinner’s performance as a rookie for the Wings in 19-20, and start to the Covid shortened 20-21 campaign earned him a spot the SJHL’s Virtual Showcase in late Jan. 2021, and while it was only in a video game setting, the list was prestigious as a source for scouts to become more aware of the top young NCAA eligible players in the league.
Now in new head coach Cody Mapes’ first season in charge, Skinner continues to hold a prominent role on Weyburn’s top pairing alongside fellow 2002 birth-year Ian Maier, and at the time of writing sits third in the league in assists among SJHL blueliners with 12 through 22 contests.
The year has been one of learning for the rebuilding Wings, but there is absolute certainty that any success they can foster this campaign will have Skinner right in the middle of it.