Horns open pre-season play with weekend games at Nicholas Sheran Arena
The University of Lethbridge Pronghorns men's hockey team has undergone some major changes over the summer months, all in the hopes of putting two disastrous seasons in the rear view mirror.
On Wednesday, the Horns put the finishing touches on the 2014-15 roster by adding three new names, all with unique backgrounds.
Joining the ‘Horns is a trio of forwards, including one each from the United States, Belarus and Canada. Head coach Spiros Anastas introduced Sam Wilbur, Artyom Kalashnikov and Aaron Enns, bringing his inaugural recruiting class to nine fresh faces this season.
Wilbur, a Michigan native, comes to Lethbridge after finishing his junior career with the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners in the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League (NOJHL). In 56 games last season, Wilbur finished second in NOJHL scoring with 36 goals and 50 assists. He added another 15 points in 14 playoff games to help lead the Miners to a NOJHL Championship.
The six-foot-two inch right winger also spent two seasons with the Blind River Beavers and accumulated 144 points in 108 career NOJHL games.
“We are fortunate to be adding Sam this late in the recruiting process as he garnered a lot of attention from NCAA institutions this season,” says Anastas. “Sam is a big body forward who protects the puck well, and he has a knack for scoring at every level that he has played. I am confident that his game will transition well into the CIS.”
Originally from Minsk, Belarus, Kalashnikov comes to the program after a successful 20-year-old season with the Virden Oil Capitals in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League. Kalashnikov finished second on the Oil Capitals in scoring last season with 52 points in 55 games. He added another 12 points in 10 playoff games.
Kalashnikov, who moved to Canada with his family when he was 15, has also played with the Alberni Valley Bulldogs, Brooks Bandits and Nipawin Hawks. During the 2012-13 season he represented Belarus at the World Junior Championship (Division 1) and registered two points in four games.
“Arty comes highly recommended from many coaches in the Tier II loop,” says Anastas. “He is a crafty forward who can play both centre and wing. He has played at the international level, and is a fierce competitor; he brings some much needed depth up front with the ability to make a lot of plays.”
Enns is transfering to the University of Lethbridge and will have three years of eligibility left after spending a season each with the Simon Fraser Clan in the British Columbia Intercollegiate Hockey League and Manhattanville College in NCAA III.
With the Clan last season, Enns recorded 32 points in 22 games. He suited up for 11 games the year before with Manhattanville. Prior to joining Manhattanville, Enns played three seasons with the La Ronge Ice Wolves, winning two Saskatchewan Junior Hockey Championships and making an appearance in the Royal Bank Cup in 2010. He was also the Ice Wolves captain during his last season with the team.
“Aaron came to camp committed and determined to make the team as a walk-on, and he impressed our staff immediately,” says Anastas. “With two years of collegiate experience under his belt, including a year in the NCAA, he will add character and hard-nosed play to our forward unit, really adding to our depth up front."
The ‘Horns will face their first non-conference action this weekend by hosting Portage College of the ACAC. The puck drops Friday night at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 3 p.m. at Nicholas Sheran Arena. Admission is free to both non-conference games.