Horns bolster lineup
The University of Lethbridge Pronghorns men’s hockey team is excited to announce three new recruits for the 2012-13 Canada West season.
After the graduation of six players from last year’s team, head coach Greg Gatto has his work cut out for him to fill the gaps left behind but is excited to add three quality Western Hockey League graduates, goaltender Damien Ketlo and defencemen Hayden Rintoul and Cason Machacek.
With the departure of five-year starting goalie and 2009-10 second team Canada West All-Star Scott Bowles, goaltending was a high priority in Gatto’s recruiting this off-season. With the commitment of former Lethbridge Hurricane goaltender Damien Ketlo, he believes the Horns have picked up one of the best graduating goalies from the WHL.
“Damien is a guy to take over the number one position,” says Gatto. “He was the Hurricanes' MVP last season and he wants to be a big part of our program. He gives us a bigger goaltender who plays the puck well, and it’s his job to lose.”
Ketlo is a Fort Fraser, B.C. native who played four seasons in the WHL and made 160 appearances over his career with the Regina Pats and the Hurricanes. This past season, Ketlo made 47 appearances, while sporting a 3.60 goals-against-average and a solid 0.902 save percentage.
At the end of his season, Ketlo joined the Colorado Eagles of the ECHL, making 3 appearances, including a shutout victory in his pro debut.
Rintoul and Machacek played parts of two seasons together with the Kootenay Ice. Machacek is a Lethbridge product who returns home to suit up for the Pronghorns after finishing his junior career with the Seattle Thunderbirds. Prior to being traded to Seattle, Machacek played parts of two seasons with his hometown Hurricanes and began his WHL career with the Ice. A physical, stay-at-home defenseman, Machacek suited up in 245 career WHL games in four seasons, accumulating 6 goals and 22 assists, while amassing 536 penalty minutes.
“Cason is a hometown boy who wants to come back and make our program better,” says Gatto. “We needed a physical defenseman and that’s exactly what Cason is and he has more upside than a lot of people give him credit for.”
Rintoul, in addition to playing with the Ice, finished his WHL career with the Victoria Royals where he served as the team captain and set career highs this season in goals and points with 17 and 51 respectively. In 260 career games, Rintoul amassed 36 goals and 108 assists and won a WHL Championship in 2011 with Ice.
“Hayden is an offensive-minded defenseman and gives us that puck moving ability that is so important in today’s game,” says Gatto. “He won a WHL championship and was a captain, which are always qualities we like to add to our dressing room.”