The Estevan Eclipse Downhole Solutions U18 AAA Bears have announced the commitment of their first 12 players, including players from Carlyle, Arcola and Carievale.
The Bears will have players who have played at the U18 level (formerly midget) for one or two seasons, and some who spent last season at the U15 level (formerly bantam).
Cade Bendtsen, a 2003-born defenceman from Carlyle who played last season with the Estevan Apex midget AA Bruins, has committed to play for the Bears. Bendtsen had six goals and 25 points in 31 games played last season.
Forward Carson Birnie, a 2005-born forward from Arcola, also joined the Bears. He played with the Regina Monarchs bantam AA team last season and had 28 goals and 67 points in 29 games played.
Turner McMillen, a 2003-born forward from Carievale with two years of midget AAA experience, is also joining the Bears. He spent last season with the Prince Albert Mintos midget AAA program and had 15 goals and 39 points in 44 games played.
Bears head coach and general manager Jeff Smith is pleased with the quality of talent the club has been able to attract, even though they didn’t have the benefit of a spring camp.
“There’s a lot of kids who wanted to come back and play for their local team, which is so nice to see and hear,” said Smith.
When that first player commitment came in, it was a relief, but it was a reminder that now it’s for real and an actual team is being formed. His entire staff was watching to see who had signed, and Smith is looking forward to building excitement for the team.
The 12 players they announced are those they had focused on, and now they’re pursuing the remaining handful of players to round out the roster.
“There might be a kid or two that slips through the cracks in the north that we’re keeping eyes on. It’s always nice to have those extra spots just in case someone does come available.”