Although there is still some hockey left this season, the job is never done for Weyburn Red Wings General Manager Tanner McCall. Always tasked with scouting and working the phones, McCall is already prepping for next season.
Local boys Braden Birnie and Luke Arndt have both committed to the Red Wings for next season. The 2001-born pair are both gearing up for their respective Midget AAA playoffs, but both will be wearing their hometown threads next season in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League.
Birnie is a winger who has put up over a point per game this year with the Regina Pat Canadians, despite having his season hampered by injury. He played for the Midget AA Wings for two seasons and registered 32 goals, 79 assists and 111 points in 68 regular season games. He made his SJHL debut as a 16-year-old last year and also had some valuable pre-season experience this year.
"Braden has put together a nice first season with the Regina Pat Canadians. He has continued his offensive play and is poised to make a nice long playoff run this year with Regina," McCall said. "Braden is a left shot playmaker who has a good scoring touch around the net as well. The team is very excited to have him in the lineup full-time next season."
This young man has inspired an organization. Spiral fracture of tibia in a Nov. game. Didn’t want to hear season was over. With trainer Adam’s help, hard work and perseverance he returned to ice last night in Yorkton. 3 points. Game star. You’re a leader Braden! pic.twitter.com/dLLIQox6N3— Regina Pat Canadians (@aaapatcanadians) February 14, 2019
Arndt, another Weyburn native, is in the midst of a great season with the Tisdale Trojans. He's the captain of the top team in the league as the regular season comes to a close — Birnie's Pat C's sit in second place.
Known more for his defensive play, Arndt has only tallied a goal and four assists in 40 games this season. However, he brings a physical and fearless presence to the ice. Arndt has 74 PIMS this year, which is tops on his team and is top 20 in the league.
He made his SJHL debut earlier this month for the Wings, played a game in Humboldt against the Broncos. McCall is excited to see the strong d-man join the Weyburn Red Wings next year.
"Arndt is a respected leader on the team and is a key player in the team's stingy defence. The Trojans have the second lowest goals against in the entire league," the GM said. "Luke plays a tough brand of hockey and is leading his team in penalty minutes. He made is Wings debut earlier this month and played very well. The Wings are very excited to have Luke in the lineup going forward and we would like to wish both Braden and Luke the best of luck as their teams enter playoffs this weekend."
Arndt and Birnie are just two of a strong up-and-coming rookie class that McCall and the Red Wings are excited about. Stay tuned for more commits for 2019/2020 in the coming weeks.