By Lethbridge Herald on July 22, 2015.
Three more players have joined the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns menâ€™s hockey program.
The latest additions are Evan Wardley, Zane Jones and Mitch Makin, who each stand 6â€™3â€. Head coach Spiros Anastas announced the commitments on Tuesday while bringing the 2015-16 recruiting class up to 15.
â€œThese three guys are huge additions, both literally and figuratively,â€ Anastas said.
â€œThey bring a lot of size and depth to our program. At the same time, they are extremely talented players, so our talent level has increased, our experience has gotten better, and also all three of these guys have direct connections to the city.â€
Wardley is a 218-pound defenceman originally from Vulcan. He just completed four years with the WHLâ€™s Seattle Thunderbirds and will take advantage of that leagueâ€™s scholarship program as he pursues a post-secondary degree.
â€œI like that he (Anastas) is trying to make this place a winning organization and somewhere that kids want to come,â€ Wardley said. â€œEverybody that coach has brought in is a very high-competitive hockey player and I think thatâ€™s going to make for a really good team this year.â€
â€œEvan brings size, a great stick, and leadership to our program,â€ said Anastas.Â â€œHe is a defenceman who has a pro skill-set and tremendous upside and his physical presence will be a key asset to our revamped defensive core.â€
Jones, a 210-pound left winger, played with the Lethbridge Hurricanes last season before being dealt to the Vancouver Giants. His mother was also a track athlete at the U of L.
Jones set career highs with 29 goals and 45 points during the 2014-15 WHL season.
Makin, a 185-pound right winger, returns to the city after three seasons with the BCHLâ€™s Alberni Valley Bulldogs.
He grew up in the Crowsnest Pass but played minor hockey in Lethbridge, including with the Midget AAA Pronghorns during the 2011-12 season, where he led the team with 23 goals.
â€œIâ€™m excited to be here and canâ€™t wait to get the season going,â€ Makin said. â€œThereâ€™s a lot of new faces. Thereâ€™s a lot of opportunity, a lot of internal competition. That makes everybody better.â€
â€œMitch had a fantastic career in the BCHL and was a leader statistically and in the locker room,â€ Anastas said. â€œHe can really shoot the puck and is another big body added to our new crop of forwards. Thereâ€™s a lot of upside in Mitch and I can see him getting progressively better over his CIS career.â€
The earlier recruits announced by Anastas are: Sam McKechnie, Jay Merkley, Dalton Sward, Kyle Moore, Colton Sheen, Austin Kernahan, Robert Lindores, Brett Roulston, Bryson Gore, Tyler Hansen, Blake Orban, and Dustin Fostvelt.
â€œOur team is pretty well set,â€ Anastas said. â€œWeâ€™re really confident in the way our roster looks right now. Itâ€™s a really talented and promising roster. I think everyoneâ€™s buying in into being part of something special. This is one of the best recruiting classes that this program has ever had.â€
The â€™Horns will open training camp in late August. The team will then host the Portage College Voyageurs in a pair of pre-season games at Nicholas Sheran Arena on Sept. 4 and 5.