By Dale Woodard on October 9, 2021.
With the COVID-19 shortened 2021 Western Hockey League season, most players only got in 24 games.
Nolan Bentham got even less than that.
The defenceman the Lethbridge Hurricanes acquired in the off-season from the Victoria Royals sat out the entire season due to injury.
But as the 2-1-0-0 Canes get set to welcome the 2-1-0-0 Red Deer Rebels to the Enmax Centre tonight at 7 p.m., the six-foot-three, 198-pound blue-liner from Victoria intends to be with his new team for the long haul of the 2021-22 WHL season.
“It was tough being off hockey for over a year,” said Bentham as the team wrapped up practice Friday morning at the Enmax Centre.
“To come back now has been awesome. This summer I definitely had to work more on game-like scenarios to get ready for the season.”
In his first three games Bentham has two assists and has gone plus-six.
“It’s been great so far,” he said of settling into southern Alberta. “Everyone here with the team and the staff have been awesome to me. I’m really enjoying my time. It’s early in the season, but it’s been fun and I’m excited to continue to play here.”
At six-foot three, Bentham joins a large Hurricanes defensive corps.
Of the seven blue-liners, only Logan McCutcheon – measuring up at five-foot-nine – is under six feet.
“We’re definitely a big team,” said Bentham. “I think we need to use our physical size to our advantage. Cutch is the only small one back there, but he’s shifty. But we have a big team and big defencemen, especially, so we just have to use our size and be physical.”
For his part, Bentham said he plans to chip in at both ends of the ice.
“I think I’m a complete two-way defenceman,” he said. “I like playing against the top lines and shutting them down, but I like playing offence as well. So it’s fun to get up in the rush and make some plays.”
He’ll get another chance to do that tonight when the Rebels pull into the Enmax Centre.
The Rebels defeated the Oil Kings 4-1 last weekend before the Oil Kings came to the Enmax Centre Wednesday night and edged the Hurricanes 2-1 with a late goal.
Now the Canes look to get back in the win column tonight.
“It’s been good, we’ve had a good week of practice,” said Bentham. “Everybody is excited and I think we want to build off of our Edmonton game.
“Red Deer is a good team. They have good forwards, a good three lines and good D as well.”
We have to come ready to play and we’re excited.”
NOTES – The Hurricanes reduced their blue-line from eight skaters to seven on Friday, trading 2003-born defenseman Kayden Sadhra-Kang to the Swift Current Broncos in exchange for a sixth round draft pick in the 2023 WHL Prospects Draft.
Sadhra-Kang, 18, was a ninth round and 195th overall selection in the 2018 WHL Draft.
The product of Richmond, B.C. played 11 career games with the Hurricanes, totaling two assists and four penalty minutes.
The six-foot-four, 195- pound defenceman played two games this season, posting one assist and a plus-3 rating.
With the trade, the Hurricanes now have a 22-man roster including two goaltenders, seven defencemen and 13 forwards.
Follow @@DWoodardHerald on Twitter