The defending Canada West Champion Alberta Golden Bears hockey team has added to their already deep and talented lineup, announcing their recruiting class for the 2017-18 season. Defenceman Clayton Kirichenko, and forwards Brandon Magee and Steven Owre will join goalie Zach Sawchenko as the newest additions to the Golden Bears roster.
This year’s recruiting class will join the influx of young talent added last summer, including Canada West Rookie of the Year Tyson Baillie, fellow forwards Trevor Cox and Luke Philp, and defender Jason Fram.
"We are very pleased to add four quality players and character people to our program. In a year where we did not have many positions to fill, these four players emerged as some of the best available recruits at their respective positions.” said Golden Bears head coach Serge Lajoie. “We are confident that they will all have an immediate positive impact on our team. We strongly believe that their leadership abilities are equal to or better than their on ice skill and the addition of these players to our team will enhance the strong culture already established in our program."
Sawchenko was the first recruit confirmed by the Golden Bears in May, and will battle incumbent starter Brendan Burke for playing time this season. The former Moose Jaw Warrior joins the University of Alberta after four stellar WHL seasons in which he tallied 88 career wins, earning back-to-back Western Hockey League first team all-star honours.
The newest crop of recruits is headlined by former Medicine Hat Tiger, and Sherwood Park native Clayton Kirichenko. Kirichenko is coming off easily his best season in the WHL, finishing with career highs in goals (12), points (64), games played (72), and plus/minus (+50). The 6-1 defender also played for the Saskatoon Blades and Vancouver Giants, finishing his WHL career with 25 goals and 118 points in 238 career games.
Owre, Kirichenko’s teammate with the Tigers in 2016-17, also joins the Bears after a superb junior season. The Rocklin, California product finished second on the Tigers with 88 points in 71 games, with both his point total and goal total (26) representing career-highs. The 5-11 centre recorded 74 goals and 221 points over five seasons with the Tigers, as well as 24 points in 40 career playoff games.
Magee, meanwhile, will suit up for the Evergreen and Gold after spending five seasons in the WHL, to go along with a season of professional hockey in the ECHL. The former Victoria Royal was an offensive catalyst in the WHL, surpassing the 20 goal total four times, and the 60 point plateau in each of his last three seasons (2013-2015). Magee spent the majority of the 2015-16 season with the Idaho Steelheads of the ECHL, recording 15 points in 31 games. The Edmonton product also added 10 points in 13 games for the ECHL’s South Carolina Stingrays.
"Not only have we been able to recruit some very talented players to our program again this season, all four of these players are character individuals, that all possess an excellent attitude and work ethic." said Golden Bears GM Stan Marple. "I know that they will all make an impact as first year Bears, and will make us better and deeper, up front, on defense and between the pipes. I am looking forward to Brandon, Zach, Clayton and Steven’s contributions to the team this coming season, and in seasons to come."
The Golden Bears will begin the 2017 Canada West season with a home-and-home series against the Mount Royal Cougars, with the Bears hosting the Cougars at Clare Drake Arena on October 6th.