Just two months after winning the program’s 53rd Canada West Championship, the University of Alberta Golden Bears hockey team has already landed their first blue chip recruit of the 2017 off-season; goalie Zach Sawchenko.
Sawchenko joins the Golden Bears after spending four seasons with the Moose Jaw Warriors of the Western Hockey League, and will forgo his final season of junior eligibility with the Warriors to make the jump to University hockey. The Calgary, Alberta native finished his junior career with 88 wins, a 0.907 save percentage, while earning back-to-back WHL First Team All-Star honours. The former Warrior posted a stellar 30-14-1 record in his final season, leading Moose Jaw to their second-straight post-season appearance.
“We are very excited that Zach has decided to play for the Golden Bears, considering he made that decision with a year of junior eligibility remaining.” said Golden Bears General Manager Stan Marple. “Zach was looking for a new challenge and the opportunity to pursue his goal of earning a business degree from the U of A as well as playing hockey for the Bears. Zach is obviously an excellent goaltender, but he is also very strong academically, he has an excellent attitude and work ethic and he will be a great addition to our team.”
The addition of the 6-1 goalie only adds to the Golden Bears depth between the crease, one year after Alberta added former London Knight Brendan Burke. Burke led Canada West with a 1.70 GAA and a 0.934 save percentage in his freshman season, as well as a 0.914 SVP in the playoffs en route to the conference championship. Sawchenko and Burke will be joined by former Medicine Hat Tiger, and NAIT Ook Kenny Cameron. Cameron saw action in six games last season for Alberta, posting 2-1 record.
“We are very excited to add someone of Zach's caliber to our program. We were pleasantly surprised that Zach opted to pursue his hockey career at the University of Alberta.” Serge Lajoie, head coach of the Bears said about the acquisition. “His hockey resume speaks for itself, but what impressed us most was his level of maturity and his total commitment to being a strong contributor to our culture and environment of excellence. His addition makes our goaltending trio one of the best in Canada.”
The Canada West Men’s Hockey Schedule will be released in June, while the U SPORTS Championship is scheduled for March 15-18, 2018 at the University of New Brunswick.