HUMBOLDT — Connor McGrath is excited to play for the home team again at the Elgar Petersen Arena.
The LeRoy product was one of three trade acquisitions announced by the Humboldt Broncos last week. The forward, who is entering his 18-year-old season, and Kyle Bailey were picked up from the Weyburn Red Wings, the Broncos’ Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League foe, for player development fees.
McGrath developed his game early on in LeRoy but competed for Humboldt in peewee and bantam action. He said the EPA is definitely a familiar arena and “I love it there.”
“I look forward to wearing the Broncos logo again,” McGrath said. “I loved being a Bronco in minor hockey and I think it will be pretty special to wear it again. I know what it means to be a Bronco and I am very excited to get things started this season.”
After bantam, he suited up for the Prairie Hockey Academy in Caronport and for the Moose Jaw Warriors U18 AAA team. During his season with the Warriors, McGrath played three games for the Red Wings. The team had selected him with the sixth overall pick in the 2018 SJHL Draft. Last season the 5-foot-10, 140-pound McGrath scored a goal while playing four games for Weyburn.
“We are really excited to acquire Connor,” Broncos head coach Scott Barney said on the team’s website. “It’s especially exciting for our team, our fan base, and our community when we can welcome in a local product as well. Connor has a high offensive ceiling. We feel he can play in our top six forwards this upcoming season.”
Hailing from Calgary, Bailey is a 20-year-old forward. He lit the lamp once in a four-game stint last season with Weyburn. Before that, the 6-foot-1, 190-pounder spent his 18-year-old season with two Junior B teams in the B.C.-based Kootenay International Junior Hockey League. In 23 games for Grand Forks in 2019-2020, he scored 16 goals and recorded 30 points.
The Broncos acquired Jacob Boucher, future considerations, and a player development fee from the B.C. Hockey League’s Surrey Eagles for Karter McNarland. A 19-year-old forward from St. Albert, Boucher spent last season with the Western Hockey League’s Lethbridge Hurricanes, the Alberta Junior Hockey League’s Whitecourt Wolverines, and the High Prairie Red Wings of the Greater Metro Junior A Hockey League.
“He brings a lot of energy,” Barney said. “We believe he has an offensive upside to his game and can play in a top six role for our club.”
The 5-foor-10, 170-pound Boucher had three assists in 14 WHL contests last season. Barney said the team hopes Boucher makes a major junior club for this coming season but “if not, we feel we have a good situation for him here in Humboldt to develop his game and get himself back to the next level.”
After being traded to Surrey, McNarland’s right were flipped to the BCHL’s Powell River Kings. The 18-year-old forward impressed as rookie in Humboldt as he posted 50 points in 57games in 2019-20. He spent last season with three different United States-based teams. While looking forward to playing in Powell River, the University of Vermont commit appreciated his days as a Bronco.
“My time in Humbolt was amazing,” McNarland said. “I had such amazing people around me the whole time I was playing for the Broncos, including my billets the Warford family and my coaches and teammates. I am super happy and thankful I got the chance to play in Humboldt because I know it will help me out in my future hockey career.”