TISDALE — While Luc Bourdon focused on his homework, the Swift Current Broncos selected the Tisdale Trojans defenceman in last Thursday’s Western Hockey League Prospects Draft.
“I had been checking the draft on repeat in the afternoon whenever I got a chance,” he said. “When I got home, I decided to sit down and do some homework. I got a notification from the team group chat and everyone was saying congrats. When I checked the draft again, I saw that I had been selected by the Broncos. I was super excited, and relieved. The first thing I did was FaceTime my family in Prince Albert and some buddies of mine.”
Bourdon, who the Broncos grabbed in the ninth round, 180th overall, was one of three Trojans selected in the draft of 2006-born players. Fellow defenceman Simon Martin was picked in the fourth round, 76th overall, by the Medicine Hat Tigers. Trojans forward Carter Ralston was tabbed by the Regina Pats in the sixth round, 119th overall.
“It meant a lot to be drafted, such a relief and kind of a reward for how hard I’ve worked,” Ralston said. “Big relief just because you don’t have to worry about when or what round you’re going to get drafted in, and that weight on your back is gone now.”
Bourdon, Martin, and Ralston are just three of the young, skilled players suiting up for the Trojans this winter. The squad includes only two 17-year-olds.
“We have a lot of young talent, drafted guys or not,” Tisdale head coach Dennis Kubat said. “We have a great core set in place to be very successful.”
Kubat and the coaching staff have focused this season on developing their youthful, skilled team.
“Playing for the Trojans has helped so much,” Ralston said. “The coaching staff has been really supportive and will pretty much do anything for you – whether it is working on little skills after practice or watching video with them in the evenings after a weekend of games. Just really supportive and push me to get better all the time and will do anything to help improve my game.”
For the Trojans trio and the other draftees, last week’s event is just the start of their junior hockey journey. Regarding the draft, Kubat said:
“It’s always good for the program when guys have success, but at the end of the day this is just the beginning for these boys and they need to continue to put in the work.”
The 5-foot-9, 131-pound Martin has five points in 24 games this season. In an interview earlier this season, Kubat praised the Lumsden product for his strong skating, making good first passes, and for always being positive.
Unity’s Ralston is fifth on the Trojans in scoring this season with 11 points, including six goals. Kubat said, earlier this season, the 6-foot-1, 160-pounder has the ability to be a pure goal scorer in the Saskatchewan Male U18 AAA Hockey League.
The 5-foot-8, 155-pound Bourdon hails from Prince Albert. He has three points in 24 games this season.
“Luc wants to be a player, always puts in the extra effort, loves video, and has an unbelievable work ethic,” Kubat said. “He is improving on getting off the wall, having a good gap and making plays. I am happy he was able to see some success from all his hard work.”
Players selected in this year’s draft are eligible to immediately sign with the team that picked them. For example, the Spokane (Wash.) Chiefs already signed first overall pick Berkly Catton of the Saskatoon Contacts to a WHL standard player development agreement. Most drafted players will head to their WHL teams’ camps in 2022 to try to earn a roster spot for the next season or a future one.
“I’m really looking forward to going to the Tigers camp to develop my skill and get used to the competitive atmosphere,” Martin said.
Growing up in Prince Albert, Bourdon watched the WHL’s Raiders play countless times. Being close to WHL centres, Martin also has seen his fair share of major junior contests.
“I have gone to many WHL games in the past and it has always been my dream to be skilled enough to play at that level,” he said. For most players selected in the WHL Draft, their family has had a big impact on their hockey careers. For example, Bourdon said:
“My family’s support has been the thing that has kept me going throughout the ups and downs of my hockey career. I’m very thankful to have such a supportive family. They have always believed in me, through thick and thin, and I wouldn’t be here without them. They sacrifice so much for me, and I can’t put into words how grateful I am to have them in my life.”
The Trojans last week
Tuesday, Dec. 7 in Saskatoon
Saskatoon Contacts 5, Tisdale 3
Trojans Scorers: Owen Myhre, Trey Penrod, Kale Margolis
Contacts Scorers: Carter Mason, Brady Smith, Zach Moore, Noah Chadwick, Brodie Scopick
Goalies: Cody Wilson, Tisdale, 19 saves on 23 shots; Chase Wutzke, Saskatoon, 8 on 11
Notes: Tisdale led 2-1 after the first period and were ahead 3-1 early in the second. Saskatoon tied the game up at 3-3 before the second intermission. Saskatoon scored four powerplay goals on eight opportunities, while the Trojans were 1-for-6. Defenceman Simon Martin was named the away star.
Saturday, Dec. 11 in Tisdale
Notre Dame 7, Tisdale 2
Trojans Scorers: Jaxon Skiftun, Pavel McKenzie
Hounds Scorers: Cole Wirun (2), Andrew Altwasser, Ty Beacon, Owen Thomas, Keagan Merriman, Ben Aucoin
Goalies: Cody Wilson, Tisdale, 19 saves on 23 shots; Joey Rocha, Notre Dame, 22 on 24
Notes: After a scoreless first period, Tisdale got on the scoreboard first. Noter Dame scored three straight goals to hold a 3-1 lead heading into the final period. McKenzie was the home star. Tisdale scored first both against the Hounds and Contacts. Tisdale head coach Dennis Kubat said untimely penalties have hurt the team. Kayd Ruedig earned an assist against Notre Dame. The Humboldt 14-year-old, an affiliated player from his hometown U15 AA team, has two points in six games this season for the Trojans. “He’s not afraid to jump in the play,” Kubat said of the skilled defenceman. On Saturday, Rueding played a U15 AA game against North East before suiting up for the Trojans. In that U15 contest, the Trojans were able to see a number of their prospects play.
Sunday, Dec. 12 in Tisdale
Warman 3, Tisdale 1
Trojans Scorer: Pavel McKenzie
Wildcats Scorers: Dustin Renas, Connor Gabriel, Rhett Dekowy
Goalies: Brady Kashuba, Tisdale, 48 saves on 51 shots; Luke Brunen, Warman, 25 on 26
Notes: The game was 0-0 after the first period. Warman led 1-0 after the second and went up 3-0 in the third. Kashuba was the home star. On Dec. 8, Kashuba was called up to the Junior A Melfort Mustangs as a backup goalie against Weyburn. Former Trojan Boston Gelowitz, a call up from the Junior B Regina Capitals, started for the Red Wings.
“We played, in my opinion, the best two teams in the league. We competed with both of them. With Notre Dame, our first 40 might have been some of our best 40 we’ve played in a long time. Against Warman, we had a pretty solid game. … We are getting better.”
— Trojans head coach Dennis Kubat on the team’s weekend
The Tisdale Trojans (2-20-0-2) have three games this week to wrap up the 2021 portion of their season. On Tuesday, after the Recorder deadline, the team was slated to host the Saskatoon Contacts (12-6-0-3). The Yorkton Maulers (4-19-0-3) visit on Saturday, while Swift Current Legionnaires (12-12-0-1) come to town on Sunday. The Trojans’ first game of the new year is in Moose Jaw on Jan. 8.