Things are ripping right along in the world of Junior ‘A’ hockey, at least as far as the Slave Lake Icedogs are concerned. A few days ago The Leader received an email announcing the signing of six players from Ukraine.
Their names are Alexiy Sirotenko, Dmitro Khalin, Sergiy Poymanov, Danylo Babchuk, Bogdan Nalivayko and Dmytro Kobylnik. The names may or may not be spelled correctly.
On Kobylnik come the following details, courtesy of Icedogs’ coach/GM Todd White. From the city of Kramatorsk, he is a 17-year-old left-winger, “and will add speed, physical play and goal scoring to our lineup.”
The other five all played this past season for a team called Dynamo Kharkiv – Kharkiv being a major city in eastern Ukraine. Babchuk and Nalivayko, for example, are defencemen who didn’t do a lot of scoring in about 40 games for the team this season. Khalin is a forward who had eight goals and 11 assists in 39 games for the club. Poymanov scored nine points in 35 games as a 16-year-old. He turns 17 next month.
As to how the connection to Ukrainian players came about, White says, “It’s about who you know.”
White says there’s still paperwork to be gone through on the Ukrainian kids, but he’s confident it’s all in hand.
“There’s no turning back now!” he says. “Slave Lake can look forward to these six coming.”
As for the rest – White says he can go up to eight for foreign players and is talking to a couple more. He’s also in touch with players from Saskatchewan and Arizona. Other than that, recruiting continues for participants for the May 17 – 19 ‘identification camp’ at River Cree, near Edmonton. White expects some of the kids he’s coached in ‘AA’ Midget to show up. Other teams will also be bringing people in to show off their stuff at the camp. If anyone from this area is interested in trying out, that would be the time and place to do it. White can be reached at 780-520-7122, or by email at email@example.com.
White says some of the players at the camp will be ‘restricted,’ meaning whoever invited them has first dibs. Others won’t be and will be open to offers. There may be some wheeling and dealing between team managers, regarding which players end up where.
Getting the players here is one thing. Billeting them is another. White says host families will definitely be needed. He expects to shift his focus to that sort of thing after this recruiting period is over. He figures July or thereabouts for getting billets organized.
News from the league last week was that Slave Lake is still the only confirmed new team for the 2019/20 season in the WPHA. Jasper is still deliberating, Vegreville has decided not to go ahead and two others are talking about it. Edson was the league champ this season.