Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League

From Kindo to College.

What do Montgomery County Pennsylvania, Aurora Illinois, Fond du Lac Wisconsin, Harrison New York, and Minneapolis Minnesota all have in common…? Kindo does College 2019.

Freshman Orientation, Taco Tuesday’s in the meal hall, Greek Rush, thin mattresses, and Homecoming games are all on the near horizon for 7 newly minted Klippers Alumni as they each have chosen an NCAA hockey program and educational institute to pursue life’s next chapter. Not to be overlooked or underappreciated amidst all the NCAA commitments is the 8th overage from the 2018-19 season, Tate Page who completed a Powerline Technician program prior to returning to Kindersley this year.

As many North of the Border are generally unfamiliar with NCAA hockey and the breakdown of Division 1 vs Division 3, Club Sports, and the recruiting process let’s take a crash course in the programs that are fortunate to have landed these great young men. NCAA Division 1 is the highest level of University hockey offered in the US and has become an ever increasing pipeline of quality players to the NHL; in fact 16 former NCAA players saw action in this year’s Stanley Cup Finals. Interestingly, there is no such thing as Division 2 hockey, so NCAA Division 3 figures in as the 2nd tier of University hockey in the States. A very competitive and skilled level of hockey, Div 3 schools make a living of recruiting Canadian Jr A, North American Hockey League, and USHL athletes who may just be on the fringe of a Div 1 deal or are looking for a great opportunity for an excellent education with a greater percentage of their tuition and fees covered than what a bigger name Div 1 school is able to offer at the time. Division 3 schools are all four-year accredited Universities and Colleges offering a wide variety of undergraduate and graduate degrees, often with smaller student enrollment and more favorable student-faculty ratio. So where will this year’s Klippers graduates be taking their talents?

Cam Shorrock- Bryn Athyn University (Montgomery County, PA)

Located 20 miles northeast of Philadelphia, Bryn Athyn is a small, private, liberal arts school with rigorous academic standards featuring small class sizes and a 7-1 Student to Instructor ratio. The Lions compete in the Colonial States Athletic Conference under the banner of NCAA Division 3. Cam will play for Coach Andrew Burke, a Div 3 player himself at U-Mass Boston, who has been at the helm since the 2013-14 season. Last season’s roster featured 6 former CJHL’ers. Cam will be an immediate leader for the Lions and will be looked to to bring the compete level night in and night out.

Clay and Nate Keeley- Aurora University (Aurora, Illinois)

Aurora is the main campus of the Aurora University system situated less than an hour from Chicago. The Spartans compete in the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference and are coached by Jason Bloomingburg. Clay and Nate will join 3 other CJHL players from last season’s Aurora roster. Coach Bloomingburg is himself an accomplished collegiate athlete, having skated for Div 1 Providence College and Wayne State and being a finalist for the Hockey Baker Award, given annually to Division 1’s Most Outstanding Player. Aurora got two exceptional players and people in Clay and Nate; both work extremely hard and are amazing teammates.

Blake Kleiner & Ty Enns- Marian University (Fond du Lac, Wisconsin)

Fond-du-Lac is a city of over 45,000 situated on the south bank of Lake Winnebago, half-way between Green Bay and Milwaukee Wisconsin. Marian is a Div 3 program competing in the Northern Collegiate Hockey Association where they finished 2nd in the conference behind Nationally ranked St.Norbert. Coach Zach Gaynor is no stranger to the SJHL having played for the Nipawin Hawks and his 2018-19 Sabres featured 11 former CJHL’ers, including one-time Klipper D-man Taylor Derynck. Coach Gaynor comments, “We are thrilled to add Blake to our program. I have had my eye on Blake for the last few years and his skating, team first attitude, situational awareness, and offensive playmaking talents will make him a valuable threat in the NCAA. Our program just took a major step forward adding Blake to our roster. We couldn’t be more excited to have Blake and Ty Enns playing for the Sabres this fall.”

Josh Fletcher- Manhattanville College (Harrison, New York)

Nestled just 27 miles from the hustle and bustle of the Big Apple and minute from the Connecticut border, Manhattanville College offers just about everything you could want in a small school with amenities and location. The Valiants are coming off a successful 2018-19 season having advanced to the Div 3 National Quarter-finals before falling to SUNY-Geneseo (Coach Childerhose’s Alma Mater) led by Coach Arlen Marshall, who hails from Quill Lake, SK. Again, the CJHL roots run deep with last season’s squad featuring 10 grads. Josh plays the game hard and fast, bringing a passion to the rink that will pay dividends for the Valiants as they look to get back to the National Tournament in back-to-back seasons.

Justen Close- University of Minnesota (Minneapolis, MN)

One of the most legendary Division 1 hockey programs in the United States, the Golden Gophers and their long list of Alumni in the NHL need little introduction. But just for fun let’s see if any of these names ring a bell: Nick Bjugstad, Phil Kessel, Erik Johnson, Nick Leddy, Nate Schmidt, Blake Wheeler, to name but a few. Last season’s Golden Gophers team featured 11 NHL drafted players. Minnesota competes in the Big 10 conference, which can be argued to be one of the top 2 or 3 conferences in the Nation for top tier hockey. Known for recruiting in the hockey hot-bed that is the state of Minnesota it is rare and an exceptional accomplishment for Justen to have been recruited to the Gophers. Justen was a two-time SJHL Goalie of the Year winner and a finalist for the CJHL’s Top Goaltender Award this past season. With the departure of 2 senior goalies and their starter to a pro deal, the Gophers have brought in 3 new tendies all looking to earn playing time in 2019.

Keep an eye on the respective Athletics Websites and twitter feeds of these schools to follow along on these great young men’s careers. The Klippers family certainly has a handful of new favorite teams down south and we all look forward what the future holds.

Make sure to grab your Klippers season tickets for the 2019-20 season and get a front row seat as this year’s edition of the Green and White compete for an SJHL Championship and even more NCAA and Canadian University commitments.