Stingers Men’s Hockey Adds Western Recruits to Rookie Class

Ryan Vandervlis and Jeffrey De Wit Among Nine Recruits From the Western Provinces and Quebec

The Stingers prepare to welcome three newly signed recruits from the WHL to their roster. File Photo Ireland Compton

With a class of graduating players including their top line centre Hugo Roy, as well as their captain Philippe Hudon, the Stingers are in need of some strong rookies to fill several holes in their lineup.

Luckily for Concordia, they have managed to get letters of intent signed by several major junior recruits from both their usual recruiting ground of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, as well as Western Hockey League, along with some lower junior leagues.

Head coach Marc-André Élement has spoken about his desire to reach past the more traditional Quebec recruits in order to bring in as strong and varied of a talent pool as possible. He’s done that this year with three major junior recruits from the WHL.

Jeffrey De Witt provides Élement with a big, strong scoring option at centre. The 6’3 centre put up 27 goals in 66 games with the Red Deer Rebels. In his five year major junior career, he also made stops with the Kootenay Ice, Regina Pats, and Victoria Royals.

Ryan Vandervlis is another 6’3 centre from the WHL. His fourth and final WHL season in 2018, he scored 19 points in 19 games for the Lethbridge Hurricanes but was unable to complete the entire season. A campfire accident left him with burns on 60 per cent of his body and kept him in the hospital for nearly three months and required further rehabilitation afterward.

He came back to join the Red Deer vipers of the Heritage junior Hockey League, a Junior B league. He scored nine goals and 21 points in his nine games there and added 10 more in seven playoff games.

Rounding out the WHL group is Mike Maclean. Listed at 6’7 and weighing 234 pounds, his production does not match his size. With just 11 points in 104 WHL games with the Seattle Thunderbirds and the Prince George Cougars and over 100 penalty minutes last season, he looks to be a physical option for the Stingers.

Last year, the Stingers started this influx of western players with forwards like Zach Zorn and Colin Grannary (who as of the end of the season was set to have offseason surgery). They’re continuing it with Marshall Wilton, a player from the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League, where he put up 69 points in 54 games last season.

Moving East, the Stingers have letters of intent from several Quebec players as well. Several of which may be familiar with a key Stinger already.

Forwards Alex Katerinakis and Tyler Hylland of the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada of the QMJHL both played with the Stingers’ top winger Philippe Sanche. The two wingers finished productive seasons with 50 points in 67 games and 42 points in 69 games respectively. Like Sanche, Katerinakis finished his time with Armada wearing the captain’s C.

The team also has a letter from defenceman Pascal Corbeil who played some time with Sanche. He should join a very productive blueline where he would fit right in with the likes of Carl Neill, Simon Bourque, and Barley Lalonde. He dealt with injuries and missed time last season, scoring 26 points in 38 games, but notched 51 points in just 46 games the year before.

To close out the class so far, the Stingers are bringing in 2018 Memorial Cup champion Liam Murphy of the Acadie-Bathurst Titan and Chicoutimi Saguenéens in the QMJHL, and Alexandre Grisé. The latter is a small centre with three season of major junior experience and a 2019 season in the Quebec junior AAA hockey league.