As Sager posted earlier today the Alberta Golden Bears announced the commitment of six players for the upcoming 2009-2010 season, and as mentioned the biggest name on that list is four-year WHL netminder Travis Yonkman.
The Saskatoon native put up impressive numbers in his final two seasons with the Swift Current Broncos, posting a career high 31 wins in 2007-2008. Yonkman's numbers in '07-'08 are eerily similar to the career season of former Bears goalie Aaaron Sorochan who put up a 35 -19 - 8 mark with a 0.917 GAA with the Lethbridge Hurricanes back in '04-'05. Compare those numbers to Yonkman's 31 - 19 - 6 record and 0.909 GAA in '07-'08 and the two seasons are not far off. Yonkman will not be handed the starting job after the departure of four year starter Sorochan, as Real Cyr will be looking to push Yonkman for the title of number one goalie. Cyr backed up Sorochan last season and filled in admirably as a rookie when Sorochan went down with an injury in the first half of the season. It would not surprise me if the two split time until head coach Eric Thurston feels it's time to run with one or the other. Yonkman may have the inside track between the two to capture the job out of camp based on his WHL resume - but more than any other position goaltender is a 'what have you done for me lately' postion, so things can change rapidly.
An interesting side-note with Yonkman, the Saskatchewan Huskies must have been trying feverishly to recruit the hometown boy with starting goalie Jeff Harvey entering his final year of eligibilty - the Dawgs would have loved to have Yonkman spend a season behind Harvey and then step into a starting role the next season.
The Bears also added three to their back-end including: Colin Joe, Ian Barteaux, and Reade Wolansky.
Joe joins the Alberta boys after five years in the WHL and was a member of the 2004-2005 WHL champion Kelowna Rockets. After seeing Joe play last season, he should be a steady defensive presence who will be given the chance to step up and perform on special teams as well.
Barteaux is coming off his best season of major junior point production wise, as he scored 10 goals and added 19 assists with the Kootenay Ice. He will also bring some needed toughness to the d-core after leading the Ice in PIM last season with 153.
Wolansky will be joining the Bears after spending a season with the NCAA school Sacred Heart University of the Atlantic Hockey Conference. Wolansky is a Fort Saskatchewan, AB product.
Up front the Bears have the commitment of both Sean Ringrose and Michael MacAngus.
Ringrose spent two seasons with the Medicine Hat Tigers after spending three seasons in the AJHL. The Edmonton native scored a combined 38 goals in his two WHL seasons.
Rounding out Thurston's six recrutis is another Edmonton native, Michaeal MacAngus who spent parts of four seasons in the WHL with Saskatoon, Regina and Prince Albert.