Hockey: AUS continues to head west for recruits

It used to be that no one in AUS men's hockey would announce their recruits until mid or late summer. Then Pete Belliveau returned to the conference and continued the practice from his Lakehead days and started sending out recruitment press releases from Dal in March and April. Now some of the other AUS coaches are joining the early publicity club, and no surprise to many, a good chunk of the names are from the WHL.

Now before the annual "the AUS are pirates" talk starts, some simple math. There are more people (and potential CIS hockey players) living in the city of Edmonton than the combined population of the provinces of New Brunswick and PEI - and they account for four CIS hockey schools. There are at least, if not more, folks in the city of Calgary than the population of Nova Scotia, which accounts for another four CIS hockey schools. Can you imagine if all seven of the Canada West teams were only able to recruit players who live in the cities of Edmonton and Calgary. Of course not. So why expect AUS schools to only recruit from their region if they want to be competitive nationally?

Tom Coolen at Acadia in the 1990's should probably get credit for being the first AUAA/AUS coach to look beyond Ontario for recruits. Darren Burns has continued the recruiting tradition at Acadia and Gardiner MacDougall certainly followed the same path when he took over the reins at UNB some ten years ago. Last season Brad Peddle landed some big western boys for StFX and Belliveau got some Junior "A" players from out west last year and now this recruiting season SMU's Trevor Steinburg has jumped into the "Dub" pool, while not ignoring the "O" and the "Q". No wonder those Canada West coaches grumble ...

Thanks to the recruit watchers over at HFBoards, here's who we know about so far coming to the AUS for the upcoming season:

D Brett Plouffe, Tri City (WHL) to Dal.
C Dan Joyce, Pictou County (MJAHL) to Dal.
F Brad McConnell, Camrose (AJHL) to Dal.
LW Keven Guérette-Charland, Gatineau / Val d'Or (QJMHL) to Moncton.
D Kyle Wharton, Syracuse (AHL) & Johnstown (ECHL) to SMU.
F Connor O’Donnell, Guelph (OHL) to SMU.
D Ryan Gottschalk, Guelph (OHL) to SMU.
RW Josh Domingues, Gatineau (QMJHL) to SMU.
C Jason Bast, Moose Jaw (WHL) to StFX.
D Derek Claffey, Swift Current (WHL) to StFX.
RW Michael Stickland, Swift Current (WHL) to SMU.
LW Chris MacKinnon, Kitchener (OHL) to SMU.
F Pierre-Alexandre Vandell, Shawinigan (QMJHL) to Dal.
RW Pat Daley, Peterborough (OHL) to Dal.
D Ben MacAskill, Halifax (QMJHL) & Truro (MJAHL) to Dal.
LW Joe Gaynor, Plymouth (OHL) to Acadia.

D Simon Lacroix, Val d’Or (QMJHL) to Moncton.
C Brett Theberge, Peterborough (OHL) to Dal.
C Alexandre Leduc, Saint John / Gatineau (QMJHL) to Moncton

2010 Recruiting thread at HFBoards.
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  1. David where do you see UNB recruting from? Where they only need 3 or 4 players do you see Gardiner recruting from the CHL or going after players with pro experience? Thanks!

  2. Both. He's always on the watch for character players, i.e. former captains for example, whether they be fresh out of junior or have tried the minor pro ranks. He usually wants guys who are going to be around for three or four years, true student-athletes, and rarely goes for the quick fix (of course incoming goalie Martin Houle is an exception ...).

  3. It's interesting how some programs seem to want to announce in the Spring, as opposed to say UNB, Saskatchewan and Alberta who will wait.
    The calibre of player decides a lot as well.
    Case in point Scott Jackson who is in the Tampa organization.
    He had committed to the U. of A. in the spring of 2008, but was still pursuing an AHL opportunity, which he eventually landed.
    Until early September you never really now what you