The Trail Smoke Eaters added three significant tools to its 2014-15 season toolbox this week with the commitment of a pair of former Beaver Valley Nitehawks as well as a blue-chip prospect from Minnesota.
Smoke Eater coach Nick Deschenes announced the signing of Beaver Valley Nitehawk goaltender Brett Clark and rugged defenceman Sheldon Hubbard as well as signing offensive-defenceman Ryan Swanson from Eden Prairie, Minn.
“He was the top scoring defenceman in the state of Minnesota for high-school hockey,” said Deschenes.
The six-foot-two, 180 pound defenceman scored 14 goals and 37 assists for Holy Family Catholic School in 25 games last year.
The 19-year-old D-man has committed to play for Army in Div. 1 of the NCAA for 2015-16, which makes him the second Army commit, along with Conneticut native Bryan Gerstenfeld, that the Smokies have signed this summer.
“We expect them to play together and complement each other very well,” said Deschenes.
He added that he was happy with the recruiting progress and optimistic for when the team finally hits the ice for its training camp on Aug. 29.
The Smokies coaching staff had ample time to scout Clark, 19, and Hubbard, 18, as the two Grand Prairie natives helped the Nitehawks to the Cyclone Taylor Cup in Nelson in April and their first Keystone Cup Western Canadian championship a week later.
Clark was named the Keystone tournament MVP stopping 102 of 106 shots with a goals against average of 1.00 over four games. He won the most games of any goalie in the KIJHL last season, 22, with a GAA of 2.73 and a save percentage of .916.
The six-foot-one, 190 pound Hubbard meanwhile was a force on the blue line for the Hawks accumulating the second most points for defenceman with 12-11-23 in 42 games while racking up 103 penalty minutes.
Hubbard also played in five games as an AP for the Smoke Eaters last season netting two assists and six penalty minutes. The pair will join former Hawk teammate Dallas Calvin in the Smokies lineup.