The Saint Mary’s Huskies won’t have many new faces in their hockey lineup next season, but Halifax Mooseheads graduate Colby Pridham will be one of them.
Pridham, an assistant captain with the Mooseheads this season, is headed to Saint Mary’s in the fall, along with Tangier native Tyler Hawes of the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies.
The Huskies are only losing a handful of players from last year’s team that went 20-5-3 and finished as Atlantic University Sport’s runner-up to the New Brunswick Varsity Reds.
“They’ve got a solid group of young players,” said Pridham, a 5-foot-11, 177-pound left-winger/centre. “They were a really good team this year and they’ll be a good team for the next three years. That will be exciting to be a part of.”
The 20-year-old attended NHL training camp with the Tampa Bay Lightning last fall but a contract didn’t materialize. He returned to junior and battled a nagging ankle injury to post 15 goals and 20 assists for 35 points in 51 games — a dip in production from his 59-point breakthrough campaign in 2006-07.
Pridham, who will study business at Saint Mary’s, said he will need to do strength exercises for the ankle injury, which he expects to linger for the rest of his career.
Huskies head coach Trevor Stienburg sees Pridham stepping into a key role and making an immediate impact.
“He’s a good player on both sides of the puck and he’s a quality, quality person,” Stienburg said. “He can provide offence, he’s committed to defence, and he’s captain material.”
Hawes, a 6-foot-4, 224-pound winger, had a 29-goal campaign for Rouyn-Noranda. Stienburg said he likes Hawes’ work ethic and two-way game.
Stienburg also confirmed the Huskies have added blue-liner Justin Wallingford from the Kingston Frontenacs. The 6-foot-6, 226-pound captain had 50 points in 61 games.
Around the league, the Varsity Reds appear to have the inside track on Cape Breton Screaming Eagles standouts Dean Ouellet and Jordan Clendenning. The Acadia Axemen are believed to be close to adding Eagles blue-liner Beau Prokopetz.