Bruce MacGregor’s long path in the Alberta Junior Hockey League has brought him back full circle to his hometown.
The 19-year-old centre is returning to his native Sherwood Park for the upcoming fall season, after recently being brought on board by the Sherwood Park Crusaders.
“We are very happy and excited to add Bruce to our line-up,” said Crusaders general manager and head coach Adam Manah, in a team release. “He is a player we have wanted since he entered the league a few years ago. He brings size, experience, skill, and a ton of intangibles to the table for our hockey team.”
That experience part has been gained during previous stops with the Spruce Grove Saints, Drumheller Dragons and during a pair of stints with the Bonnyville Pontiacs
All told, MacGregor has played 125 games in the AJHL, notching 14 goals and 55 points.
Last season, the six-foot-one, 170 pound forward returned to Bonnyville, where he had two points in 14 games in the league’s split attempts at getting in a season during the COVID crisis, and was named an assistant captain for the Pontiacs.
It is his leadership which will likely be a key component, especially with the Crusaders expected to ice a young team as they try to rebuild back to where they basically left off in March of 2020 as the top-ranked Junior A team in Canada after posting a franchise-best 49-9-0 campaign.
“He is a player that competes and works extremely hard, plays with a lot of heart, and will be an important component to our leadership group moving into the 2021-2022 season,” Manah said. “We are counting on him to be a guy that can contribute offensively, play a 200-foot game, and be relied upon in critical situations.”
Meanwhile, the AJHL has announced its calendar of events for what is expected to be the return to a standard season for 2021-2022 after the steady stream of disappointments suffered over the last year and a half.
The league has plans to prepare for its 58th season with the inaugural AJHL Prospects Showcase from July 23 to 25 to provide players with “a new development experience as well as the opportunity for AJHL general managers, coaches and scouts to identify and evaluate prospects.”
Teams will begin training camps on August 20, with the 2021 exhibition season opening on August 27.
The AJHL will return to having 16 squads with the addition of the Blackfalds Bulldogs.
When the regular season begins on Sept. 17, the plans call for each team to return to a full 60-game schedule, including 16 interlock games, and two regular season games at the annual AJHL Showcase, which will be hosted by the Brooks Bandits.
A full schedule is expected to be announced in July.