BROOKS, AB (November 30, 2015) – The Brooks Bandits of the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) have acquired 1997-born defenceman Tristan Thompson (Canmore, AB) and 1996-born forward Landon Welykholowa (Calgary, AB) from the Fort McMurray Oil Barons in exchange for 1997-born forwards Hayden Ursulak (Calgary, AB) and Will Conley (Strathmore, AB), as well as future considerations, the team announced today.
Thompson, 18, is committed to the NCAA Division I University of Alaska-Fairbanks, and had scored 14 points (5 goals, 9 assists) in 23 games with the Olds Grizzlys before being acquired by Fort McMurray today. Last season, Thompson scored 16 points (9 goals, 7 assists) in 55 games with the Drumheller Dragons.
“Tristan is a left shot, puck moving defenceman, and that is exactly what we were looking for,” said Bandits head coach and general manager Ryan Papaioannou. “He plays with intensity and wants to be a winner.
“We feel he has the ability to play on our power play and add to what we already have on the back end,” Papaioannou added. “Tristan now gives us 4 NCAA Division I committed defencemen and we are excited to have him in the lineup.”
Welykholowa, 19, was Fort McMurray’s leading scorer this season, recording 22 points (10 goals, 12 assists) in 27 games, including a team-leading 7 power play goals, accounting for more than a third of the Oil Barons’ power play production.
Last season, Welykholowa scored 9 points (1 goal, 8 assists) in 16 games with Fort McMurray, after returning from the Saskatoon Blades of the Western Hockey League (WHL). The 6’0”, 190lb forward has played in 66 career WHL games, scoring 14 points (6 goals, 8 assists). He also played 3 games as a Bandit in the 2012-13 season as an affiliate, before joining the Calgary Canucks in 2013-14 where he scored 17 points (9 goals, 8 assists) in 20 games.
“Landon brings us size, strength and an ability to win key face-offs,” said Papaioannou. “He was previously with our program and now years later we are fortunate to be able to introduce him back into the fold.
“He will bring another element to our front end and power play, and we are optimistic about what he will be able to bring from a leadership perspective as well,” he added.
Ursulak, 18, was in his second full season with the Bandits after being recruited from the Edge School. In 63 career AJHL games, Ursulak recorded 19 points (7 goals, 12 assists). Conley, 18, was in his first full season of Junior A competition after being acquired from the Waterloo Black Hawks of the United States Hockey League (USHL). In 23 career AJHL games, Conley scored 10 points (5 goals, 5 assists).
The Bandits would like to thank Hayden and Will for their dedication to the organization and wish them the best of luck in Fort McMurray. The organization also welcomes Tristan and Landon to Brooks, and looks forward to their projected debuts for the team on Thursday night in Okotoks when the Bandits take on the Oilers at 7:00 PM.
The Bandits host two home games this weekend; Friday against Spruce Grove, and Saturday on Teddy Bear Toss Night against the Whitecourt Wolverines, with toys thrown on the ice after Brooks’ first goal donated to the Scotiabank Smiles for Christmas program. Tickets are on sale online at tickets.brooksbandits.ca, by phone at (403) 501-0122, or in person at the Centennial Regional Arena.
(photos – left, DrumhellerOnline.com, right, Dan LinesFort McMurray Oil Barons)