The Kootenay Ice have recalled goaltender Declan Hobbs (1996) from the Saskatoon Contacts of the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League (SMHL).
The team made the announcement via Twitter Thursday morning.
Hobbs, a third-round selection (53rd overall) of the Kootenay Ice at the 2013 WHL Bantam Draft, has spent the entire 2014-15 campaign with the Contacts, going 15-11-0 with a 3.62 goals-against average (GAA) and 0.902 save percentage (SP).
“We think Declan is the goaltending future of our hockey club,” said Kootenay Ice general manager Jeff Chynoweth Thursday afternoon.
“We want to see him in practice. He’s been playing in midget and he’s had a good year in Midget AAA in Saskatoon. This is a little bit of a reward for him.”
Hobbs — a 6-foot, 175-pound native of Saskatoon — is in Cranbrook and will be with the Ice through the weekend.
Chynoweth added the team had hoped to keep Hobbs in training camp longer than they did, but with the three-headed goaltending battle between Wyatt Hoflin, Keelan Williams and Jayden Sittler raging on as it did, there simply wasn’t room to retain the 16-year-old puckstopper.
Williams, of course, eventually earned the back-up role behind Hoflin, while Sittler was re-assigned to the Fort McMurray Oil Barons of the Alberta Junior Hockey League before being traded to the Victoria Royals in exchange for a sixth-round bantam draft selection.
Sittler has since been dealt from the Royals to the Lethbridge Hurricanes in exchange for a seventh-round bantam selection. In 21 games split between Victoria and Lethbridge, the former Ice netminder is 6-11-0-0 with a 3.33 GAA, 0.912 SP and one shutout.
With both Hoflin and Williams healthy, there’s no guarantee as to whether or not Hobbs will see any game action as the Kootenay Ice host the Moose Jaw Warriors and Saskatoon Blades this weekend.
“That will be up to the coaching staff,” Chynoweth said. “He will have a couple days to practice.
“Ideally, when we put something together we like to have a player come in, have a practice or two and play a game or two during the course of his stay here in town.”
With eight healthy defencemen and 13 healthy forwards on the roster, Chynoweth said there are no plans to bring in any other young prospects anytime soon. But that can all change overnight.
“It’s tough to do that,” Chynoweth said. “But if the situation fits both the player’s current team and our team, we’ll definitely look at it.”
Hobbs is scheduled to travel back to Saskatoon on Monday.
The Kootenay Ice return to action Friday night when the Moose Jaw Warriors visit Western Financial Place.