It didn’t take long for folks around the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League to notice Braden Saretsky after he arrived in Kimberley following a trade with the Summerland Steam.
Apparently hockey minds outside the KIJHL were watching intently as well.
Friday, the Canmore Eagles of the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) announced Saretsky had signed with the team.
“I’ve wanted to play Junior ‘A’ hockey my whole life and I’m very excited about the opportunity to play in the AJHL,” Saretsky said in an Eagles press release. “My coach, Jerry Bancks, told me to go play for a team that likes you, and Andrew Milne showed some real commitment to me, so that’s where I’m going to play. I’ve visited Canmore as a kid and really liked what I saw. I can’t wait to get there and start the season.”
During the 2014-15 KIJHL campaign, Saretsky blossomed with the Dynamiters. Acquired from the Steam in exchange for forward Tyson Klingspohn Nov. 29, Saretsky put forth 14 goals and 41 points in 25 games with the Nitros. In all, the 19-year-old West Kelowna native rattled off 19 goals and 54 points in 44 games this past season.
“I’m very happy for [Braden] that the Canmore Eagles will give him an opportunity to play Junior ‘A’ hockey and potentially earn a U.S. scholarship,” Bancks said in an Eagles press release.
While his regular-season numbers were great, it was Saretsky’s big-game ability in the playoffs that solidified the fact he would be fielding calls from Junior ‘A’ clubs in western Canada upon completing the season in Kimberley.
The 5-foot-11 forward showed his versatility, producing from both the wing and the centre position, tallying 18 goals and 29 points in 22 KIJHL playoff games. Those totals were good enough to lead the Nitros in playoff scoring as the team went on to claim Kimberley’s first KIJHL title since the Kimberley Knights won it all in 1980.
If not for the outstanding play of goaltender Tyson Brouwer, Saretsky likely would’ve laid claim to the Dynamiters Playoff MVP award.
At the 2015 Cyclone Taylor Cup in Mission, Saretsky added one goal and three points in four games.
“Everyone wants a winner on their team and Braden is a winner,” said Andrew Milne, Eagles head coach and general manager, in a team release. “Braden is a hard-working, committed player and we are thrilled that he is coming to join the Eagles.
“Jerry [Bancks] runs a very good hockey program down in Kimberley, so I’m confident that Braden can successfully make the jump to Junior ‘A’ hockey.”
The Eagles finished the 2014-15 season sixth in the AJHL’s Viterra South Division with a record of 27-31-2. Having the goal-scoring prowess of Saretsky should only help to improve the Eagles chances in the competitive AJHL South.