The University of Manitoba Bisons hockey team is bringing in a Brandonite and two former Wheat Kings.
The Bisons announced Wednesday that Brandon native Brock Sutherland, 21, and former Wheat Kings forwards Paul Ciarelli, 21, and Aaron Lewadniuk, 22, have signed letters of intent to play CIS hockey at U of M in 2012-13.
Sutherland, a graduate of the Brandon Midget AAA Wheat Kings, has spent the past five seasons in the Western Hockey League with the Lethbridge Hurricanes and Tri-City Americans before finishing his career with the Calgary Hitmen. The 6-foot-2, 205-pound defenceman scored two goals and notched 16 points and had a +25 plus/minus rating in 68 games this past season. He compiled nine goals, 56 points and 222 penalty minutes in 254 career WHL games.
For Sutherland, putting to use the five years of WHL scholarship money he has earned was important.
"For sure, after playing five years in the league, sometimes it doesn’t work out for guys to go pro and another good option is to go to school and its important for me to go and get my education," Sutherland said. "I have heard lots of good things about the CIS, a lot of Brandon guys have played there and said it’s a good league, so I am excited to get started."
Meanwhile, Ciarelli completed his four-year career with the Wheat Kings last month. The 6-foot-1, 203-pound centre finished with a career-high 15 goals and 30 points in 67 games for Brandon in 2011-12, with the Winnipeg native totalling 30 goals, 65 points and 207 penalty minutes in 239 career games in the WHL.
Lewadniuk completed his WHL career with the Wheat Kings in their 2010 Memorial Cup season, firing 52 goals and notching 133 points and 107 penalty minutes in 128 regular-season games over two years with Brandon. The 5-foot-11, 180-pound forward from Carman has spent the past two seasons playing professionally in the ECHL, scoring 25 goals and posting 52 points in 117 games with the Ontario Reign, Idaho Steelheads and Bakersfield Condors.
The Bisons, who feature 10 Westman natives or former Wheat Kings on the roster, were ranked third in the country last season and finished first in the Canada West conference with a 20-5-3 record before being eliminated in the semifinals by the Calgary Dinos.
» Brandon Sun
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition May 10, 2012