Sambrook credits Flyers for development


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When Medora’s Trent Sambrook joined the Manitoba Junior Hockey League’s Winkler Flyers in 2019, he admitted that he wasn’t sure what to expect.

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When Medora’s Trent Sambrook joined the Manitoba Junior Hockey League’s Winkler Flyers in 2019, he admitted that he wasn’t sure what to expect.

Four seasons later, the 21-year-old is now the captain for the Flyers and received the Brian Kozak award as the top defenceman in the league.

As Sambrook gears up for his final MJHL regular season games this weekend against the Dauphin Kings and the Niverville Nighthawks, he’s quick to credit others for his impressive campaign.

“It’s great to be recognized with the defenceman of the year award and it’s a huge honour to represent the Flyers, but it’s not all me,” Sambrook said. “A lot of the success I’ve had comes from my teammates and what they’ve been able to do, along with the support from my family back home and billets in Winkler.

“Our coaching staff has been amazing but there are so many people behind the scenes that the fans don’t get to see that help our team out a lot, especially when you first come here.”

Following four seasons with the Southwest Cougars U15 and U18 programs, Sambrook had 19 points in 55 games for the Flyers in 2019-20 and dressed in three playoff games before the season was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

He had two assists in eight contests in the fall of 2020 before the MJHL season had to be stopped again. Sambrook went down south and played in 11 games for the Charlotte Rush of the United States Premier Hockey League to round out the season.

When he returned to Winkler in 2021, he recorded 58 points in 49 games and had 14 points in 11 playoff contests as the Flyers lost in the semifinal round to the eventual champion Kings.

Sambrook enters this weekend with 51 points — 10 goals and 41 assists — in 55 games and is one point behind forward Mike Svenson for the team’s scoring title.

“I think the experience that I’ve gained over the last few years has probably helped me more than anything,” Sambrook said. “I’ve grown into the leadership role and I’ve definitely become more of a man than when I came here in 2019. With all of that, the skill just comes to you.

“I definitely feel like my ability to help out my teammates and work with the coaches has come a long way as well, which I think also comes from being here and knowing what the team is all about.

“A lot of the older guys helped me when I first got here, but Jayden McCarthy really made me a better player and a better person over the last few seasons. He’s an unbelievable guy and I learned so much from him.”

The Flyers’ bench also has a ton of knowledge to draw from as general manager and head coach Justin Falk is joined on the bench by Coltyn Bates and Ryan White, with former Wheat Kings Eric Fehr and Andrew Clark working as the director of player development and skills coach, respectively.

“Me and the guys joke in the dressing room that if you want to try and get away with something, it’s probably not going to happen as they’ve been through and seen everything themselves when they were playing,” Sambrook said.

“They are great people away from the rink well. It’s a top-notch group.”

Winkler is already locked into the third overall seed in the East Division for this year’s playoffs, which start next Friday against the Steinbach Pistons.

While the Pistons and the Centennial Cup host Portage Terriers are the main contenders to hoist the Turnbull Cup later this spring, Sambrook believes that the Flyers can challenge the favourites.

“I wouldn’t want to play against us if I was on another team in the league,” Sambrook said.

“We’re a hard-working group like we were last year and we’ve got a bunch of young guys that have stepped into bigger roles. They took those opportunities and ran with it, which has been awesome to see.”

No matter what happens to the Flyers in this year’s playoffs, Sambrook moves to Erie, Pa., next fall to play for the NCAA’s Mercyhurst Lakers, who he committed to last April.

“To get that done was a huge weight off my chest, but I’ve really been trying to focus on what I can do to help the Flyers here this season and really enjoy my last year of junior hockey,” Sambrook said.

“I’m looking forward to that next step, but the work doesn’t stop. You always have to come with your best, especially at the college level.”


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