The Bombers have recently had Robes, Newts, Pickle, Caigger and Tater - now, they have a big “Boss”.
The team announced the signing of prospect Cabrel LaBossiere May 12. LaBossiere, originally from Lorette, Man., is hoped to bring size and skill to the Bombers’ lineup. The forward stands at 6-foot-4, 195 pounds and is a former third round pick of the Brandon Wheat Kings in the WHL bantam draft.
“I’m super excited to be a part of a successful organization like Flin Flon. I’ve heard nothing but great things about the team and community and I can’t wait for the upcoming season,” said LaBossiere in a Bombers news release.
A former player for the Eastman Selects U18 AAA program out of Beausejour, LaBossiere put up 51 points in just over two full seasons with the Selects, including 30 points in 42 games in the 2018/19 season and 21 points last season. LaBossiere played one game with the Selects this year before the 2020/21 season was cancelled.
It isn’t just the size and stats that attracted the Bombers to LaBossiere. Both Bombers head coach and general manager Mike Reagan and Bombers Manitoba scout Mark Patton said the team is encouraged by his level of effort and hockey IQ.
“We are very excited to add a player with Cabrel’s size and skill set. We feel there is tremendous upside to his game. He has a great work ethic on and off the ice. I know he’s put in a ton of work in the gym in the last few months which is going to translate to success on the ice,” said Reagan.
“Cabrel isn’t only a physical threat, he is an intelligent player that oozes skill and has a history of producing at each level. He has elite level offensive upside, difficult to disengage from the puck and has the ability to create offence. He has good puck handling ability and is comfortable using his long reach to his advantage,” Patton said.
LaBossiere is the latest recruit in what appears to be a burgeoning pipeline of talent for the Bombers - he is the fourth player from the Selects to join the team, after forwards Matt Egan and Drayden Kurbatoff and defender Ethan McColm. All four played together on the team for both the 2018/19 and the 2019/20 seasons, with Kurbatoff leading the group with 49 points in their last full season.
With LaBossiere’s commitment, the Bombers are beefing up physically - as of May 12, nine of the Bombers’ players who are likely to play next season are 6-foot-2 or taller. That includes LaBossiere and three other offseason recruits - Egan, Dean Gorchynski and Cole Tanchuk.
Bomber brass looked further south for their latest recruit, announced May 19. Jacob Vockler, a 2003-born forward from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, is the latest player to put pen to paper with Flin Flon.
A fifth-round pick in the 2019 USHL draft, Vockler played most of his career in his hometown before moving this past season to Detroit, where he joined the famed Belle Tire U18 AAA program. Three former Belle Tire players suited up in the NHL this season, along with several others in the minor pro and college ranks.
In his first season away from home, Vockler ended the season second in team scoring, finishing with 52 points in 56 games. Vockler’s Belle Tire club also played 12 games in the Tier 1 Elite Hockey League (T1EHL) against some of the U.S.’ top U18 AAA teams, where Vockler played every game and finished with 13 points.
“Vockler is a highly skilled player that has a high hockey IQ and will be an exciting player to watch. We felt we needed to add a player with his offensive talent and we expect him to step in and produce right away,” said Reagan about his new recruit.
“I really liked what coach Mike Reagan had to say and the style of game he expects his team to play. After researching the history of the organization, I can’t think of a better place to begin my junior career,” said Vockler in a team-issued news release.
The Bombers have announced seven players as having committed to the team since they last played. Others include forwards Egan, Gorchynski and Jeremi Tremblay, defender Tanchuk and goalie Hunter Lolacher.