A fresh crop of Flin Flon Bombers recruits have been announced by the team, including a slew of new defencemen, a sizable young forward and a heralded Saskatchewan goalie.
Add another defenceman to the fold for next year’s Flin Flon Bombers squad. The club added some west coast flavour to their blueline June 30, announcing the signing of defender Collin Jennings.
A small defenceman at 5-foot-10, 141 pounds, the 2002-born player from North Vancouver played last season in B.C.’s competitive AAA U18 ranks. Don’t let his size fool you - as a top player with the Vancouver NW Hawks AAA program, Jennings brought defensive clout and a mean streak with him. When the season ended, Jennings had 22 points and 110 penalty minutes in 37 games. Jennings played nine games of junior B hockey in B.C. over the past two seasons with Comox Valley and Campbell River, racking up 18 more penalty minutes and an assist over that time.
Jennings’ work ethic drew praise from Bombers B.C. scout Hayden-James Berra.
"Collin is a hard working defenceman who finds success through his willingness to outwork his opponents,” he said.
“His desire to compete is paralleled by his attitude off the ice which adds depth to his two way style of play."
Jaxon Martens is the latest youngster to join the Bombers’ fold. Martens signed on the dotted line with the team July 2.
Experienced Bomber prospect watchers may know Martens’ name. The 5-foot-11, 161 pound forward from Warman, Sask. played during training camp for the Bombers last season and was one of the final forwards cut from the team late in camp. Martens made his way into exhibition games against Nipawin, OCN and Swan Valley before packing his bags and heading south.
Martens doesn’t appear to have taken the snip personally. After returning to the Swift Current Legionnaires U18 AAA program, Martens was almost a point-per-game player, finishing second in team scoring with 38 points in 43 games, adding two more points in four playoff games. In Swift Current, Martens played on a team with tons of Bomber ties - former Flin Flon prospects Hunter Larocque and Rhett Evjen played, along with listed players Justin Dueck and Ashton Fishley and 2017 SJHL bantam draft choice Brandon von Hagen. Former Bomber star forward Todd Hornung is an assistant coach with the club.
Martens’ calling cards, according to Bombers head scout Jon Klassen, include his skating skill and versatility, having played all three forward positions at different points with Swift Current.
"Jaxon is an effortless skater. He has very good speed and loves to have the puck. He is a great play maker but also has the ability to score. I like his versatility as he can play wing and center,” said Klassen.
The Bombers’ crease might be a little more crowded. The team announced the commitment of goalie Jared Thompson July 4, giving the team three goalies locked down heading into the start of the season.
Thompson, a 2002-born netminder from Regina, played in the Regina Pat Canadians U18 AAA program - the same team fellow Bomber commit Noah Kuntz played on last season.
Starting his third year with the Pat C’s, Thompson ended the season as one of the league’s best goalies, posting a sterling 1.61 goals-against-average and a .920 save percentage in 18 games. Thompson put up similar numbers in four playoff starts, cutting his goals-against-average to 1.51 while keeping his .920 save percentage. Thompson was later named the league’s top goaltender - an honour bestowed to players like one-time Bomber, Team Canada World Junior goalie and current pro Connor Ingram.
Thompson is listed at 5-foot-11 and 174 pounds and was picked by Melville in the 2017 SJHL draft.
Both the Bombers’ goalies from last year’s playoff triumph - 2000-born Jacob Delorme and 2001-born Cal Schell - are eligible and expected to return to the club. Thompson, a year younger than Schell and two younger than Delorme, could provide flexibility for the team in case of injury or personnel changes. After a nightmarish set of injuries, underperformance and roster turnover in the first two-thirds of last season, the Bombers dressed 10 goalies over last season, finally arriving at a Delorme/Schell tandem at the January 10 roster deadline.
"Jared has the potential to be a very good goalie in our league,” said Klassen.
“He is a very focused goalie who continues to develop every year."
Evidently, bigger is better with one of the Bombers’ latest young players. Ethan McColm was announced as the Bombers’ next committed player July 7.
McColm is a former teammate of another Bomber recruit, forward Drayden Kurbatoff. The two players each were a part of last year’s Eastman Selects U18 AAA club.
A hulking 6-foot-3, 179 pound left-handed defender, McColm put up 25 assists and 30 points in 37 games with the Selects last season, including adding one assist in six playoff games. The defenceman also played a pair of games as an affiliate player with the Waywayseecappo Wolverines, scoring an assist.
The Oakbank, Man. native was picked in both the MJHL and WHL drafts, going in the fourth round to the Selkirk Steelers and being picked in the eighth round of the WHL draft by the Regina Pats. McColm’s major junior rights are now owned by the Prince George Cougars - Bombers Manitoba scout Mark Patton said the defender would attend camp with the Cougars this summer.
“He is a 6-foot-3 defender with good reach and physical upside. He is a solid, fluid skater with excellent stride length and overall game speed. Difficult to play against, effective in all three zones and very smart,” Patton said.
Ashton Ferster was welcomed back into the maroon and white fold by the team July 9, signing a letter of commitment with the club.
The Prince Albert-born forward played with his hometown U18 AAA Mintos, a team that has produced talents like Flin Flon-born former Bomber captain Ryan Fox. In his second season with the Mintos, Ferster, wearing an assistant captain’s “A” with the club, finished the year with 21 points in 31 games. His numbers a season earlier were around the same, with him adding 31 points in 42 games.
At 6-foot-4, Ferster will bring size to the Bomber forward group. Only two other returning SJHL forwards - Erik Boers and Dain Sardelli of the Estevan Bruins - are taller than Ferster.
Ferster was picked by the Bombers in the third round of the 2018 SJHL draft and is also in the affiliate system of the WHL’s Medicine Hat Tigers. Ferster will attend camp with the Tigers this fall.
"Ashton is a big strong two way forward with a very good hockey IQ. He's a proven goalscorer and has great offensive instincts,” said Bombers head scout Jon Klassen.
Ferster, a 2003-born player, has also announced intentions to leave the Mintos’ AAA program. In case he does not make the Bombers or Tigers out of camp, he will instead join the Tisdale Trojans AAA squad, joining other Bomber prospects including Hunter Lolacher, Kylynn Olafson and Cole Tanchuk. The Trojans announced Ferster’s commitment May 2.