On Monday it was announced that the University of Manitoba had signed former Manitoba Junior Hockey League stars Josh Tripp, Bradly Goethals and Chase Brakel to standard U-Sports player commitments. After already making public the early commitments of fellow 2018-19 MJHL players Brian Harris and Tony Apetagon in early May, this trio of June signings further cements the future mindset of the 2019-20 version of The Herd.
“We are very excited to welcome three of the best graduating CJHL players in Canada to the Bisons,” said Head Coach Mike Sirant in a media release. “All three of these players bring outstanding offensive statistics, plus impressive individual and team achievements to the Bisons.”
“Bradly Goethals is a high-end, skilled player who has tremendous speed, excellent puck skills and can score goals,” Sirant continued. “Josh Tripp is a really skilled and competitive player, who is always around the puck and scores — as evident by his league-leading 36 goals this season. Chase Brakel is an exceptional ‘complete player’ who has the proven ability to raise his game to the highest level in the playoffs; he brings an extensive winning resume to the Bisons including multiple MJHL and Anavet Cup Championships”.
Tripp, 21, spent the 2018-19 season with his hometown Swan Valley Stampeders, helping propel his team to the league finals for the very first time. Despite losing in overtime of Game Seven, Tripp had a sensational campaign for the Stamps, putting up 36 goals and 84 points in 57 regular season games, before going off with 11 goals and 21 points in 17 postseason contests. Tripp took home the league MVP award, was named a First Team All-Star, while leading the league in both goals and points.
Goethals, 20, also suited up alongside Tripp with Swan Valley for the 2018-19 MJHL campaign. He finished second in league scoring, five points behind Tripp, with seven less games played. His 34 goals and 79 points were also career highs. The Ile des Chenes native has also dressed in 95 Western Hockey League games for the Everett Silvertips and Saskatoon Blades, putting up 19 goals and 39 points.
Brakel, 20, had an interesting campaign, beginning the season with Cornell University, before coming back home to lead the Portage Terriers to a league championship and Anavet Cup victory. After scoring 26 goals and 58 points for the Terriers while serving as team captain in 2017-18, Brakel returned to Portage and dressed in 21 regular season games, scoring nine times, while adding 11 assists. He put up eight up goals and 22 points in 15 MJHL playoff games.
This news out of the University of Manitoba comes as a form of offensive support to a Bisons team that struggled to find goals in the 2018-19 season. In going 6-20-2 on the season, U of M only managed 66 goals in 28 games – an average of 2.36 goals per game, which ranked second worst in the conference and third from last in all of U-Sports. The acquisitions of Tripp, Goethals and Brakel should help counteract that alarming statistic.