The Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League’s Flin Flon Bombers just became a bit more ‘Manitoban’. Following the conclusion of the COVID-19 shortened 2019-20 SJHL season, the Bombers quickly became active in the signing department, putting the finishing touches on deals with Manitobans Drayden Kurbatoff and Reece Richmond.
After the offseason signings of Jordan Pfoh (Norman Northstars), Cole Duperreault (Beardy’s Blackhawks), Noah Kuntz (Regina Pat-Canadians), Nathan Gagne (Ontario Hockey Academy), Ayden Lane (Yale Hockey Academy) and Mackenzie Carson (Tisdale Trojans), the Bombers added two more pieces of Manitoban talent to the roster for the coming season.
Reece Richmond, 17, will look to join his brother Ryder on the back-end for the Bombers next season. The 5-foot-11, 195-pound blueliner put up nine goals, 48 points and 58 penalty minutes in 40 games for the AAA Yellowhead Chiefs in 2019-20, following a 12-goal, 49-point campaign in 2018-19. The Forrest, MB. product also skated in six games with the Manitoba Junior Hockey League’s Portage Terriers this past season.
“Reece is a defenceman we have been working on getting in our lineup for over a year now,” said Bombers head coach Mike Reagan in a team-issued press release. “He brings good offensive instincts and has been one of the best players in Manitoba AAA for the last two seasons.”
Drayden Kurbatoff, 18, suited up for three teams this past season, skating in 44 games as captain of the AAA Eastman Selects, where he earned 23 goals, 49 points and 62 penalty minutes. He then played four games for the Dauphin Kings of the MJHL and one contest for the MMJHL’s Fort Garry Twins. The six-foot-, 170-pound forward from Grunthal added four goals and six points in six postseason games for the Selects this past season.
“Drayden is a solid player who plays relentlessly on both sides of the puck,” said Bombers scout Mark Patton in a release. “Strong on his feet with good physical strength, allowing him to play in traffic. He gets to dangerous spots offensively and utilizes his quick release and heavy shot.”
Also this offseason, former Bombers Alec Malo (University of Manitoba Bisons), Caleb Franklin (VIU Mariners), Cole Refuse (Acadia Axemen), Dane First (Aurora University Spartans) and Troy Quinn (UWS Yellowjackets) have each committed to post-secondary hockey for the coming 2020-21 season. It has been nothing short of a busy three months for Flin Flon.
After advancing to the SJHL semifinal with a series victory over Humboldt, the Bombers saw their season cut short in the wake of the current pandemic. The 2019-20 Sherwood Hockey Division winners will look for redemption in the 2020-21 SJHL season with a new-look squad, missing the likes of eight graduating players.