The Superior International Junior Hockey League has recently added another Manitoban to one of its member team’s rosters. 18-year-old Hamiota product, Kayden Sutherland has agreed to terms on a deal with the expansion club Kam River Fighting Walleye for the 2020-21 season.
“Landing a recruit like Kayden Sutherland is a testament to our Hockey Ops staff on how hard they are working on bringing in the best team possible in the inaugural season,” said GM Kevin McCallum in a team-issued press release. “We were competing for this player against some big teams in some bigger leagues. It’s exciting to bring Kayden in and we believe that he will be an impact player right away.”
The 5-foot-11, 170-pound defenceman spent the past season with the AAA Yellowhead Chiefs U18 squad, putting together 11 goals, 35 points and 14 penalty minutes 46 regular season games. Prior to joining the Chiefs, the 2002-born blueliner earlier spent time with the AAA Brandon Wheat Kings U15 program, where he scored four goals, 17 points and 22 penalty minutes in 36 games during the 2016-17 season.
“I am very excited to be welcoming Kayden to the squad,” head coach Matt Valley added. “He’s a very versatile player in that he plays forward and defence and should prove to be an every situation kind of player for us. I’m very proud of the collective effort that went into making this happen. He’s obviously a guy who can contribute on the scoresheet which is always nice to have. Couldn’t be happier to bring him to Thunder Bay to show him what we’re all about in The Pond.”
Sutherland will join Caleb Resch of Winnipeg, who earlier committed to the new program for the 2020-21 season as well, following two seasons of Manitoba Major Junior Hockey League play with the Raiders Jr. Hockey Club, and Ben Couvier of Miniota, who spent the 2019-20 season in the Prairie Junior Hockey League, lacing up for the Carrot River Outback Thunder.
Although comprised of a handful of local Thunder Bay products, the Fighting Walleye will boast talent from the United States, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia, in joining the former six-team, SIJHL. Now alongside Fort Frances, Thunder Bay, Red Lake and Dryden in Ontario, the cross-border league also has teams operating out of Thief River Falls and Wisconsin in the United States.