With the Western Hockey League officially ruling that it will allow its players to join their respective rights-holding Junior ‘A’ clubs until the 2020-21 WHL season gets underway in January, many high-level Manitobans have flocked to the Manitoba Junior Hockey League.
Amongst the many Major Junior returnees is Brandon product, Daemon Hunt. Property of the Virden Oil Capitals, the 18-year-old defenceman has been loaned to Virden until December 20, (alongside fellow WHL products Conor Geekie, Grady Lane, Jake Poole and Garrett Sambrook) where he has already suited up in two games for the MJHL club nearest his hometown.
In those two games, the 2020 NHL draft selection of the Minnesota Wild has helped the Oil Caps to two victories – a team that has only lost one of its eight games, while picking up 15 of a possible 16 points on the season. The 2002-born defender scooped up three goals, four points and two penalty minutes this past weekend, scoring a goal and an assist on Friday, before putting up two more tallies and finishing as one of the game’s three stars. For this performance, Hunt was named the MJHL’s Interior Division Star of the Week.
Joining Hunt as the other two stars, are Steinbach’s Rylan Bettens (Southeast Division) and Waywayseecappo’s Mackenzie Belinski (Northwest Division). The two also had productive weekends, putting up big numbers in their two respective contests.
Bettens, 20, is operating at just over a point-per-game pace this season. This past weekend of play certainly helped boost his numbers, as the Winnipeg product collected three goals and five points in his two contests. Having previously played with both the Brandon Wheat Kings and the Portland Winterhawks, Bettens returned to Steinbach in 2019-20, where earned 15 goals and 26 points in 54 games. His weekend was highlighted by a three-point outing on Saturday, following his one-goal, one-assist effort the day prior.
Belinski, 20, of Vista, now has seven goals and 14 points in just eight contests this season, following a weekend of play that saw the fourth year MJHL veteran score four goals and seven points in two games. He registered two goals and four points on Friday, before scoring another two goals and an assist the following day. Now sitting alone atop the league leaders scoreboard, Belinski will look to build upon his numbers as the season wears on.