Winnipeg’s Carter Loney has officially signed his National Letter of Intent with the University of Minnesota-Duluth to play hockey for the Bulldogs beginning in the 2021-22 season. Although news of the 18-year-old’s commitment came earlier this past year, pen was put to paper in Salmon Arm on Thursday.
In thanking the CSSHL’s RINK Hockey Academy, the MJHL’s Steinbach Pistons, the UMD Bulldogs and his current team, the BCHL’s Salmon Arm Silverbacks, the 5-foot-10, 165-pound centreman certainly has a rather significant supporting cast.
“I am very excited to officially become a Bulldog, and I couldn’t be happier with the school I’m going too and the process it took for it to happen,” Loney told Game On. “You only get to go through this process once and it’s something that’s very exciting to me. I’m very humbled to have gone through it with such a great program.”
Officially signing with the Bulldogs means that the former point-per-game MJHL star will soon be on his way to an American university education, while suiting up every week within the eight-team, Division I NCHC Conference of the NCAA. The UMD name will be familiar to Jets fans, as both defencemen Neal Pionk and Dylan Samberg have spent significant time with the program.
Back in late-June, Loney was dealt from the Pistons to Salmon Arm for veteran Matt Osadick, where the 18-year-old has already stepped into an offence-driving, play-making role. Smaller than some of his teammates, but still growing, the Winnipeg product developed his game at the RINK Hockey Academy, producing 34 goals and exactly 99 points in 99 regular season games with the RINK from U-15 through U-18.
“The trade was something that I saw coming and it didn’t catch me by surprise,” Loney said. “Just hearing about the type of players that come out of this league and how fast it is really caught my eye. I think it is one of the best leagues to play in if you really want to help prepare yourself for the next level. Everything has been going smoothly and they treat us very well around here.
Loney skated in 15 games for the Pistons at the end of the 2018-19 season and early playoffs, where he learned the ropes of the MJHL, picking up three goals and six points. This past season saw the Sioux City Musketeers’ draft pick (USHL) collect 16 goals and 50 points in 52 regular season games, before adding another two goals and one assist in four postseason contests.
Joining Loney in British Columbia is fellow RINK star Braden Fischer, who was also dealt from the MJHL back in June. The former Winnipeg Blues forward was shipped to the Silverbacks in exchange for Jayce Nikbaht for the start of the 2020-21 season. Salmon Arm went 30-23-5 in 2019-20, finishing sixth in the league. The team has been practicing every day and participating in games on the weekends. The regular season has not yet begun, as league representatives continue to wait for further direction from the provincial health authorities.