The Winnipeg Freeze have pulled the trigger on a trade that will see Sequoia Swan and Matthew Yakubowski dressed in black, white and blue for the 2021-22 season. Heading over to the Freeze from the Winkler Flyers are two local products.
On paper, the trade was officially Swan and Yakubowski to the Freeze in exchange for a third round selection as well as a compensatory second round pick in 2022.
“When I first got the job with the Freeze, Yakabowski and Swan were two players I identified as wanting to pursue for next season,” first-year Freeze head coach and GM Harry Mahesh told Game On. “I was lucky enough work with both this past season in Winkler. With the Freeze being a new team it is really important to bring in solid character players to help create a positive culture with this team.”
Swan and Yakubowski both entered the world in 2002 in Winnipeg. But their similarities stop right about there. Their respective paths to both the MJHL and the Freeze are very different.
Swan, 19, is a 5-foot-10, 185-pound left winger who grew up through the RINK system. He made his MJHL debut with the OCN Blizzard in 2018, skating in 58 games, before adding another 55 games in 2019-20. A feisty player, Swan put together 16 goals, 38 points and 398 penalty minutes over his two seasons with the Blizzard. He had one point and 22 penalty minutes in seven games for the Flyers last season.
Yakubowski, 18, is a six-foot, 170-pound defenceman raised through Winnipeg’s AAA hockey program. Spending a season with the U-17 Warriors before joining the U-18 Bruins for two years, Yakubowski finished his U-18 career with seven goals, 34 points and 30 penalty minutes in 67 games. He skated in four contests with Winkler prior to the league-wide COVID-19 shutdown.
“Yakabowski is a former captain of the U- 18 AAA Bruins; it was a team that went deep into the playoffs in his final season,” Mahesh added. “Swan at 19 has a wealth of experience in the MJHL and is well-known to opponents around the league. Both guys are great in the dressing room and leaders as well. They are going to be big pieces in our upcoming season.”
In late-April, the MJHL announced its plan for a hopeful return to a full season of junior action this fall. It has been two years since the Turnbull Cup has been presented.