This weekend, three teams from the Manitoba Junior Hockey League – including the recently rebranded Neepawa Titans – banded together with the Alberta Junior Hockey League’s Sherwood Park Crusaders in a sizeable four-way deal.
The key cog in the trade is Winnipeg product Mitchell Joss, to whom Sherwood Park has been after for some time. The 2001-born forward is heading to Alberta from the Waywayseecappo Wolverines via the Winnipeg Blues.
“We are thrilled to be adding Mitchell Joss,” Crusaders’ head coach and GM Adam Manah said. “This is a deal we have been working on for a month now, and to say we are excited is an understatement. Mitchell is a player that brings it all. He is smart, skilled, crafty with the puck, competes hard, and probably his biggest attribute is he can score goals. He is a player that has put up great numbers at every level, and we fully expect him to be a guy that is going to have a big impact on our line-up in 21-22. We welcome Mitchell and the Joss family to the Crusaders.”
The Wolverines sent 2004-born Caden Zaplitny to Winnipeg in exchange for the rights to Joss. The 19-year-old was then flipped by Wayway to Sherwood Park for 2001-born forward Zafir Rawji (Edmonton, AB) and Winnipeg-born defender Brandon McCartney (2002-born). In order to fulfill the trade, Neepawa was sent Kieran Thiessen in exchange for the MJHL list rights of McCartney.
In simpler terms:
To Waywayseecappo: Brandon McCartney, Zafir Rawji
To Winnipeg: Caden Zaplitny, Future Considerations
To Neepawa: Kieran Thiessen
To Sherwood Park: Mitchell Joss
McCartney, 19, suited up in 12 games for Sherwood Park in 2020-21, where the defenceman scored one goal and added three assists in AJHL play.
Rawji, 19, scored five goals and 12 points in 20 games for the Crusaders last year, while adding 17 penalty minutes alongside his teammate McCartney.
Zaplitny, 16, spent the past season with the Winnipeg Thrashers U-18 AAA program, where he managed three goals and four points in four games. He had 30 goals and 56 points with the U-17 Thrashers in 2019-20.
Thiessen, 19, played in his second season with Wayway last year, producing a goal and four points in 10 games. He had three goals and seven points in 27 games the year prior.
Joss, 19, skated in just six games for the NAHL’s Minnesota Wilderness last season, scoring once. He had 30 goals and 71 points in 57 games for the Blues in 2019-20.