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Grunsten and Russell Lead MMJHL Player of the Month Honours

Photo of Caelan Russell by Scott Stroh

Grunsten and Russell Lead MMJHL Player of the Month Honours

With 18 points in 10 games, Conner Grunsten of the Transcona Railer Express led his team into a tie for top spot in the Manitoba Major Junior Hockey League.

For his tremendous start to the 2021-22 season, the 6-foot-3, 200-pound power forward was named the MMJHL’s Player of the Month.

During the first 10 games of the first full campaign in nearly two years, Grunsten had 11 goals and is not only tied for the scoring lead with TJ Matuszewski of the Pembina Valley Twisters and Matthew Smith of the Stonewall Jets but is also second in goals scored, one behind the leader Griffin Haight of the St. James Canucks.

Grunsten, whose cousin is Colorado Avalanche forward Darren Helm, is a graduate of West Kildonan Collegiate where he played high school hockey up to Grade 11, then moved on to be the captain of the AA Hawks Midgets. He was acquired by Transcona in a trade from the Raiders in 2020.

This is Grunsten’s fifth season in the MMJHL.

Meanwhile, Caelan Russell of the Pembina Valley Twisters was named Defenseman of the Month. Russell, who is the Twisters Player of the Month in the next edition of Game On Magazine, had eight goals and 14 points in 11 games as he helped the Twisters join the Railer Express in top spot in the MMJHL.

Justin Powers of Transcona was the goalie of the month. Powers played five games, went 5-0-0 and made 120 saves. He finished with a goals against average of 0.80 and an eye-popping save percentage of .967.

Former Interlake Lightning star Cole Emberly of the Stonewall Jets was Rookie of the Month. The 5-foot-6, 135-pound, 18-year-old from Stony Mountain, Man., had nine goals and 14 points in 11 games.

Covered his first junior hockey game for the Sarnia Observer in 1968. Covered his first Jets game for the Winnipeg Free Press in 1980. Still thinks hockey is the bees knees.

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