CANMORE – A trio of Eagles have been recognized by the AJHL for their standout play this season.
On Friday (March 27), the league announced the all-league teams from the 2019-20 season. Eagles leading scorer Alex Young was named to the south division team, while his teammate Devin Chapman and Dylan Witzke were named to the all-rookie south division team.
The selected players are voted upon by general managers and coaches of the AJHL. For the second year in a row, Calgary-native Alex Young was the team’s most prolific scorer, racking up 82 points in the regular season and adding 13 in the playoffs.
“This was a no brainer for Alex," said Eagles head coach and general manager Andrew Milne.
"He’s one of the best players in the league. We had expectations for Alex at the start of the year and he fulfilled those … I’m not shocked and I am glad he was acknowledged for his play.”
Young entered the AJHL three years ago as a 16-year-old and impressed many in the league, something Milne said is very difficult to do.
“He’s been with us for three years and people forget that. As a 16-year-old playing junior hockey –that’s not an easy task and for him to have the success he had, it speaks to his skill level.”
Milne was quick to point out Young’s maturity level as another reason for his success and something he watched grow over the past three seasons.
“The biggest jump for Alex this year was his maturity. He took a big jump in leadership this year as an assistant captain. I thought as a whole his game developed so much this year because of his maturity,” Milne said.
The Eagles’ bench boss cites the guidance of Young’s older brother Colton Young as an important influence in his junior career. The brothers played two seasons together and led the team in scoring on both occasions. Milne said it was an important lesson for Alex to watch and learn from his brother, who Alex will join at Colgate University next season.
“Enough can’t be said about Connor Lyons as well. I think the relationship that they had this year was a tremendous boost to Alex’s game and vice versa.”
Rookie defenceman Dylan Witzke and goaltender Devin Chapman were both given praise by their head coach for their acknowledgement by the league.
From the blueline, Witzke amassed 40 points, the fourth most in the league by a defenceman in the 2019-20 season. Witzke was a staple on the Eagles’ potent power play all season and more than 50 per cent of his points were scored while on the man advantage.
“He’s a true student of the game, and he was still a full-time student this year as well. For him to compete at the level he did and maintain that GPA is really impressive,” Milne said about the 18-year-old defenceman.
“I am excited to see his game take off next season. We will have high expectations for him, but he will have those same expectation for himself.”
Chapman played the third most minutes for rookie goaltenders in the league and the most in the south division. In 31 appearances, the 19-year-old backstopped the Eagles to 12 wins, a 4.01 GAA and a .883 save percentage.
“Goaltender is probably the hardest position and I’ll give him a lot of credit about how hard he worked and how mature he was. He’s gown a lot and you’ll see him grown the most out of anybody,” said Milne referring to next season.
Eagles spring camp postponed
On Monday (March 30), due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Eagles announced the organization has postponed its spring camp that was to be held Friday (April 3-5) and Friday (April 24-26). The club is working to reschedule the camps to a later date based on the recommendations of Hockey Canada, and Alberta Health.
“We are hoping to just postpone it and not have to cancel it,” said Milne.
“It’s the lifeline of developing our hockey club so we need that camp.”