By Derek Holtom
MJHL Web Correspondent
The Waywayseecappo Wolverines might be struggling near the bottom of the standings, but they have hope they can turn things around and remain in the playoff hunt. And a key factor in a team turnaround will include newly-acquired Brandon Stanley.
The Sioux Lookout, Ont., product has been nothing short of outstanding since joining the Wolverines from the Portage Terriers. The 19-year-old was traded to the Wolverines along with Brendan Martin and a first-round draft pick for Ty Enns and list player Kolton Shindle.
Martin has also been a solid pick up for the Wolverines, picking up 11 points in his first 15 games with the team. Enns, meanwhile, had been a solid producer for the Terriers, putting up 14 points in 14 games with Portage.
Stanley, though, eclipses them all, scoring nine goals and adding 12 assists for 21 points in his first 15 games with the Wolverines. Coupled with his points from the Terriers, the 6’2, 205-pound forward had 25 points in 20 games, seventh best in the MJHL.
Wolverines head coach Barry Butler says Stanley is exactly the sort of player he enjoys having on his team – a hard worker on and off the ice.
“Brandon brings a great enthusiasm to the rink every day, whether it’s practice or a game,” said Butler. “He’s well liked by his teammates, and he’s just one of those guys with pro-qualities to his game – he’s a power-type skater, he’s got a good shot, and he works extremely hard.
“He’s wearing the ‘C’ now, and that just adds to our hockey club, that’s for sure.”
Stanley said getting dealt to the Wolverines was a big change, but one that he has embraced.
“It was big, but I’ve taken on a leadership role here in Wayway, and that’s helped me become a better player,” he said.
Stanley has elevated his offensive play since switching teams. He had 35 points last year in 54 games with the Terriers, and was a point-a-game player in midget. Still, he knows all the goals in the world are not going to help you if you can’t keep the puck out of your own net.
“I like to focus on the defense just as much, because that’s what helps you win games,” noted Stanley, who played his midget AAA hockey in Kenora. “But I do think I have a good shot, and I like to get pucks deep and work it down low to set my line mates up.”
After a season in Portage, Stanley now gets to enjoy playing and living in the Waywayseecappo/Russell region. He said he has nothing but positive things to say about his new community.
“I love it out here – it’s beautiful,” he said. “The billets are nice, and the guys are great to be around.”
And like many junior A players, Stanley will be chasing a Division One scholarship in the NCAA. He says his grades are good, and if he continues to put up points and help his new team as a point-getter and a leader wearing the ‘C’, that’s a goal that most definitely could be realized in the next two years.