This season Daniel McKitrick has turned heads with his ability on the ice for the Humboldt Broncos.
His journey to the Broncos and the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League is also impressive. The dynamic 18-year-old forward, who grew up in Nunavut, led the Broncos in points, 24, and goals, 12, as of Dec. 13.
“He makes a lot of stuff out of nothing,” Broncos head coach Darcy Haugan said when asked how McKitrick scores.
At 5-foot-6, 147 pounds, McKitrick uses his speed, agility and creativity to create opportunities for himself and his teammates.
“He is extremely dangerous,” Haugan said. “He is really explosive offensively. ... He is really tough to handle. He is not the biggest guy, but I tell you what, he can sure get away from the guy trying to check him.”
When asked about his scoring success this season, McKitrick was quick to credit his teammates.
“I’ve been playing with really good linemates all year and I worked hard this summer in the gym,” McKitrick wrote in a text interview, “Also I’ve been getting a lot of ice time and making (the most of) my opportunities.
Lately McKitrick has been skating with Michael Korol of Saskatoon and hometown product Jarrett Fontaine. Korol has four points in December and 13 on the season.
Fontaine is second on the squad with 10 goals and is tied, with Logan Schatz, for second with 20 points. Haugan said that Fontaine’s strong work ethic has served as a great example for McKitrick. Fontaine was worn the “C” while Broncos captain Anthony Kapelke is injured.
Until he was 10 years old, McKitrick grew up in Coral Harbour, Nunavut. The community, which had a population of 834 in the 2011 Census, is on Southhampton Island.
The island is located at the entrance to Hudson Bay.
“What I remember most was all the hunting and fishing,” McKitrick texted. “We also played a lot of baseball during the summers. But it was definitely a hockey town so that’s what we did pretty much every day.”
The games were unorganized and often took place on ponds. Each winter his father would also make an outdoor rink.
“That definitely helped me out with my hands and quick turns,” wrote McKitrick of playing outside with friends. He joked that the “outdoor rink season was nice and long.”
At the age of 10, his family moved to Thunder Bay. McKitrick pursued his passion for hockey – playing for the first time on organized teams. As well, he continued to work on his game on outdoor rinks his father made.
McKitrick was a one of the players included in the second season of APTN’s Hit the Ice series. The realty TV show features some of Canada’s top 16 to 18-year-old hockey Aboriginal prospects.
Last season, as a Junior A rookie, he posted 13 goals and 33 points, in 50 games for the Thunder Bay North Stars of the Superior International Junior Hockey League.
This past summer the Broncos acquired McKitrick. He is happy to be in Humboldt.
“I’ve enjoyed the games and the atmosphere in the rink during games the most,” McKitrick wrote. “I also have really good billets and really nice teammates. I am really enjoying my stay here.”
The Broncos have a pair of games at home this week before capping the 2015 portion of their season on the road. On Tuesday, Nipawin visits the Elgar Petersen Arena.
The Melfort Mustangs drop by for a horse race on Friday night before the teams have a rematch in Melfort the next night. The Broncos are then off for the SJHL’s Christmas break until Jan. 6 when they play Notre Dame on the road.
The Broncos saw their two-game winning streak snapped on Dec. 11 on the road to the league’s top team. The Battlefords North Stars defeated the Broncos, 6-0.
“It was a far better game than when we were up there before. … We are progressing. Saying that, we have to compete a lot better and compete a lot smarter,” Haugan said.
Humboldt goalie Ryan Larochelle stopped 31 of the 37 shots he faced. Igor Leonenko had a hat trick and four points for the North Stars. Also scoring for Battlefords were Dustin Gorgi, Jake McMillen, and Layne Young.
Catching Up With
Jon Brumwell (2014-15) has earned a contributing role in his first season with the Concordia University Wisconsin men’s hockey team. The rookie has a goal and an assist in 10 games.
“Jon Brumwell is playing his role to a ‘T’,” wrote Jasen T. Wise, the Concordia University Wisconsin head coach, in an email interview. “He’s a shutdown power forward and tenacious penalty killer. He’s been great in the locker room and is excelling in the classroom. He’s an easy guy to coach and his positive attitude is contagious. Once he starts shooting the puck his point production will improve. We look for Jon to hit his stride second half of the season.”
Brumwell, a Calgary product, split his 18-year-old season between the B.C. Hockey League and Junior B. He then played the next season with Weyburn before splitting his final season between the Red Wings and Humboldt.
SJHL Standings - as of Dec. 13
Pos. Team GP W L OTL SOL PTS GF GA LAST 10
1 Battlefords North Stars 34 24 7 1 2 51 137 90 7-2-1-0
2 Melfort Mustangs 31 22 5 3 1 48 121 87 8-1-1-0
3 Weyburn Red Wings 32 21 7 1 3 46 94 75 7-1-0-2
4 Nipawin Hawks 32 18 12 2 0 38 103 97 5-5-0-0
5 La Ronge Ice Wolves 32 17 12 1 2 37 97 84 7-2-0-1
6 Kindersley Klippers 31 17 13 0 1 35 111 116 6-4-0-0
7 Flin Flon Bombers 31 15 12 0 4 34 109 93 8-2-0-0
8 Notre Dame Hounds 31 14 13 2 2 32 100 110 4-4-0-2
9 Estevan Bruins 31 15 15 0 1 31 113 117 3-7-0-0
10 Humboldt Broncos 33 9 20 3 1 22 85 132 2-7-1-0
11 Yorkton Terriers 31 9 20 1 1 20 92 120 2-7-1-0
12 Melville Millionaires 31 9 21 0 1 19 86 127 3-7-0-0
Top 5 Broncos Scorers - as of Dec. 13
Player GP G A PTS
Daniel McKitrick 25 12 12 24
Jarrett Fontaine 30 10 10 20
Logan Schatz 32 3 17 20
Trevor Posch 31 5 13 18
Wesley Shipton 23 7 7 14