AT least three more WHL regulars have found temporary homes in the MJHL.
Defenceman Jonny Lambos of the Brandon Wheat Kings is expected to be in the lineup Friday when the Steinbach Pistons host the Selkirk Steelers while centre Reese Belton of the Kamloops Blazers could soon be slotted into the Portage Terriers lineup.
Meanwhile, Winnipeg Ice defenceman Michael Ladyman is set to practise with Winnipeg Blues today. The 19-year-old is coming off his first full season in the WHL, scoring one goal and 13 points in 54 games.
That brought the total of transplanted WHLers to seven on MJHL rosters.
The junior A league is the only one in Western Canada currently playing regular-season games. Under the terms of the transfer agreement, these players must be returned to their WHL clubs by Dec. 20.
WHL training camps are expected to get underway right after Christmas to prepare for a Jan. 8 start to the regular season.
Lambos, a 19-year-old Winnipegger, has two full WHL seasons under his belt. In 2019-20, he scored five goals and 15 points in 62 games.
Belton, 18, was drafted by the Terriers in the second round (17th overall) in the 2017 MJHL Bantam Draft and played four games as an affiliate during the 2018-19 season. The Winnipeg product spent the entire 2019-20 season in Kamloops, scoring four goals and five points in 32 games.
Those moves are in addition to four transfers that took place Friday after the WHL lifted its prohibition of roster players playing in junior A.
Previously, only WHL affiliates were allowed to join MJHL teams.
Left-winger Connor Roulette of the Seattle Thunderbirds (Selkirk) went without a point in the Steelers 2-1 win over Steinbach while centre Evan Herman of the Prince Albert Raiders scored once in his season debut with the OCN Blizzard Saturday.
The Blizzard dropped a 6-3 decision to the hometown Dauphin Kings.
Meanwhile, Swift Current Broncos defenceman Garrett Sambrook collected a minor penalty in his first game with Virden Saturday, a 5-2 Oil Caps’ triumph over the Winkler Flyers.
Centre Justin Svenson of the Swift Current Broncos was pointless in his first game with the Flyers.
There are expected to be other WHL players eager to return to competition but some clubs are reluctant to give WHLers playing time while forcing regular roster players, who have already earned their spots, out of the lineup.
Mike has been working on the Free Press sports desk since 2003.