Brady Stange put up five points in two games for the Fernie Ghostriders in his rookie Kootenay International Junior Hockey League season.
His performance and work put in during practises in 2020-21 caught the attention of the La Ronge Ice Wolves of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League. They signed the Red Deer native to join them for the 2021-22 season.
“Brady does everything very well – great character with a high compete level,” said Ice Wolves head coach and GM Kevin Kaminski on icewolves.ca. “He also brings high hockey IQ with excellent skills and skating.”
Stange, a product of Red Deer Minor Hockey, says getting this opportunity is huge.
“It’s just that next step in the right direction for me,” says Stange, who joined the Ghostriders from the Pacific Coast Academy in the Canadian Sport School Hockey League. “I want to play professional hockey. It means a lot that La Ronge is taking me in and giving me that opportunity.”
In his conversations with Kaminski, Stange, 19, learned that the Ice Wolves are looking for him to take on a leadership role. Their goal heading into a new season is to win a championship.
“He likes the way I play right now,” says Stange, a six-foot-four, 190 pound defenceman. “He is excited to develop me.”
Stange chose to sign with the Ice Wolves and head to the SJHL because he feels it’s the right league for him.
“There is a lot more physicality in that league,” says Stange. “Coach Killer (Kaminski) reached out to me with open arms and was pretty straight up. I had a pretty clear understanding of what I was coming into. It made it pretty easy for me to decide on the SJ for sure.”
Stange is excited about hopefully playing hockey and making the next step. He praised the Ghostriders’ coaching staff of Jeff Wagner, now with the Coquitlam Express, and assistant coach Thomas Skelton.
“They did an amazing job. I couldn’t have asked for better coaches,” he says. “Even though we didn’t play very much, they were on the ball for our development and that’s the reason where I’m at today. I can’t thank them enough.”
Stange worked on his offensive skills during the season. It’s an area he put focus on since his final midget year.
“I feel like this season, I really had a breakout in my offensive game,” says Stange. “Fernie gave me the right opportunity to prove that I have the talent to be that offensive defenceman. I took it and that’s where I improved the most.
“I consider myself to be a two-way defenceman. Not super aggressive offensively,” he continued. “I like to protect our net for sure and defend at home, but if that opportunity comes where I can jump up in the rush, I will take it every time.”