KENT, August 30, 2017 — Seattle Thunderbirds general manager Russ Farwell today announced the team has signed four players to WHL Standard Player Agreements.
The four players are center Graeme Bryks, goalie Cole Schwebius, defenseman Cade McNelly and center Samuel Huo.
All four players are eligible to play in the T-Birds first preseason game on Friday against the Vancouver Giants at the Delta Hotels Preseason Classic at Xfinity Arena.
Bryks, from Edmonton, Alberta, was the T-Birds eighth round selection in the 2016 Bantam Draft. Last season he played 32 games with the Knights of Columbus Pats Midget AAA team in the AMHL and had 11 goals and 15 assists for 26 points with 36 penalty minutes.
“It is always great to have players come in and show that they have done the extra work in preparation to try to make the team,” said Farwell. “Graeme is one of those players and he is making a strong bid to play on our team as a 16-year old this season. He is a gritty two-way center that can make smart plays in the offensive end and step in and really help out in his own end.”
Schwebius, from Kelowna, British Columbia, was the T-Birds 10th round selection in the 2016 Bantam Draft. Last season he played for the Okanagan Hockey Academy Elite 15 team in the CSSHL. Schwebius had a 1.93 goals against average and a .911 save percentage in 17 games.
“Cole has had a strong camp so far and his signing gives us some comfort and depth at this important position,” said Farwell. “He has a great attitude and has improved steadily since the Bantam draft.”
McNelly, from Westlock, Alberta, was an invite to T-Birds Training Camp prior to the 2016-17 season. He was added to the team’s 50-player protected list after that Training Camp. Last season McNelly played 20 games with the Fort Saskatchewan Rangers Midget AAA team and had three assists and 60 penalty minutes.
“Cade plays a style and approaches the game much like Turner Ottenbreit,” said Farwell. “Everyone on the other team will know when he is out there and over the years he will be a fan favorite here in Kent. Good, physical defense is hard to find and Cade has the chance to be formidable in that area.”
Huo, from Richmond, British Columbia, was an invite to T-Birds Training Camp this season. Last year he played 28 games with the Burnaby Winter Club Elite 15 team in the CSSHL. Huo had 18 goals and 14 assists for 32 points with 20 penalty minutes last season.
“We are excited to sign Sam and get him started with our team,” said Farwell. “He dominated sessions of our rookie camp and will develop into a very exciting offensive center in our league.”
By signing a WHL Standard Player Agreement, these four players are guaranteed a WHL Scholarship for every year he plays in the WHL. A player is able to attend any career enhancing institution of his choice, including universities, colleges, technical institutes, trade schools, or any other institution which will help the player achieve his academic and career goals.
For each season played in the WHL, a player receives a one year post-secondary scholarship, which includes: Tuition, Compulsory Fees and Required Textbooks.
The WHL Scholarship provides the top young hockey talent in western Canada and the United States with the opportunity to develop their skills on the ice at the highest possible level, without compromising their academic goals. The WHL is committed to recognizing academic excellence.
The T-Birds start the preseason at the Delta Hotels Preseason Classic at Xfinity Arena. They will play their first game at the Classic against the Vancouver Giants on Friday, September 1, at 11:30am. Classic play will continue the following day as the T-Birds face the Everett Silvertips Saturday, September 2 at 7pm. The Classic comes to a close for the T-Birds on Sunday, September 3, as they play the Spokane Chiefs at 3pm.
Preseason play continues for the T-Birds at the Red Lion Hotels’ Preseason Tournament at the Toyota Center in Kennewick. The T-Birds will begin the tournament on Friday, September 8, against the Spokane Chiefs at 3pm. Tournament play will conclude Saturday, September 9 with a matchup against the Kootenay Ice at 11am.
The T-Birds wrap up preseason play with back-to-back games against the Everett Silvertips. They will play on Friday, September 15, at 7:30pm at Xfinity Arena in Everett. The T-Birds will return home to the ShoWare Center on Saturday, September 16, at 7pm for their final preseason game.
The WHL Champion T-Birds start the 2017-18 Western Hockey League regular season against the Tri-City Americans on Saturday, September 23 at 7:05pm at the ShoWare Center.
T-Birds single game tickets for the 2017-18 home opener that will feature the raising of two championship banners are currently on sale online on the T-Birds website and at the ShoWare Center box office.
Season Tickets for the WHL Champion T-Birds 2017-18 season are currently on sale. Season tickets can be purchased by calling the T-Birds office at 253-239-7825.