Hurricanes Select Two Players in CHL Import Draft

Lethbridge HurricanesThe Lethbridge Hurricanes Hockey Club selected Egor Babenko with the fifth overall pick and Igor Merezhko with the 65th overall pick in the 2015 CHL Import Draft today.

Babenko, the 1997-born forward, spent the 2014-2015 season playing with Togliatti Ladya of the MHL. In 53 games, the Tyumin, Russia native collected 50 points (27g-23a) along with 78 penalty minutes. In two seasons in the MHL, the 5’9”, 145-pounder collected 65 points (37g-29a) in 98 games.

“We are going to let their actions speak for them and we are not going to have any preconceived ideas about what kind of player they are. We’ve been told that Babenko is a skilled player, but we are going to let him speak for himself with his actions,” said Hurricanes General Manager Peter Anholt.

Babenko was selected in the first round, 19th overall in the 2014 KHL Entry Draft by CSKA Moskva, but was not selected in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft despite being eligible.

Merezhko, the 1998-born defenseman, spent the 2014-2015 season playing with Redbull Salzburg team where in 26 games he collected 10 points (6g-4a) along with 16 penalty minutes. The Kharkov, Ukraine product is a right-hand shot rearguard who is 6’2”, 181-pounds.

“I like his size. He’ll have some big adjustments with the smaller ice coming over here. I had some fairly good reports on him from a lot of hockey guys,” said Anholt. “We thought we needed to continue to add to our defense core and this was one way we could do that and we thought it was a good pick with our second selection.”

Anholt continued that it was important to draft players that they can develop and work with for more than one season, “That was kind of the line of thinking we wanted. If Babenko turns out to be the player we hope he will be, that he can possibly have a chance to being a top six guy but be here for two years. Merezhko being a ’98, he could possibly be here for three and he has some pro potential being the size that he is.”


Two Hurricanes Selected in NHL Entry Draft

Nielsen-Estephan-2015-NHL-DraftThe Lethbridge Hurricanes Hockey Club are proud to announce that defenseman Andrew Nielsen and forward Giorgio Estephan were selected in the 2015 National Hockey League Entry Draft today in Florida.

The 1996-born Nielsen was selected by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the third round, 65th overall. The rookie standout defenseman was ranked 52nd among North American skaters on the NHL’s Central Scouting Services Final Draft rankings released in April. He was the fifth WHL defenseman selected in this year’s NHL draft.

“Honestly, I was speechless. I couldn’t have predicted any of that. I was honoured and blessed that I had my family around me to share the experience with them. It is kind of surreal getting to go to a team like that that has so much history. I’m just excited and looking forward to the next couple weeks,” said Nielsen from his home in Red Deer. “I didn’t expect to go that early, it was a shock. It was a relief just knowing that all the hard work and the process is finally falling into place. If you would’ve told me at the start of the year that I’d be a Toronto Maple Leaf on June 27th, I probably would have laughed at you.”

Nielsen completed his first season with the Hurricanes where he appeared in 59 games collecting 24 points (7g-17a) along with 101 penalty minutes. The Red Deer, AB product was second in defenseman scoring among the Hurricanes. The 18-year-old Nielsen scored his first WHL goal on October 25th in Prince Albert against the Raiders in a 3-1 victory and made his WHL debut January 18th, 2014 in his hometown against the Rebels.

The 6’3”, 210-pound rearguard was listed by the Hurricanes after going undrafted in the Western Hockey League Bantam Draft and the blueliner says being where is now is even a bigger honour, “I think it just shows that no matter what happens if you work hard and keep your mind focused on one thing and the end goal is getting where you want to be. Not being selected in the bantam draft was obviously hard at the time, I think it made me a stronger as a hockey player and as a person and I think it helped me get to where I am today.”

Hurricanes forward Giorgio Estephan was also selected in the NHL Entry Draft as the Buffalo Sabres took the 18-year-old with the first pick of the sixth round, 152nd overall.

The Edmonton, AB product had a standout sophomore campaign setting career highs in goals (23), assists (28) and points (51) more than doubling his previous career high totals. The second-year ‘Cane was originally selected fourth overall in the first round of the 2012 WHL Bantam Draft. Estephan was ranked 144th among North American skaters on the final Central Scouting list.

2015-2016 Regular Season Schedule Announced

RegularSeasonScheduleReleaseThe Lethbridge Hurricanes Hockey Club, in conjunction with the Western Hockey League, today have released their 2015-2016 regular season schedule. The Hurricanes regular season will begin on Friday, September 25th when they host the Medicine Hat Tigers.

The Hurricanes will play a total of 72 regular season games, including 36 at home at the ENMAX Centre and 36 on the road. Marquee match-ups will include the defending WHL Champion Kelowna Rockets on Sunday, October 4th, 2015 and Portland Winterhawks on Friday, February 19th, 2016.

In 2015-2016, the Hurricanes will face the Medicine Hat Tigers seven times (four at home, three away) including three home-and-home sets. As well, the ‘Canes will face the Kootenay Ice seven times (three at home, four away) and will face the Edmonton Oil Kings, Red Deer Rebels, and Calgary Hitmen each six times (three at home, three away).

Of the 72 regular season games, 32 will come against the Central Division, 24 against the East Division, 11 against the BC Division and five against the US Division.

The schedule will include four three-in-three weekends over the season. The Hurricanes longest home stand will be five games from November 18th until November 27th. The longest road trip will be six games, twice: from October 24th until November 2nd when the Hurricanes head West through the BC Division and from December 11th until December 19th that will include four games in the East Division and two in the Central.


Friday, September 25th, 2015 – vs. Medicine Hat Tigers (Season/Home Opener)
Sunday, October 4th, 2015 – vs. Kelowna Rockets (Defending WHL Champions)
Friday, November 6th, 2015 – vs. Seattle Thunderbirds (Return of Jamal Watson)
Friday, February 19th, 2016 – vs. Portland Winterhawks
Friday, March 18th, 2016 – vs. Medicine Hat Tigers (Home Finale)

Four Hurricanes Invited to Selection Camps

Skinner-HockeyCanada-U18Hockey Canada announced today that four Lethbridge Hurricanes will join 190 other players attending Hockey Canada’s National Teams’ Summer Showcase that will be held from July 29th until August 6th at the Markin MacPhail Centre at WinSport’s Canada Olympic Park in Calgary.

Hurricanes netminder Stuart Skinner is the only player from last year’s ‘Canes roster to attend a camp. The 16-year-old will partake in the Under-18 Selection Camp for the 2015 Ivan Hlinka tournament. Skinner is one of four goaltenders to attend the camp. He is one of 17 total WHL players to attend the U-18 camp.

Skinner posted a record of 13-20-2-3 while collecting a .909 save percentage and a 3.69 goals against average with one shutout in 43 appearances in 2014-2015. He was named the Hurricanes Rookie of the Year. The Edmonton product was one of seven under-18 goaltenders that attended the Program of Excellence Goaltending Camp earlier this month.

Hurricanes prospects Brett Davis, Jordan Bellerive and Nick Watson will participate in the Under-17 Development Camp roster. Davis appeared in three games this past season with the Hurricanes collecting one assist. In 42 regular season games with the Eastman Selects, the Manitoba product scored 47 points (21g-26a) along with 22 penalty minutes.

Bellerive, from North Vancouver, BC, was selected second overall in the 2014 Western Hockey League Bantam Draft and signed with the Hurricanes earlier this month. The 16-year-old scored 49 points (34g-15a) in 27 games this past season with the Okanagan Hockey Academy. While Watson, who was selected in the second round, 28th overall in 2014 collected nine points (3g-6a) in 24 games with the Delta Hockey Academy in 2014-2015. He also signed a WHL Standard Player Agreement earlier this month.

The inaugural National Teams’ Summer Showcase marks the first time Hockey Canada has brought together all three of Canada’s national men’s programs in the same city at the same time.

Hurricanes Announce Pre-Season Schedule

IMG_2271The Lethbridge Hurricanes Hockey Club, in conjunction with the Western Hockey League, announced today the clubs 2015-2016 Pre-Season schedule that will see the Hurricanes play a total of six games.

The Hurricanes will open the exhibition schedule on Friday, September 4th, 2015 when they host the Medicine Hat Tigers at 7:00pm at the ENMAX Centre in Lethbridge and will wrap up the schedule Friday, September 18th, 2015 when they will play the Calgary Hitmen in Crowsnest Pass.

Full exhibition schedule:

Friday, Sept. 4, 2015 – Hurricanes vs. Medicine Hat Tigers – 7:00pm at ENMAX Centre
Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2015 – Hurricanes @ Kootenay Ice – 7:00pm
Friday, Sept. 11, 2015 – Hurricanes vs. Swift Current Broncos – 7:00pm in Coaldale
Sunday, Sept. 13, 2015 – Hurricanes @ Swift Current Broncos – 4:00pm
Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015 – Hurricanes @ Kootenay Ice – 7:00pm in Crowsnest Pass
Friday, Sept. 18, 2015 – Hurricanes vs. Calgary Hitmen – 7:00pm in Crowsnest Pass

The Hurricanes and WHL will announce the regular season schedule later this week.

Hurricanes Add Another Overager

2015-2016-Website-News-Article-Photo-Gutierrez-TradeThe Lethbridge Hurricanes Hockey Club have acquired overage forward Justin Gutierrez from the Tri-City Americans in exchange for a fourth round draft pick in the 2017 Western Hockey League Bantam Draft.

Gutierrez hails from Anchorage, Alaska and has spent the last three seasons with the Americans appearing in 186 games collecting 59 points (18g-41a) along with 218 penalty minutes. Last season, the 6’4”, 201-pound centreman set career highs with 29 points (11g-18a) along with 78 penalty minutes last season in 67 games.

“He’s a big, strong left-hand shot centreman that can eat up some important minutes for us this year,” said Hurricanes General Manager Peter Anholt. “He is a character person and we are excited to add him to the fold. It was important to add some size down the middle and with Justin we’ve done that.”

The 19-year-old has improved his stats every year in the WHL and appeared at St. Louis Blues training camp last season on a tryout basis.

Gutierrez is the second overager the Hurricanes have added joining Cory Millette as the other. The Hurricanes still have one open spot for the 2015-2016 season.

Hurricanes to Open Season Against Rival Tigers

2015-2016-Website-News-Article-Photo-Home-OpenerThe Lethbridge Hurricanes Hockey Club announced Tuesday that they will begin the 2015-2016 Western Hockey League campaign against their southern Alberta rival, Medicine Hat Tigers, on Friday, September 25th, 2015 at 7:00pm at the ENMAX Centre.

It will be the fifth straight season the Hurricanes will open up the season against the Tigers and the fourth straight home opener against Medicine Hat. The ‘Canes are 2-2-0-0 in the last four season openers against their rival. The Hurricanes posted a record of 3-4-0-0 in seven games against the Tigers during the 2014-2015 hockey season.

The full Hurricanes schedule will be released later this month.

Season Tickets for the 2015-2016 regular season are on sale now! Early Bird Pricing is in effect until Sunday, June 21st, 2015. As well, for every Adult and Senior Season Ticket sold, $25 from that ticket will be donated to local Lethbridge Charities (restrictions apply).

Visit the Hurricanes Office for more information, or call (403) 328-1986 or visit