EDMONTON – Adding more scoring punch as they head into their second season in Canada West is a focus for MacEwan Griffins head coach Michael Ringrose.
His recruiting class got a nice kick-start on that front Wednesday with the addition of Grande Prairie Storm forward Ethan Strang, who finished fifth among goal scorers in the Alberta Junior Hockey League last season.
"He was a prolific scorer at the AJHL level," said Ringrose. "If you watch his game – and we watched a lot of video on him as we were going through the (recruiting) process – he's the type of player who is going to have an immediate offensive impact on our squad.
"He has the ability to score from range and he does a great job of finding pucks in hard areas around the net, and he's got quick hands there. So, we're hopeful that some of the scoring prowess he showed at the junior level translates quickly to the U SPORTS level."
The dynamic forward potted 37 goals in 55 games – fifth-best in the league – and amassed 58 points for a Grande Prairie team that finished eight games below .500 and missed the playoffs.
His impact was huge as better than one in every five goals scored by the Storm in 2021-22 were off his stick.
"I would say I'm a high-pace goal scorer who has a good shot and likes to play the game with speed," said Strang. "I have a lot more skill to my game than physicality."
His game will be a welcome addition to the Griffins, who finished second-last in Canada West in goals in their inaugural season, averaging just 2.5 per game.
"One area we need to improve on is certainly the depth of our skill up front," said Ringrose. "We feel like he's going to be able to do that right away, but we also feel he has great potential. He's got a big frame, he's dedicated and committed to fitness off the ice. We feel like he's a bit of a late bloomer and just starting to scratch the surface of his potential.
"We think over his time at MacEwan, if he continues to show that will and dedication he can not only score for us, but be a really tough forward to handle up front."
The Cochrane, Alta. product played four seasons for the Storm after various elite hockey stints in his hometown, Airdrie and Calgary-based Edge School.
Now, he'll get a chance to make his mark in U SPORTS.
"I'm super excited," said Strang. "I don't think I've ever had an opportunity like this. Stepping out of junior to be a part of this is something I've been looking forward to. I'm just excited to be a part of it."