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Time to move along: 18 Jr. Ducks heading to junior hockey teams

By Chris Bayee, 06/27/23, 2:15PM PDT


The group includes 14 from 18U AAA team and four from 16U

A total of 18 players who competed for Anaheim Jr. Ducks AAA teams during the 2022-23 season are headed off to junior hockey teams around North America.

Four players from the 16U squad are headed to USHL teams – defensemen Brendan Dunphy (Lincoln), Tanner Henricks (Lincoln) and Tyler McGowan (Muskegon), as well as forward Colin Frank (Dubuque). All four were selected in Phase I of the USHL Draft in 2022.

Fourteen players from the 18U squad also will move on. Seven will go to camp in the NCDC, three will head to the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL), two will go to the North American Hockey League (NAHL) and one each is going to the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) and the Manitoba Junior Hockey League (MJHL).

"Obviously, our club and coaches at the younger levels do a great job developing players," 18U coach August Aiken said. "All of these players put in a ton of work to get these opportunities in junior hockey. I'm happy I could be there to give them a push.

"It was a great year for all of these players, not only getting to Nationals (something both the 16s and 18s accomplished) but getting to move on. It's a group effort. They reached an important team goal but they also were prepared and readied for the next level in their careers."

The NAHL group includes forward Makar Klochkov, who was second on the 18s with 93 points (42 goals) in 70 games. He signed a tender with Austin, while defenseman C.J. Deberge recently was selected by Anchorage in the league's draft. Deberge had 37 points in 69 games.

The BCHL group includes goaltender Owen Crudale (Powell River), leading scorer Ameen Ghosheh (Cowichan Valley) and defenseman Brock Devlin (Surrey). Ghosheh, a forward, had 102 points (46 goals) in 70 games, while Devlin lead the team's blue liners with 73 points (12 goals) in 70 games. Crudale was one of the top 18U goaltenders in the nation, finishing with a sub 1.60 goals-against average and a save percentage north of .940. 

The seven NCDC players include forwards Luke Anthony (Rock Springs), Rex Baren (Ogden), J.J. Dean (Rock Springs) and Noah Tano (Northern Cyclones), as well as defensemen Austin Kluksdahl and Quinton McElligott and goaltender Micah Kawai. The latter three all are headed to Rock Springs as well. 

Baren had 69 points (29 goals) in 69 games, Anthony had 62 points (32 goals) in 70 games, while Tano and Kluksdahl hit the 40-point plateau and Dean had 39 and McElligott had 29. Kawai had a gaa of 2.20 and a .900 save percentage.

Defenseman Ethan Overman is going to Olds of the AJHL, while center Brady Craik is on his way to Winkler of the MJHL. Overman notched 53 points (13 goals) in 70 games, while Craik had 42 points (21) goals in 68 games. 

The USHL quartet represented four of the 16Us' top-six scorers. Frank had 143 points (66 goals) in 85 games to lead the 16s. Henricks, who committed to St. Cloud State during the season, had 79 points (16 goals) in 85 games. McGowan had 66 points (25 goals) in 80 games, and Dunphy added 59 points (22) goals in 85 games. 

The players will bring more than skill to their junior teams, Aiken added. "We try to teach them the mental side of the game because it's really grueling at the junior level," he said. "This is the stage where it becomes a business. You can be traded, released, moved all over the lineup. You have to be ready for anything."