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Crusaders jump for Joss in massive move with MJHL squad 

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They are hoping to have become way, way better after a major deal with Waywayseecapoo.

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The Sherwood Park Crusaders made a massive deal late last week when they acquired forward Mitchell Joss (2001) from the actually-named community of Waywayseecapoo’s Wolverines of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League in exchange for forward Zafir Rawji (2001) and defenceman Brandon McCartney (2002).

“We are thrilled to be adding Mitchell Joss,” said Crusaders head coach and GM Adam Manah. “This is a deal we have been working on for a month now, and to say we are excited is an understatement. One of the areas we felt we needed to address going into next season was our scoring power. Mitchell is a player we found out about a month ago could be available and we made the call and the deal honestly took that entire time to get done, it was a tough one. But we were persistent and stuck through it. He’s a kid who, when we watched him on video, and everything we heard about him, he fits our mold perfectly with everything we need. He has been a scorer at every level, with 30 goals in the MJHL when he was 18-years-old. He sees the ice well, he is very skilled and crafty when he gets the puck. He plays heavy and competes hard on pucks. And on top of that, he is a terrific kid, has great character. He is going to bring a lot of experience and leadership into the room.”

Joss is heading into his fourth year of junior hockey, the last one basically being a write-off due to the COVID crisis.

He started his career with the MJHL’s Dauphin Kings in the 2018-2019 season, recording 16 goals in 40 games in his rookie year. Joss then moved to the Winnipeg Blues for the 2019-2020 season and had a career campaign, scoring 30 goals and 71 points in 57 games.

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Manah fully believes that Joss has the ability to be a league leader in scoring in the Alberta Junior Hockey League.

“He certainly could be, that is what we have heard about him, that he has that potential,” he said. “For him, it is a matter of having a good summer. It has been tough on him because Manitoba didn’t allow their teams to play any games — they weren’t as fortunate to get in at least some playing time as we were in Alberta. He is going to come out here for the next month to train now that things are opening up and we do expect him to be one of those guys who can fill the net and put up numbers and be up there in the league lead in scoring. We feel that he can have a huge impact on our lineup and hopefully be one of the best players in the league, as well. He is a player that has put up great numbers at every level, and we fully expect him to be a guy that is going to have a big impact on our line-up in 2021-2022.”

Due to the pandemic and the subsequent cancellation of the MJHL season, Joss, a Winnipeg native, attempted to ply his trade south of the border to play a brief stint with the Minnesota Wilderness in the NAHL last year. In six games with the Wilderness, he scored a single goal.

The Sherwood Park Crusaders are hoping that newly-acquired forward Mitchell Joss has what it takes to be a league leader.Photo supplied
The Sherwood Park Crusaders are hoping that newly-acquired forward Mitchell Joss has what it takes to be a league leader.Photo supplied

Of course, to get something, you have to give up something, and the Cru paid a heavy price by sending Rawji and McCartney the other way in the swap.

Rawji was in the second stint with the Crusaders after they reacquired him from the Olds Grizzlys. In the 20 games of the sort-of season, the Edmonton native was the Park’s top scoring forward with 12 points. McCartney, who was in his first season of junior hockey last season after joining the Crusaders from the Winnipeg Wild program, dressed in 12 games for the Cru, registering four points.

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“They are two outstanding kids, and it is very tough to see them go,” Manah said. “They were both very good to us and brought a lot to our team. When you are making a deal like this, you have to give up something to get something and that is all this was. Waywayseecapoo targeted those two guys. Rawji was familiar to the coach and McCartney is a Manitoba kid. They got what they wanted, and we got what we wanted. That is just the business of the game. But we would very much like to thank Zafir and Brandon for their time with us.”

It is the second major move that Manah has made so far this month, also adding veteran forward and Park native Bruce MacGregor to the fold after he previously suited up for three other AJHL squads.

sjones@postmedia.com

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