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New recruits add leadership to Selkirk Saints

Manitoba native Brad Marshall played four seasons in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League where he was the captain of his team in 2019-2020. The talented forward will join the Selkirk College Saints for the upcoming 2020-2021 BCIHL season. — Submitted photo

The Selkirk College Saints have added a pair of players to its recruitment class that are expected to make an immediate impact on the team’s success.

Brad Marshall and Bekkam Willis have committed to the Saints program for the 2020-2021 British Columbia Intercollegiate Hockey League (BCIHL) season, packing solid resumes of Junior A experience at both ends of the ice.

“Strong leadership on the ice and in the dressing room is the foundation of a successful hockey team,” says Selkirk College head coach Dave Hnatiuk. “Both Brad and Bekkam are talented players who have proven their leadership abilities in the last couple of years. With the loss of some of our leadership group due to graduation, we expect them to jump right into important roles on the team.”

Marshall grew up in Manitoba and played four years of Junior A with the Neepawa Natives of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League (MJHL). A hard-working forward with skill to match, Marshall scored 15 goals and added 15 assists in his final season where he also took on the role as the Natives’ captain.

The 21-year-old will take advantage of the eclectic mix of programming at Selkirk College with plans on earning credentials in both the Electrical Program on the Silver King Campus and the Business Administration Program on the Castlegar Campus. His goal is to gather the skills and training to start his own contracting company.

“I chose Selkirk College because they offered me a place to further my education and play competitive hockey at the same time,” says Marshall. “Being a prairie boy, I look forward to the opportunity to live up in the mountains and experiencing new adventures. I’m a sports enthusiast and know there will be plenty of new challenges and opportunities.”

Originally from Comox, Willis spent the last three seasons in the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) where he finished his stint with the Drayton Valley Thunder. The 6’2” defenceman is known for a solid, structured game and a first good pass. With a big shot from the point, Willis will help fill a blueline void left by last season’s captain Parker Wakaruk.

With an eye on helping the Saints with a championship, Willis is looking forward to his transition to becoming a student-athlete.

“I’m going to pursue my education by taking the Heavy Mechanical Foundation Program that I feel so lucky to take while also getting to keep playing a sport that I love at the same time,” says Willis, who also played Junior B hockey on Vancouver Island. “My goal at the end of my time at Selkirk College is to keep growing as a player and a person while finishing my program with good grades.”

Willis and Marshall join forwards Jacob Elik, Eric Hildebrand, Carson Erhardt and goaltender Jake Anthony in the 2020-2021 Selkirk College Saints recruiting class with more announcements expected. The Saints training camp is scheduled to open at the end of August and will be contingent upon guidelines associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

A steady defenceman, Bekkam Willis played in the Alberta Junior Hockey League last season and is expected to jump right into the Selkirk College Saints line-up for the 2020-2021 season. — Submitted photo