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Blades Build for the 2024 Centennial Cup

About to embark on one of the biggest seasons in franchise history, Blades management have been very busy in the offseason as the team announced 8 new acquisitions, including 4 signings out of rookie camp, to bolster the roster for the 2023-2024 Centennial Cup season. Among the new Blades players are 3 defencemen, 4 forwards and 1 goalie who will all be looking to have an impact for Blades this season.

“Our new group of players bring us long playoff experiences as well as speed and size that will support our returning group” said Blades Head Coach/General Manager Scott McCrory.

As one of the youngest teams in the league last season, the Blades missed the playoffs in a rebuilding year, but with the new additions the Blades are gearing up to compete for a national title on home ice in May.

Here are some quick player profiles for the newest Blades in order of their acquisition:

Acquisition #1
Eric Bonsteel (2003)
Mississauga, ON
Defenceman
6’ 187 LBS
Shoots: Right
Acquired from the Trenton Golden Hawks

Eric Bonsteel is coming to Oakville after splitting his time with the Toronto Patriots and Trenton Golden Hawks where he tallied 2G, 25A in 45GP during the regular season. On top of that, he suited up for 13 games in the playoffs for the South-East Conference champs in Trenton where he added 1G, 2A in those 13GP.

“I’m looking forward to spending my overage season with the Oakville Blades. They’re a reputable organization, well coached, with a strong leadership group and a great rink to play out of.” – Eric Bonsteel

“We are excited to have Eric join the Blades family. His veteran presence and leadership will help our younger defencemen. Eric is going to help us at both ends of the ice. He has the ability to defend along with a skill set that is going to help us offensively. This will be a great opportunity for him to show everyone what we believe his potential is.” – Blades Associate Coach Jason Ward

Acquisition #2
Cormick Smallegange (2005)
Burlington, ON
Defenceman
6’ 174 LBS
Shoots: Right
Signed out of Blades Rookie Camp

Cormick Smallegange might be a familiar name to some in Oakville. Despite spending the majority of the season with the Burlington Eagles U18 AAA, he also gained experience as an AP (Affiliated Player) for the Hamilton Kilty B’s (GOJHL) as well as the Oakville Blades where he suited up for 3 games in the 2022-2023 season. Blades fans will be treated to more of his fluid skating on the backend this upcoming year.

“I’m really excited to wear the Blades jersey this year. I’ve seen great things from this organization including a fantastic team atmosphere and I’m excited for the chance to compete for the Centennial Cup. I think the Blades program will be great for my development and bring me closer to my goal of playing in the NCAA. This team has something special going on and I can’t wait to be a part of it” – Cormick Smallegange

“We had a small glimpse at Smallegange last year when he played games with us as an AP. We are excited with his development over the past year and feel that he will be a smart and reliable player for us this season.” – Blades Associate Coach Jason Ward

Acquisition #3
Luke Allison (2005)
Mississauga, ON
Defenceman
6’ 2” 174 LBS
Shoots: Left
Signed out of Blades Rookie Camp

Luke Allison is a big defender who played the left side for the same Burlington Eagles U18 AAA squad that also featured Blades signee Cormick Smallegange. In 14 games, he managed 1A and added another 2A in 6 playoff games with the Eagles. Allison also spent a significant portion of his year playing up a level with the Hamilton Kilty B’s of the GOJHL, where he had 4A in 11GP during the regular season.

“Signing with the Blades means so much to me. Especially growing up here in Oakville, they are the team that everyone wants to play for. So being given the opportunity to play for the Blades is a dream come true. My hopes and plans for the year is to come in and make an immediate impact on the ice. To be a strong defensive presence while also producing offensively. Can’t wait for the year to get started!” – Luke Allison

“Luke really impressed the coaching staff with his ability to defend and to be tough to play against. He is a well rounded player and we are excited to see him grow this season.” – Blades Associate Coach Jason Ward

Acquisition #4
Mikkel Christensen (2006)
Oslo, Norway
Goaltender
6’ 1” 155 LBS
Catches: Left
Signed out of Blades Rookie Camp

Mikkel Christensen is a young and talented goaltender the Blades have been very familiar with over the past few years. The relationship began in the 2021-2022 season when Christensen was first an Affiliated Player with the Blades. For the 2022-2023 season, Christensen spent his time with the Mississauga Senators U18 AAA club (coached by Scott McCrory) and also participated in the Team Norway U17 development camp.

“Signing with the Blades has been a very exciting experience. I am looking forward to working extremely hard with the team and coaching staff to have an all around successful year. I have been an AP these past 2 seasons and have always looked up to these guys, so being fully rostered is something I have really worked for.” – Mikkel Christensen

“Mikkel is an athletic style goalie that will compete every time he’s on the ice” – Blades Head Coach/General Manager Scott McCrory

Acquisition #5
Matthew Indovina (2005)
Toronto, ON
Forward
5’ 9” 150 LBS
Shoots: Left
Signed out of Blades Rookie Camp

Matthew Indovina is a familiar name to Blades fans. Having spent the last 2 seasons with the Mississauga Senators U18 AAA team, Indovina has had plenty of chances to AP with the Blades and has done well when he’s been given the opportunity. Eight OJHL games with Oakville, split evenly across the last two years, bodes well for his transition to the next level in the 2023-2024 season.

“Signing with the Blades is a very special moment for me and my career, and I’m really excited to play for them. My goals for this year are to continue improving my game and winning the Centennial Cup” – Matthew Indovina

“Indy’s a hardworking, feisty forward and he’s tenacious on the puck. Very teammate supportive and will give 110% every shift” – Blades Head Coach/General Manager Scott McCrory

Acquisition #6
Jeriah Shantz (2003)
Fergus, ON
Forward
6’ 1” 185 LBS
Shoots: Left
Acquired from the South-East Conference Champion Trenton Golden Hawks

Jeriah Shantz is an overage forward eyeing a return to the Centennial Cup after playing for a national championship in 2021-2022 with the Dauphin Kings of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League. Shantz has 37 games of Jr. A playoff experience across his last two seasons including 22 games with the Trenton Golden Hawks last season where he notched 2G and 3A in that span. Shantz brings plenty of experience and size to the Blades roster.

“I’m very excited to be a part of the Oakville Blades organization for my last year of junior hockey. From coaching staff to the facilities, it’s a top tier organization that’s done very well. I’m grateful for the opportunity and can’t wait to get started!” – Jeriah Shantz

“We needed a big, strong, 20 year old that can win faceoffs and be reliable all over the ice. Jeriah has been to the OJ Finals and has been well coached in Trenton. We are excited to have an older center who is reliable at both ends of the rink and can play heavy against top lines. Jeriah will be a huge asset to the Oakville Blades.” – Blades Assistant Coach Dean DeFazio

Acquisition #7
Sean Clarke (2003)
Mississauga, ON
Forward
5’ 7” 160 LBS
Shoots: Left
Acquired from 2022-2023 OJHL Champion Collingwood Blues

Sean Clarke is another overage player who brings a lot of experience to the Oakville Blades. As a member of the 2022-2023 Collingwood Blues, Clarke played 17 playoff games posting 3G and 5A en route to a Buckland Cup Championship with his team. In last season’s Centennial Cup, Clarke managed 1A in 5 games played. Clarke will be relied upon to produce offense for the club after posting an impressive 15G and 22A for 37 Pts in 48 games with the North York Rangers in 2021-2022.

“I’m very excited to play my last year of junior hockey in Oakville. This team has such a rich history and I’m happy to have the opportunity to teach the young core everything I’ve learnt through my junior career” – Sean Clarke

“You cannot win without leadership, work ethic and the willingness to accept a role. Sean is all of that. Sean has been to the Centennial Cup with Collingwood. He knows what it takes and that is contagious. Sean plays a 200 ft game and can play against anyone in our league. He is relentless on the puck and will be a huge asset on our big ice. Huge compete level.” – Blades Assistant Coach Dean DeFazio

Acquisition #8
Kaleb Frank (2005)
Calgary, AB
Forward
6’ 3” 205 LBS
Shoots: Right
Acquired from Brantford 99ers

Kaleb Frank is a Power Forward who brings a lot of strength and size to the Blades roster. The big winger will also contribute well offensively having put up 12G and 11A in 47GP last year in Brantford as a 17 year old on a struggling team. Frank also gets into the dirty areas racking up 108 PIM which placed him 2nd on his team last year. In the 2021-2022 season, Frank suited up for 5 games in the GOJHL for the Niagara Falls Canucks, who have since become a member of the OJHL.

“I am incredibly excited to become a part of the Oakville Blades organization, this upcoming season. Joining at such an important time when Oakville will play host to the Centennial Cup, is an enormous opportunity for our team, and I am looking forward to developing my game this year by learning from the older experienced players.” – Kaleb Frank

“Big, mean, strong power forward. Kaleb will be a huge addition to our team. Kaleb is that guy who you hate to play against, and you love to have him on your team. He will drive teams nuts in a disciplined way. We are excited to have Kaleb as we have always seen huge potential in his play while coaching against him. He is a raw talent who we can have for three seasons. High compete level.” – Blades Assistant Coach Dean DeFazio

Your first possible chance to see all of these new acquisitions will be on Friday, August 18 at 7:00 PM when the Blades host the Toronto Patriots in preseason action. The regular season starts in Burlington for the Blades on Friday, September 8 before they have their home opener on Saturday, September 9 at 7:00 PM when they host the Buffalo Jr. Sabres who are returning to the OJHL after a long hiatus due to COVID.

By Ty Brooks