Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Delahey a Huskie

There's a big defenceman standing under the Christmas tree for the University of Saskatchewan Hockey Huskies.

It's a present that looks to give the Dogs more of a physical presence.

Moose Jaw native Matt Delahey - a former fourth-round draft pick of the National Hockey League's New Jersey Devils who attended the Boston Bruins' prospects camp this fall - has left the ECHL's Ontario Reign to enroll at the University of Saskatchewan for the upcoming second term.

Delahey, 21, had two goals and three assists, along with 13 penalty minutes, in 20 games this season for the California-based Reign. He spent five full seasons in the Western Hockey League, most of that with the Regina Pats, before being dealt in his overage year to the Chilliwack Bruins.

The addition of Delahey in the new year will give the Huskies a total of 10 defencemen in the fold, with six of them in either their rookie season or second year of Canadian Interuniversity Sport eligibility as the U of S squad begins to stock up as the host team for the 2013 and 2014 University Cup national championship tournaments.

Delahey joins fellow rookies Ryan Funk, Curtis Kulchar and Garrett Thiessen, sophomores Brett Ward, Cody Hobbs and Ilan Cumberbirch, plus third-year Huskies Zach Sim and Matt Swaby, as well as veteran Jesse Zetariuk, who is into his fourth CIS season.

Delahey has been described as a wellrounded, shutdown type of defenceman who plays with a bit of toughness. Although not particularly flashy or spectacular, he gets the job done. A steady defender, he plays a relatively sound game in his own end and skates pretty well for a bigger guy who stands 6foot1 and weighs 215 pounds.

There's a possibility the Dogs could also be adding another forward to the mix, but U of S head coach Dave Adolph would neither confirm nor deny that rumour.

All he would say is that the team - currently tied for third in the Canada West conference with the Calgary Dinos - needs to improve its on-ice results and, given the right player, he would seize the opportunity to try to make his team better.

Although still ranked in the CIS top 10, Saskatchewan heads into the second half with a disappointing 8-60 record and 16 points.

"We are just two games above .500 in a very difficult conference, so we had to get better or be campus rec," Adolph quipped Wednesday. "(We're a) team with high expectations every year (but) we haven't made the trip to the national tournament in two years.

"I choose to accept the expectations, so I had a chance to make our team better - and took it."

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