THUNDER BAY, Ont. – The Superior International Junior Hockey League has announced that a pair of its top netminders this season have committed to university programs to further their educations, while continuing their respective hockey careers.
SIJHL Top Goaltender Award honouree Zach Willms of the Red Lake Miners will be off to NCAAA Division III Fredonia State where the Blue Devils men’s hockey program compete out of the State University of New York Athletic Conference.
Meanwhile, Dryden GM Ice Dogs goalkeeper Jacob Anthony is heading to Selkirk College in Castlegar, B.C., to suit up for the Saints, who are members of the British Columbia Intercollegiate Hockey League.
Willms, a Camrose, Alta., native, had a strong campaign for Red Lake in his final year of Jr. A play as he led all SIJHL netminders in wins, goals-against average and save percentage at 27, 2.80 and .925 respectively while his three shutouts tied him for second-most in league play.
A first team all-star in net, he set a league record for total career victories with 52 surpassing the 51 that both current Buffalo Sabres goalkeeper Carter Hutton (North Stars/Golden Hawks) and Josh Mrakic (Bearcats/Golden Hawks) had in their time in the league.
Fredonia State is situated on the southern shores of Lake Erie midway between Buffalo, N.Y., and Cleveland, Ohio.
Anthony, a finalist for SIJHL top goaltender honours and a year-end all-star team honourable mention in goal, had a personal career season-high 18 victories for Dryden in 2019-20 to conclude his time in the league with 31 in total.
The Grande Prairie, Alta., product was a workhorse between the pipes for the GM Ice Dogs, finishing second in the SIJHL in minutes played at 2,212. He was also in the same position in terms of saves with 1,246, trailing only Willms’ 1,439.
Photo credit: Gary Moskalyk
SIJHL Commitment Tracker (As of April 15)
Dryden GM Ice Dogs
Jacob Anthony, (G) Selkirk College (BCIHL)
Fort Frances Lakers
Red Lake Miners
Zach Willms, (G) Fredonia State (SUNYAC)
Thief River Falls Norskies
Thunder Bay North Stars