Although he was focussed on helping his team to a 6-1 win over the Yorkton Maulers Friday at the Art Hauser Centre, Prince Albert Mintos forward Dawson Springer couldn’t help but look towards the future.
The 16-year-old forward from Rocanville is slated to make his Western Hockey League debut tonight in Prince Albert for the Swift Current Broncos after he signed a standard player agreement with the team Thursday.
“I started to think about it before the game on Friday and I got the shivers a little bit,” Springer said. “It will probably hit me more on Saturday as I’m getting ready to get on the ice.”
Having previously attended a camp with the Brandon Wheat Kings two years ago following his second season of bantam hockey with the Notre Dame Hounds, Springer wasn’t on the radar for any WHL teams until earlier this fall when he was listed by the Everett Silvertips.
His rights were then dealt to the Broncos, along with a fourth round pick in the 2020 WHL Bantam Draft, in exchange for forward Max Patterson on Dec. 3.
“Everything came together pretty quickly after that,” Springer said. “They contacted me a couple of days after the trade and asked me what I thought about being a part of the team, and it all went from there.”
Following a 51-point campaign for the Melville Midget AA Millionaires last season, Springer has hit the ground running in his first Midget AAA campaign with the Mintos.
He has 30 points in 27 games, which puts him two markers behind Portland Winterhawks prospect Gabe Klassen for the team lead, and his 21 goals are the most in the league heading into Saturday’s slate of games.
“It’s taken a lot of work to get to this point,” Springer said. “I’ve taken so many shots over the years that it comes naturally for me now, but you have still have to work hard to get into the greasy spots.
“The physicality in Midget AA and Midget AAA is a little similar, but the speed of the game is much different as you have to move the puck quicker here. Plus, the goalies are a lot better.”
Springer will remain with the Mintos for the rest of the season, but he will be an affiliated player on the Broncos roster before attempting to make the jump in the WHL on a full-time basis for the 2019-20 campaign.
“I’m planning to work on my foot speed for sure and get some bigger legs on me,” Springer said. “My main focus is to gain a little size overall as I move up to a higher level.”