Captain’s role fine fit for Raiders’ Herman

Photo by Darren Steinke Prince Albert Raiders forward Evan Herman prepares to fire a shot during a game at the Art Hauser Centre.

Becoming the captain of the Prince Albert Raiders has brought out the best version of Evan Herman.
The 20-year-old centre was named the 47th captain in the club’s history on November 18. Herman was tabbed with the captain’s role just two days after the Raiders dealt their former captain in Nolan Allan to the Seattle Thunderbirds in a blockbuster trade.
In the Raiders first four games with Herman as captain, they’ve posted a 3-1 record. Over that stretch, Herman, who is from The Pas, Man., has collected four goals, four assists and a plus-four rating in the plus-minus department.
With their burst over the past four games, the Raiders improved to 10-13-2 and sit tied with the Swift Current Broncos (11-11) with 22 points for eighth place and the final playoff berth in the WHL’s Eastern Conference.
During Herman’s first 17 games with the Raiders this season, he recorded two goals, seven assists and a minus-eight rating. The early season statistical struggles were likely due to the fact more opposing teams are aware of where Herman is on the ice due to the breakout campaign he had last season.
In the 2021-22 campaign, Herman played in all of the Raiders 68 regular season games leading the team with 28 goals to go along with 19 assists for 47 points. At the start of the current season, Herman was named one of the Raiders alternate captains, and he was a player opposing teams paid more attention too, when the Raiders are on the attack offensively.
While the points weren’t coming on droves for Herman in his first 17 appearances for the Raiders this season, his effort was still there. Besides the offensive part of his game, Herman, who stands 5-foot-9 and weighs 153 pounds, is a player who is always willing to finish a check, block a shot or stick up for a teammate.
Herman is also a career member of the Raiders having suited up for three games as an associate player call-up in their 2018-19 WHL championship winning campaign and playing for the squad as a 17-year-old rookie in the 2019-20 season, when the Raiders finished first in the East Division.
Being named captain likely helped give Herman reassurance that he was putting in the right effort even if the points didn’t come in bunches the first 17 games of the current season. For some players when they are named captain, they naturally elevate their game, because they have a more tangible sign of having ownership on what happens with the team.
Herman has always been a player that has always cared about what happens to the Raiders, but he has likely discovered everyone’s eyes are on him now that he is the captain. When he is in the dressing room, the rookies and younger players will be watching everything he does and take their cues about how they are feeling from how Herman acts.
Some players when they become a captain of a team realize they have a new avenue to be a positive influence on their teammates. For Herman, every day you get to come to the rink is a great day, and even that small intangible will rub off even more on his teammates. As a bonus, Herman is starting to collect points at a more frantic pace.
He made a huge splash in his first game as captain on November 19 at the Art Hauser Centre. In a 5-4 victory over the Medicine Hat Tigers, Herman had two goals including the winner, an assist and a plus-one rating. He also engaged in a second period fight.
Last Friday, the Raiders started a stretch of playing five straight games on the road. Against a Hitmen team in Calgary that has been piling up wins, Herman had a goal, two assists and a plus-two rating in a 5-2 victory, which saw the Raiders sweep the three stars selections.
One night later, the Raiders faced a powerhouse Rebels squad in Red Deer and fell 6-1. While the Rebels dominated, Herman still had a solid game winning 10-of-17 faceoffs and posting a minus-one rating.
Last Sunday finishing a stretch of playing three games on the road in a time span of 48 hours, Herman recorded the winning goal, an assist and a plus-two rating in a 4-2 win over the Tigers in Medicine Hat.
It is unlikely the points will keep coming for Herman like the frantic pace they have been, but it would be good if they still came at a steady pace. It would also be huge for the Raiders, if Herman continues to flourish as captain as the team continues to battle for a playoff berth for the rest of the campaign.
Howe continues to benefit from Bedard spotlight, other notes
Tanner Howe is grabbing his share of attention as his Regina Pats started a road tour through the B.C. Division playing before sold out rinks coming to see North Vancouver product and phenom centre Connor Bedard.
On Friday playing the Vancouver Giants before a capacity crowd of 5,276 spectators at the Langley Events Centre in Langley, B.C., Howe, who is a Pats left-winger, had a goal in a 3-0 win. Bedard had an assist in that contest on Howe’s goal.
One night later playing the Royals in Victoria before a capacity crowd of 7,006 spectators at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Arena, Howe posted four goals, two assists and a plus-six rating in the Pats 9-5 victory. Bedard had three goals and an assist in that same contest.
While spectators came to see Bedard, there has been frequent overall talk from those games noting that Howe, who is from Prince Albert, is a pretty good player too. On Monday, Howe was named the WHL player of the week for the week ending on Sunday.
In 23 games with the Pats this season, Howe has 15 goals, 18 assists and a plus-11 rating. He turned 17-years-old on Monday, and due to his late in the year birthday, Howe won’t be eligible for the NHL Entry Draft until 2024.
WHL lineman and Prince Albert teacher Troy Semenchuk worked his first Grey Cup game on Nov. 20 in Regina on the officiating crew as an umpire. Semenchuk has worked as an official calling CFL games for six seasons, and he has served as a linesman in the WHL since the 2012-13 campaign. He was also the special teams coach for the Carlton Comprehensive High School Crusaders this past season.
On Tuesday, the Saskatoon Blades moved from eighth to sixth in the weekly CHL Top 10 Rankings. On Friday, the Blades fell at home 6-3 to the WHL leading Winnipeg Ice, but downed the Ice 5-2 one night later when the teams met again at the SaskTel Centre. The Blades sit fourth overall in the WHL at 16-5. The Ice, who lead the overall WHL standings with a 22-3 mark, fell from first to second in the latest CHL Top 10 Rankings.
Out in Prince George, Cougars 17-year-old centre Riley Heidt is having a stellar campaign recording 13 goals and 23 assists in 23 games. Heidt, who family lives just outside of Saskatoon, was taken second overall in the 2020 WHL Bantam Draft by the Cougars right after the Pats selected Bedard. The Cougars and Pats go at it on Friday marking the first time Heidt and Bedard will play head-to-head in their WHL careers.
Darren Steinke is a Saskatoon-based freelance sportswriter and photographer with more than 20 years of experience covering the WHL. He blogs frequently at