Howe signs with Weyburn for next season

Daily Herald File Photo Prince Albert Mintos forward Tanner Howe battles for position with Saskatoon Blazers forward Parker Lalonde during a game at the Art Hauser Centre earlier this season.

Tanner Howe is excited about the next step in his hockey career.

The 15-year-old forward from Prince Albert signed a contract with the Weyburn Red Wings on Feb. 19 and is set to join the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League club for the 2021-22 season.

“Once the draft happened in June (where Howe was picked second overall) I had talked with the team quite a bit and they were interested in signing me,” Howe said.

“I had several chats with (head coach and general manager) Rich Pilon about the organization. They have great coaches and a lot of great players that have played for the team, and the community itself is a great one to play in.”

In signing with the Red Wings, Howe will be venturing away from home for the first time in his hockey career, but he’s looking forward to the challenge.

“Everything will be brand new for me once I get there, especially with the team itself as I’ll be getting to know everyone on the team when we arrive for training camp,” Howe said.

“Even though I’ll be one of the younger guys on the team, I got a taste of what that will be like this year with the (Prince Albert) Mintos. I think that will help me out quite a bit as I try to get bigger and stronger during the off-season.”

After posting 75 points in 31 games for the Prince Albert Pirates at the Under-15 level in 2019-20, Howe joined the Mintos and had four points in five games at the Under-18 level before the season was stopped in November due to restrictions put in by the provincial government as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It was a little disappointing that season got shut down, but the games that we did get to play were good and it was a great experience to play for my hometown team,” Howe said.

“Going into the season, I knew that I need to be quick and tough as I dealt with the physicality from playing against older guys, but I felt like I was able to get used to that as I played more games. My teammates helped me out a lot and I was able to put up some points by playing a good solid game.”

The Red Wings aren’t the only option that is available to Howe, as he was a fourth round selection by the Regina Pats in the 2020 WHL Bantam Draft.

Although his main focus is to start his SJHL career next fall, he isn’t closing the door on playing at the major junior level.

“We’re just letting things play out and seeing what happens,” Howe said.

“I haven’t made a long-term decision yet as to if I want to play in the WHL or if I want to pursue a career in the NCAA. That’s something that our family will talk about here soon.”