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Friday, 15 September 2017 07:09

Cesana named Brooks Bandits captain

Written by  Tyler King
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Second-year defenceman Dennis Cesana (Providence, RI) will serve as the captain of the Brooks Bandits for the 2017-18 Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) season, head coach Ryan Papaioannou announced Thursday night.

 

.Cesana will be joined by alternate captains Arnaud Vachon (Ajax, ON), Nic Hamre (Ottawa, ON), and Nolan Thompson (Calgary, AB). He succeeds forward Nick Prkusic (Medicine Hat, AB), who is beginning his NCAA career this season with Robert Morris University.

A 19-year old commit to Michigan State University, Cesana was the second-highest scoring defenceman in the AJHL last season, recording 52 points (12 goals, 40 assists) in 59 games played, sharing the team’s Rookie of the Year award. He added 16 playoff points (6 goals, 10 assists) in 13 games, scored a dramatic shootout winner against Penticton at the 2017 Western Canada Cup, and was the second-highest scoring player at the 2017 RBC Cup with 6 points (1 goal, 5 assists) in 6 games.

“Dennis made a significant impact to our lineup last season culminating with his commitment to Michigan State,” said Papaioannou. “This season, he has an opportunity to replicate the on-ice success while leading our group off the ice. He’s very well-liked by his teammates and will undoubtedly do a fantastic job as our Captain.”

Vachon, 19, was the team’s fifth-highest goal scorer last season and among the leading rookies in the AJHL in that category with 23 of them in 59 games, with a 38-point season in his first Junior A campaign, which led to a commitment to Colgate University in early March. He was also named the winner of the team’s annual Hustler of the Year Award.

“Arnaud comes to work every day with a mindset of leading the team through his work ethic,” Papaioannou noted. “He’s got an extremely competitive nature and does everything to the best of his ability. Off the ice he’s a lead-by-example type and we will look to our players to mimic his actions each day."

Hamre, 20, enters his second season with the Bandits after being recruited from the same team as Cesana, Kimball Union Academy in Meriden, New Hampshire. He tied Vachon for eighth on the team in points last year with 38 of them (19 goals, 19 assists), and was named that season’s recipient of the Nick Crosby Memorial Award.

“Nic is a fierce competitor who plays hard every night and practices the same way,” Papaioannou stated. “He is always willing to stick up for teammates and is well known for his physical game despite being a smaller stature player. Away from the rink Nic has an ability to influence our team in a positive way as a veteran player with championship experience.”

Thompson, 19, enters the team’s captaincy corps in his first season with the organization, after being acquired in an off-season trade with the Calgary Mustangs. In three seasons with the Okotoks Oilers, Thompson has scored 74 points in 138 regular season games, with 325 penalty minutes.

“Nolan is a unique addition to our group as we’ve played against him more than 20 times in the past 3 seasons,” Papaioannou explained. “He knows the league well and has demonstrated plenty of growth as a player. Since arriving in Brooks he’s shown a great deal of maturity and will bring a wide-ranging perspective to our leadership group.”

Cesana, Vachon, Hamre, and Thompson will don their letters for the Bandits’ season-opening game tomorrow night in Okotoks against the Oilers at 7:00 PM, before returning home to take on those same Oilers on Saturday night in the Brooks Minor Hockey Bandits Home Opener, presented by Chinook Financial, at 7:00 PM as well. Tickets for the game, which serves as a fundraiser for Brooks Minor Hockey, are available online at tickets.brooksbandits.ca, by phone at (403) 501-0122, or in person at the Centennial Regional Arena.

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