Mitch Lebar and Brett Vandenberg will suit up for the Golden Hawks next season (Photo Credit: Ian MacAlpine & Niagara University)
WATERLOO, Ont. (July 27, 2011) - GREG PUHALSKI
, the head coach of the Wilfrid Laurier mens hockey team, announced Wednesday the first group of his 2011 recruiting class that will suit up for the Golden Hawks this fall.
"We are pleased to have all five of these players join our program next season," commented Puhalski. "All of them will be great additions to not only our team, but the university as well."
Vandenberg, a 5'11 right winger, comes to Laurier after playing for the Niagara University Purple Eagles, a NCAA Division I school, for one season. A talented offensive player, Vandenberg scored five goals and four assists in his rookie season for the Purple Eagles in 2009-10. Prior to playing at Niagara, Vandenberg suited up for the Salmon Arm Silverbacks of the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL) for 60 games in 2008-09 where he tallied 26 goals and 19 assists.
Lebar will join Vandenberg up front next season and will also be expected to add some offensive firepower to the Golden Hawks attack. A former member of both the Barrie Colts and Kingston Frontenacs of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), the 5'11 left winger appeared in 227 games over his four year OHL career. During that time, he recorded 108 career points including scoring 45 goals. His best season came in 2009-10 when he had 39 points (17 G, 22 A) in 67 games.
Vanni, another player with OHL experience, played over 100 games with the Owen Sound Attack across three seasons. Last year, as team captain of the Brantford Golden Eagles of the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League (GOJHL), the 6'1 forward finished second in team scoring with 51 points (19 goals and 32 assists) in 44 games. In six playoff games with Brantford, Vanni added a goal and four assists.
Riddle, joining the Golden Hawks blue line in 2011-12, has played the last two seasons with the Alberni Valley Bulldogs of the BCHL. The 6'0, 185 lbs., rearguard dressed in 88 games over two seasons with the Bulldogs, tallying four goals and 19 assists to go along with 78 penalty minutes. An assistant captain last season, Riddle was a fan favourite in Alberni Valley and was well known for his work in the community as well as his hard work and dedication to the team.
Long comes to Wilfrid Laurier after playing with the Kitchener Dutchman of the GOJHL. Last season with the Dutchman, the 5'11 netminder was named the MVP of Mid-Western Conference after posting impressive numbers between the pipes. Long recorded a 19-18-1 record in 2010-11 with a 2.91 goals against average and a .911 save percentage. He also posted one shutout in 39 appearances.