Jefferson Hagen, MacEwan Athletics
EDMONTON – There's no substitute for championship experience and leadership on the resume.
The latest additions to the MacEwan Griffins men's hockey 2019-20 recruiting class feature a Western Hockey League champion and two former Alberta Junior Hockey League captains, including one who led his team to a championship.
Head coach Michael Ringrose announced Wednesday that Kole Gable – who has 210 games of WHL experience on his resume – Fort McMurray Oil Barons captain Taner Miller and former Spruce Grove Saints captain Josh Harris will be joining the three-time defending Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference champion Griffins.
Gable played for the Edmonton Oil Kings for a season (2015-16) before being traded to the Swift Current Broncos where he helped them win the 2018 WHL Championship and compete at the Memorial Cup.
"I think his track record speaks for itself," said Ringrose. "We're excited. He's going to be a huge addition for us."
All totalled, Gable amassed 43 points in 210 WHL games – including 44 playoff contests – but it wasn't until the 2018-19 season when he returned to his hometown of Fort McMurray to play his final junior season with the Oil Barons that he really hit his stride offensively, netting 24 goals and 65 points in 58 games, adding another 10 points in as many playoff games.
"Kole has experience playing in a number of different junior organizations across the WHL, but really found his offensive game this past season with Fort McMurray in the AJHL," said Ringrose. "He's going to continue to get an opportunity to play that kind of role with us, and we're hopeful that he can come in and replace some of the scoring that graduated last season."
Kole Gable had 65 points in 58 games during his final junior season with the Fort McMurray Oil Barons in 2018-19 (Dan Lines Photography).
Gable's 2018-19 teammate Miller is another premium addition from an Oil Barons team that went to the second round of the AJHL playoffs this season.
"The Oil Barons consistently produce players that are ready to step in and play at the next level," said Ringrose. "Tom (Keca) and his program do a great job. So to add not just two players, but two prominent players from that program who are familiar with one another is something we're definitely excited about."
Miller netted 40+ points in three of his four seasons with the MOB, including a high watermark 46-point effort in 2018-19. The 6-foot-1, 190 lb. defenceman also excels in his own zone.
"He's the type of guy who just quietly does everything," said Ringrose. "He's reliable in both ends of the rink, he can chip in offensively and play on your powerplay."
That the Lethbridge product wore the 'C' for the Oil Barons also speaks to his character.
"We're extremely excited to be adding a player of Taner's calibre to our program," said Ringrose. "He's a proven leader whose complete game will help us on both sides of the puck. We expect Taner to step in and have an immediate impact."
Defenceman Taner Miller, who was captain of the Oil Barons last season, produced three 40+ point seasons in the AJHL, while also proving to be a rock defensively (Dan Lines Photography).
Harris captained the 2017-18 Spruce Grove Saints to an AJHL championship, earning the league's playoff MVP award in the process after producing 15 points in 13 games. He amassed 185 points in 225 AJHL regular season games and added another 39 in 46 playoff contests.
"He's another guy who was a captain of the team who won the AJHL championship last year," said Ringrose.
"He also won with me when I was there in Spruce," added the former Saints coach of the 2014-15 AJHL championship. "He certainly has a track record of success and leadership. We're really, really excited to be adding him to the fold."
As an added bonus, Harris brings U SPORTS experience to the table after spending the 2018-19 season with York University in Toronto. He had three points in 17 games.
"He maybe didn't get the opportunity he was expecting to get last year, but just the experience of competing at that level is something that's going to help him and us moving forward," said Ringrose, who obviously knows firsthand what Harris can do with his ice time.
"He plays a reliable 200-foot game and we expect him to step in and help us offensively right off the hop."
Josh Harris led the Spruce Grove Saints to the 2017-18 AJHL Championship and was named playoff MVP before playing last season at York University in Toronto (Spruce Grove Saints photo).