Today, the Pats issued two such decrees by reassigning forward Dane Schioler and releasing overage forward Tanner Olstad.
In Olstad's case, it's one of the tough things about Junior Hockey (especially Major Junior) when the overage numbers game just doesn't work out. Olstad found himself battling against two veteran defencemen, a 27-goal scorer and the Pats' "not Jordan Weal" MVP in net. He may not have been a prolific scorer for the Blue and White, but Olstad's junkyard dog work ethic is evident every time he steps on the ice. Phil and I were talking about it on the broadcast Thursday, he's one of those guys who's a known quantity because he doesn't take a shift off.
Speaking to people who have been around the organization longer than I, they talk about what he brought to the team off the ice as well as the community away from the rink. “Tanner brought a lot to our team in the way of leadership on and off the ice,” says General Manager Chad Lang. “He is a great teammate and with his contributions to the community, sets an example we want all of our players to follow. On behalf of the organization, I would like to thank Tanner for the time he spent in a Pats uniform.”
Olstad has some decisions ahead and time to make them. He could always find a new home in the WHL, he wouldn't have any trouble hooking up with a team in the Jr. A ranks if he wanted or he could always start out at school this season.
For Schioler, time is on his side. Though the young forward was understandably distraught today, he'll head home to Winnipeg to join up with the Midget AAA Thrashers. That program won the Telus Cup in 2011 so he'll be in good hands. Schioler showed he can play the physical game and is more than willing to do so. Sometimes he appeared over-matched by more experienced forwards so a year on the top tier Midget circuit in Manitoba will be great for his development in that regard. Expect to hear more from Dane Schioler in the future, and of course we'll keep a close eye on him as the MMAAAHL season progresses.
Coming up this week for the Pats is the Habitat for Humanity "Hockey and Hammers II" where the Pats players will be helping to put a fence up at a home being built for a deserving family.
I'll be on hand to "document" the event and maybe risk injury to help out some. We'll see how handy I'm feeling on Wednesday.