Two native Winnipeg gamers stick with ICE
It’s always nice to see local players play for the local team. The Winnipeg ICE looks like two Winnipeg-born players will join their roster this season.
Both Evan Friesen and Sequoia Swan played in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League last season. Each player plays a different style of hockey, which gives them the chance to stand out on the ICE this season.
EVAN FRIESEN, RW
17 years old
5 ’10 “181 pounds
Evan Friesen has a game based on his high hockey IQ and the skills the brain enables.
He joined the Winnipeg Blues at the age of 15 and has impressed in the six games the team played last year. His three goals and two assists as the engine of the team’s second row underscored his growth as a player who got better in every game he appeared in. At the time the MJHL season was canceled, he was given top power play duties and became a player the Blues coaching team could rely on in any game situation.
Originally, the expectation that the Blues would get their 2019 second-round pick back was with a top-line spot. Instead, he signed an agreement with the ICE in May and pushed his way into the discussion about a place in the premiere squad with an impressive training camp.
It doesn’t surprise the blues – Friesen has an unstoppable work ethic and eager to develop all aspects of his play. Winnipeg loves players who are working to improve every area of their game, so Friesen should be a good fit for this team. With enough effort, Friesen could become part of the new core that the Winnipeg ICE is forming.
SEQUOIA SWAN, LW
19 years old
5 ’10 “185 pounds
Sequoia Swan returns to the WHL after making his WHL debut with the Tri-City Americans in 2018. He couldn’t stay with them, so he returned to the OCN Blizzard before the pandemic ended the season for him. During the off-season, the Winnipeg Freeze expansion was traded in for him, but the Winnipeg ICE came into play for the same reason.
One word perfectly describes Swan’s game: Edge. He has led his league in penalty minutes for three of the last six seasons he has played, including a whopping 207 in 2019-20. He fights, hits, gets faces and keeps an eye out for his teammates as he scores here and there.
The ICE doesn’t need Swan to be the top scorer – there are already a lot of goal scorers. They could use a little more bite. Swan has a lot of bite. The ICE may need to master him a little as the team values disciplined hockey, but Swan should be able to make the adjustment without losing his mindset on the ice.
As a 19-year-old, it should also be a boon in the locker room. Swan has a lot of travel experience from his OCN days and will likely adapt to the WHL lifestyle quickly.
How much he plays is up for debate, though he has a larger opening after the team traded Hayden Pakkala for Prince Albert. If Swan manages to stay as a regular he will be a player no one wants to play against.