Cougars bolster overage core with addition of MacLean from Thunderbirds

Brian Liesse/Seattle Thunderbirds


As the opening day of the 2018-19 Western Hockey League Regular Season approaches, the movement of overage players to satisfy roster requirements has become a common fall practice.

The Prince George Cougars helped facilitate some of that movement Monday with the Seattle Thunderbirds, acquiring forward Mike MacLean from the U.S. Division club.

In exchange, the Thunderbirds received 2001-born forward Keegan Craik and a fifth-round selection in the 2019 WHL Bantam Draft. The Cougars also acquired 2002-born defenceman Sam Schoenfeld and a conditional pick in the 2021 WHL Bantam Draft.

“MacLean is a big, physical winger who’s a late bloomer and someone we think still has a lot of untapped potential,” said Cougars General Manager Mark Lamb

A 6-foot-7, 234-pound product of Penticton, British Columbia, MacLean played 38 games with the Thunderbirds last year, recording four points (2G-2A) and 42 penalty minutes. He also appeared in 24 games with the Lloydminster Bobcats of the Alberta Junior Hockey League, totaling six points (3G-3A) and 106 penalty minutes. In five games during the 2018 WHL Playoffs, MacLean record two points (1G-1A).

“Mike has been a valued contributor for the T-Birds who has really developed with us in the last year,” said La Forge. “But with only three 20-year-old spots available we had to make a move. With this trade we were able to find a team for Mike to continue playing in the WHL. We are excited to add Keegan as he is a player who will add depth to our team.”

Also headed to the Cougars is the 2002-born defenceman Schoenfeld. A 6-foot-3, 181-pound product of Calgary, Alta. spent the majority of last season with the Okanagan Hockey Academy Elite 15 team in the Canadian Sport School Hockey League Elite 15s league, playing 32 games and finishing with nine points (1G-8A). He also appeared in four games with the Okanagan Hockey Acad. White Prep of the CSSHL, recording two points (1G-1A).

The other player involved in the deal is Craik, a 6-foot-1, 169-pound product of Brentwood Bay, B.C. Originally selected in the fifth round, 97th overall, of the 2016 WHL Bantam Draft, Craik made his WHL debut last season, playing a pair of games and recording no points. Craik played the majority of the season with the Delta Hockey Academy Prep team in the CSSHL, recording 29 points (13G-16A) in 27 games. He’d go on to add one assist in four playoff games.

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