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Friday, May 20, 2022
Home Sports NHL Hockey Blog In Canada: Knock 'Em Dead, Kid

Hockey Blog In Canada: Knock ‘Em Dead, Kid


The title of this article is also the title of a Trooper album on which one can find the song “We’re Here For A Good Time (Not A Long Time)”. All of those words and phrases – the album title, the band name, and the song title – might apply to Reece Harsch and his time with the University of Manitoba Bisons as the skilled defender signed a professional tryout contract with the AHL’s Abbotsford Canucks on Sunday shortly after the Bisons defeated the Trinity Western Spartans by a 3-0 score. With that inked contract in-hand, the former Seattle Thunderbird was headed back out west to patrol the blue line in the AHL!

If we use the song title of “We’re Here For A Good Time (Not A Long Time)”, Harsch’s stay with the Bisons in Canada West lasted all of 14 games after his four-year tour of the WHL that saw him play primarily with Seattle while finishing his junior career in Saskatoon and Winnipeg. His play with the Ice in 2019-20 gave Bisons head coach Mike Sirant an up-close view of the puck-moving defenseman, and it wasn’t long before the former WHL rearguard was skating with the university squad.

Harsch was effective in his time with the Bisons as he posted two goals and ten assists in his 14-game skate with the team. His first Canada West goal came against Alberta in Manitoba’s huge 7-6 overtime win over the Golden Bears, and he had a three-assist night against the Calgary Dinos back on October 16, 2021 as his most productive night in Canada West. He was turning into a difference-maker for the Bisons this season, so there was optimism for Harsch’s play if the Bisons could keep him in the brown-and-gold.

With the Abbotsford Canucks in Winnipeg to play the Manitoba Moose this weekend, they had a few holes in their lineup thanks to COVID-19. We already had seen Talor Joseph of the Trinity Western Spartans dress for the Canucks on an EBUG basis, so it was likely that the Canucks were on the hunt for more talented players who can make them better. I’m not sure anyone suspected Harsch to be on their short list of candidates, but the Canucks made it real on Sunday.

According to the Abbotsford Canucks’ website, Harsch will wear # 5 for the team as he looks to break into the lineup out of the seven defenders that the Canucks have listed on their roster. Harsch’s effectiveness in moving the puck should help him find a spot in the lineup if Abbotsford is looking to generate more offense from the blue line, and his size certainly will not hurt his cause when trying to clear the crease or pin AHL veterans along the boards.

I’m not saying Harsch is going to come in and dominate by any means, but he works hard and that’s a good start. If he plays like in Abbotsford like he did in both WHL and Canada West, he’ll be a good add for the Canucks who need to find scoring while keeping their opposition off the scoreboard. They sit in sixth-place in the AHL’s Pacific Division with a goal differential of +2 on the season, and that simply will not be good enough to get them into the Calder Cup playoffs. Harsch, like the band, is a trooper when it comes to putting the necessary work in, so expect solid results out if he starts his AHL season like his Canada West was going.

Harsch’s presence on the Manitoba Bisons’ blue line will be missed for the remaining four games of the season as the team valiantly makes a push for a Canada West playoff spot. The team is four points back of Regina who hold the final playoff spot right now, and the Bisons host the Cougars this weekend at Wayne Fleming Arena. After already losing starting netminder Liam Hughes to the ECHL’s Fort Wayne Komets, the Bisons will be without one of the best defenders this season as they look to close that gap on the Cougars.

If there’s one thing we know about Canada West men’s hockey, though, it’s that the best players often leave before their five years of eligibility are remotely close to being up. Talented hockey players are recruited by professional teams across North America and Europe, and Canada West has a number of players they boast who can help those teams in their pursuits of excellent. Reece Harsch is the latest player to follow that dream, and I can not fault him for taking the chance when it arose. All I can do is wish him well, and hope he’s the next Canada West player to earn a full-time NHL job down the road.

Knock ’em dead in Abbotsford, Reece, just like you did here.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!



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