AJHL Top Defenceman Springer Commits to Lakehead University

BROOKS, AB (May 4, 2015) – The Brooks Bandits of the Alberta Junior Hockey League are delighted to announce that 1994-born defenceman Linden Springer (Lloydminster, AB) has committed to attend and play for Lakehead University, beginning in the 2015-16 season.

The Lakehead Thunderwolves, based in Thunder Bay, Ontario, play in Ontario University Athletics (OUA), part of Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS), under third-year head coach Bill McDonald.

“We are all excited for Linden to have this opportunity to pursue his academic and athletic future at Lakehead,” said Bandits head coach and general manager Ryan Papaioannou. “He was a crucial piece to the success of our team this season.”

A graduate of the Lloydminster Bobcats Midget AAA program, the 6’2”, 200lb defenceman began his Junior A career with the Western Hockey League’s Prince George Cougars, playing in a total of 62 WHL games between Prince George and the Portland Winterhawks, registering 6 points and 89 penalty minutes.

Beginning in 2012-13, Springer returned to his hometown Bobcats of the AJHL, scoring 13 points (5 goals, 8 assists) in 44 games with 201 penalty minutes in his first season, and 23 points (8 goals, 15 assists) with 215 penalty minutes in 2013-14.

This season, beginning as Captain of the Bobcats, Springer led all AJHL defencemen in goal scoring with 40 points (19 goals, 21 assists) in 52 games played, and 237 penalty minutes. He was acquired by the Bandits on January 8th of this year and named an alternate captain as Brooks advanced to the AJHL Gas Drive Cup Final against the Spruce Grove Saints.

Following the regular season, Springer was awarded the W.G. (Bill) Scott Memorial Trophy as AJHL Outstanding Defenceman, and late last month he was named one of five national finalists for the CJHL Top Defenceman Award.

“My time in Brooks is one that I will never forget, and the people I met along the way is something I will always cherish,” said Springer. “Looking back now, it seems short lived, but at the same time I have never had as much fun playing the game as I did in Brooks.”

“It did not seem like a job or duty to play every day, but a privilege to do it with such an amazing group of guys in front of the most incredible fans.”

“When we acquired Linden, our team instantly became closer; he has that innate ability to bring people together and make them comfortable,” added Papaioannou. “On the ice, he gave us a level of toughness and physicality that we lacked, which gave our entire lineup a new sense of confidence.”

“Moving forward I'm certain he will ingrain himself as a leader at Lakehead and continue to succeed.”

Springer concluded his AJHL career with 76 points (32 goals, 44 assists) in 142 regular season games, with 653 career regular season penalty minutes.

“The Brooks organization and staff are truly top of the line,” Springer added. “I can’t thank the coaching staff enough for all the time and effort they put in every day to ensure our team was at its best.”

Springer was the Bandits’ second-highest scoring defenceman in this year’s playoff run as well with 10 points (4 goals, 6 assists) in 20 games, with a team-leading 48 penalty minutes. In his career, Springer registered 17 post-season points (6 goals, 11 assists) in 31 games, with 70 PIM.

“The group of guys in the dressing room were closer than any team I have been a part of,” Springer said. “It is extremely rare to have a team that competes at such a high level day in and day out, and still remains as close as we did.”

“Even though I was only in Brooks for three months, the friends I made will last much longer.”

At Lakehead, Springer will be reunited with former Lloydminster teammates Austin McDonald, who committed last year, and Tyler Kunz, who committed late last month.

“My time in Brooks is a huge reason why I am heading to Lakehead next fall,” Springer concluded. “It made me realize that I wanted to further my hockey career in the smartest way possible; with that being the school route, I am very excited to pursue a degree and some successful hockey at Lakehead.”

“Thank you Brooks for all you have done for my family and me.”