At the end of last season Mitch Fillman gave the professional ranks a tryout when he appeared in a game with the Tulsa Oilers of the Central Hockey League.
But instead of the pros, the former Grande Prairie Storm has decided to go the educational route.
Fillman, a native of Oakville, Ontario, will be suiting upwith the Lakehead University Thunderwolves this coming hockey season. The Thunderwolves play in the West Division of the Ontario University Athletics conference in the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS).
He is the ninth player from last year’s Storm to commit to an American or Canadian university or college for the coming campaign – the most ever from one year for the Alberta Junior Hockey League team. Two other players – Jordan Forfar (York University) and John Girman (Acadia University) are playing in the CIS starting this season.
“Mitch was a great addition to our team last year, he was a major contributor to the success of our club,” said Storm coach/general manager Blaine Bablitz. “He played both forward and defence and did an amazing job at both positions.”
Fillman, who finished with seven goals and 12 assists in 32 games, was so good when he moved to the blueline he ended up being voted the Storm’s Most Valuable Defenceman.
“Once getting back on the blueline Mitch became a very dominate player in our league,” said Bablitz. “He was our best defenceman and arguably the best defenceman in our league. There were nights when it looked like he was a man amongst boys.”
The Thunderwolves finished in third place in the West Division of the OUA with 16 wins, nine losses and three ties.
“With Mitch’s talent and work ethic he will have an immediate impact on their program,” Bablitz said of Fillman, who stands 6-foot-2 and weighs 197 pounds. “The Storm would like to wish Mitch all the best in
his future endeavours.
The eight other Storm players from last year’s roster who have committed to an NCAA or Canadian university or college team for the coming season include: RJay Berra (Manhattenville), Tanner Fritz (Ohio State), Dan Correale (University of New Hampshire), Jordan Forfar
(York University), Derek Henderson (Simon Fraser University), John Girman (Acadia), Cam McWilliam (University of Victoria) and Andy Williams (SAIT).