Swabb tenders his goal

In his last year of junior hockey eligibility, new Canmore Eagles goalie Ty Swabb wants to make his last season a good one.

Swabb, 20, was traded to Canmore during the off-season after a stint with the Prince George Spruce Kings of the B.C. Hockey League. For the ambitious goaltender, it’s a chance to cap off a strong career in the Alberta Junior Hockey League.

“I’m really excited about the opportunity I’m going to get here, and I’m looking forward to starting the season,” he said.

Swabb is clearly a team player, but he’s not easily satisfied when it comes to working together. He started his junior A career with the Sherwood Park Crusaders in 2010-2011. He was then traded to the St. Albert Steel for the start of the 2011-2012 season, but wasn’t happy with the ailing team.

“The team there was pretty poor so I asked for a trade about halfway through the year,” he said. “We were really struggling. I was facing about 50 shots a night.”

Despite a struggling team in St. Albert, Swabb has maintained some impressive stats. He hopes to protect his 90 per cent save rate during his time with the Eagles, and he isn’t shy about having a certain thirst for victory.

“It’s a lot more fun to be on a winning team,” he said. “There’s a good atmosphere when you come to the rink. It wasn’t too positive in St. Albert.”

He was traded to Prince George in early December of last year. He appeared in 19 games, held a 2.83 goals-against average and still maintained his 90 percent save ratio.

Swabb became an Eagle in May to complete a trade in January that saw Jack Rassell go to the Spruce Kings. Rassell returned to the Eagles this past off-season for what are deemed future considerations — the same terminology that landed Swabb in Canmore.

Now looking to form new bonds after his recent arrival in Canmore, the Edmonton native may have a head for statistics, but he’s not letting that get in the way of a strong team work ethic.

“I like to put the team winning first. When we’re winning, the stats will come with that,” he said.

Eagles coach Andrew Milne said Swabb is an important addition to the Eagle’s defence, and one he’s hoping will help the team improve their performance over the struggle of previous years.

“Ty is obviously a good goaltender. He moves well,” said Milne, noting he had observed Swabb’s performance prior to making the trade.

“We wanted to get a 20-year-old in to give us some comfort in the back end. We haven’t had a goaltender since Sam Brittain (2008-2010) left who can give us the confidence we need.”

Swabb is rounding out his 10th year as a goaltender. He started out when he was just five years old and played right wing before switching to the goalie position in his second year of bantam. Clearly experienced, he has no trouble admitting that his first years could have been better spent.

“I wish I’d started playing goalie when I was five instead of wasting half my hockey career playing forward when I really wasn’t that good at it,” he said.

Now faced with his last year of junior hockey, Swabb shares the same ambition for his personal hockey career as he does for the success of his team, noting that he’s seeking a scholarship to play NCAA hockey after his time in junior is up.

“He aspires to move on to play college hockey, so he’s motivated to have a good year,” said Milne.

“I think it’s fair to say that without good goaltending you can’t have a good year. I think the motivation is there for both parties.”

By Justin Parsons