Red Deer hockey product commits to Griffins for 2018-2019

Defenceman Andrew Kartusch will play in the ACAC next season

Red Deer’s own Andrew Kartusch will join the Grant MacEwan University Griffins Men’s Hockey team next season. (Team Photo)

Red Deer’s own Andrew Kartusch will continue his hockey journey in Alberta next season.

The defenceman will join the Alberta College Athletic Conference Champion Grant MacEwan University Griffins for the 2018-2019 season, the team announced in a release Friday.

Kartusch, who played three seasons in the Alberta Junior Hockey League with the Drumheller Dragons and was captain last season, when he recorded 13 goals and 29 assists in 57 games. He added six points in 10 playoff games and Griffins head coach Michael Ringrose is excited for the leadership the Red Deer product will bring to his team.

“To me, the more guys who have been in those leadership positions that you can recruit on your roster, the better you’re going to be for it,” Ringrose said in a press release.

“This is a team that leads by committee. If you look at our team last year we had five guys who wore letters, but you could go through the dressing room and the leadership that, to a man, they displayed was impressive down the stretch and, in my opinion, was a big reason why we won.”

The 20-year-old defenceman totaled at least 55 penalty minutes in all three of his AJHL seasons, included 102 last year. Ringrose, who coached against Kartusch when he was behind the bench for the Spruce Grove Saints added that he likes the toughness that the gritty, six-foot-two, 195-pound defender brings to the table.

“He can play a heavy game. He plays an in-your-face game, but he also has some offensive skills that makes him effective. He’s very good at stepping up and snapping pucks through on the offensive blueline, makes a very good first pass out of the zone,” Ringrose said.

“He’s another guy who can come in and play in any situation. These are the type of guys that we try to build our roster with. We’ve shown in the past that we win with depth. He’s another guy who’s going to be able to step in and make our team stronger.”

Kartusch’s 13 goals and 42 points last season were a career high. He spent time in 2014-2015 with the Red Deer Optimist Chiefs and also had stints with the Red Deer Rebels Bantam AAA and Nortstar Chiefs Minor Midget.

Email sports tips to Byron Hackett

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