Thompson's Mathew Backhouse is taking his game from Manitoba to New York state, having joined the men's hockey team at Canisius College in Buffalo.
The addition of Backhouse and four other players, two of whom also come from Canadian junior hockey teams, was announced by the Golden Griffins head coach Dave Smith on Sept. 7. They join 22 returning student athletes on the 2012-13 roster.
"We had a very young team last year," said Smith in an announcement on the Golden Griffins athletics website. "So these freshmen went through a selective process to add specific needs to our team. Collectively, they possess great character, size and passion for the game. All of those attributes will not only enhance our current roster but also add to the future success of Canisius hockey."
Regarding Backhouse, a defenceman, the coach said his experience playing in two national junior hockey championships in Canada would prove valuable for the Golden Griffins.
"We are looking for him to bring that winning experience along with his great size and skating ability to our program," said Smith.
Backhouse spent the 2011-12 season with the Humboldt Broncos of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League, having been traded from the Manitoba Junior Hockey League's Dauphin Kings in May 2011 in a deal that completed an earlier swap that saw Riley Gillies sent to Dauphin for future considerations. He had three goals and 28 assists in 57 regular season games for the Broncos, who had an automatic berth in the RBC Cup, Canada's nation junior A hockey championship, as hosts of the tournament. In the SJHL playoffs, he had one goal and seven assists in 16 games as Humboldt captured the SJHL championship and a spot in the last-ever ANAVET Cup playoff series between the winners of the SJHL and MJHL.
The Thompson blue liner previously played in the 2010 RBC Cup as a member of the Kings, following his rookie season in the MHL, scoring an overtime goal to lead his team to a 6-5 victory over the defending champion Vernon Vipers in the opening game of the tournament. He had had just one assist in Dauphin's 13-game run to capture the Turnbull Cup as MJHL champions and no points in that year's ANAVET Cup series win over the SJHL's La Ronge Ice Wolves. He had one goal and 23 assists in 62 games as a rookie, then scored three goals and 22 assists in 41 regular-season games in 2010-11, along with six points in 12 playoff games.
Backhouse spent two seasons as a member of the midget AAA Norman Northstars in Thompson.
A private Roman Catholic college founded in 1870 by members of the Society of Jesus from Germany, Canisius College fields 16 athletic teams which compete in the National Collegiate Athletic Association Devision 1. The men's hockey teams compete in the Atlantic Hockey conference, other members of which include the United States Air Force Academy, the University of Connecticut and the Rochester Institute of Technology.