Turner Ottenbreit would have preferred to stick in the City of Bridges with the Saskatoon Blades, but he sees a lot of upside in playing a second season for the Yorkton Harvest.
“It was a good experience (in Saskatoon), but playing here in Yorkton I’ll get more ice time so that’s a good thing,” says Ottenbreit.
Harvest head coach Dan Cross feels Ottenbreit’s return to the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League will not only benefit his club, but also the Yorkton native’s long-term development.
“He was our most improved player last year and he’s going to log a lot of minutes for us over the year here,” says the head coach. “And I think Saskatoon is really excited about him. For his development, I think he’s in the best place right now.”
The Blades returned Ottenbreit to the Harvest following their first pre-season game against the Swift Current Broncos on Sept. 4. Even though the Blades lost 9-4, the 6-foot-1, 170-pound defenceman maintained a team-high plus-2 rating and added an assist.
“I felt really good about my performance (in the pre-season games) actually, some periods were better than others, especially in the third I did much better,” says Ottenbreit, whom the Blades drafted 261st overall in the 2012 Western Hockey League bantam draft.
In his 16-year-old season with the Harvest, Ottenbreit will be expected to be one of the leaders in the room. This leadership role won’t be new to him as he was a veteran on the bantam AA Terriers two years ago.
“In my second year of bantam I was a leader because I was one of the older players,” says Ottenbreit. “It will be a good experience (to be a leader again).”
Ottenbreit doesn’t have any specific goals in his sophomore season with the Harvest. He’s just hoping to continue his development as a stay-at-home blueliner who can make an impact at both ends of the ice.
“I’m aiming (to develop) into a shutdown defenceman,” he says. “(It want to be) someone who moves the puck well and has a complete game.”