Jaden Kreklewich’s return to the Yorkton Harvest for his third season put a big smile on head coach Dan Cross’ face.
“It was great to get Jaden back,” said Cross. “He’s ready this year to have a big year in his last year of midget.”
Kreklewich’s return is vital to the Harvest’s offense thriving this season because they have already lost three offensive stars, Dakota Odgers (Swift Current Broncos), Nicolas Pouliot (Weyburn Red Wings) and Lynnden Pastachak (Estevan Bruins), to the junior ranks.
“Those three guys are big losses – they played a lot of minutes last year,” said Cross. “We want our players to go on and make junior leagues, but it’s always good to get a guy back that you know can play a big role.”
Kreklewich, 17, took part in the Melville Millionaires’ training camp. He was in the running for a spot, but was cut in favour of older players.
“The camp went pretty good,” said Kreklewich. “There were a lot of skilled guys there, but I thought I did a good job of fitting in.”
The 5-foot-9, 165-pound centre blossomed into a star last year, doubling and then some his previous point total with 13 goals and 40 points in 44 games. This year, Kreklewich aims to improve on his previous season’s stats, but he hasn’t set any specific goals.
“I put up good points last year and I want to improve on them this year,” he said. “This year I’m stronger and have played two years in the league so I think I’m ready for a big year.”
Besides scoring points, Kreklewich will be expected to be a leader in the dressing room as a third year player. This type of leadership role isn’t new to him; he played a veteran role in bantam with the Melville ‘AA’ Millionaires.
“In second year bantam I was leader, so I know how to play that role,” said Kreklewich. “And this year we got a lot of different guys, so I want to make players around me better and help guys get used to this league.”
One of those new faces in the room is the Melville native’s younger brother, Tyler Kreklewich. The older Kreklewich is excited to be reunited with his brother and believes they could click together as an offensive tandem.
“It’s going to be great to play with my brother,” he said. “He’s a good skilled player who is quick on his feet. I think we’ll work well together out there because we’ve played together before in bantam and peewee.”
Even before the regular-season has kicked off, the Kreklewich brothers’ chemistry caught the eye of their head coach.
“He has had some instant chemistry with his brother Tyler,” said Cross. “They look good together and that could be a strong offensive duo for us.”