Sawka joined the Smoke Eaters after spending part of last season with the St. Albert Steel of the AJHL. He left the team mid-way through the season to join the Lloydminster Bandits of the NEAJBHL. The Bandits would go on to win their league championship and the provincial Junior B championship before coming up short at the Keystone Cup. Sawka describes himself as a physical blue liner, but he sure put some numbers up last season for the Bandits. Sawka scored 4 goals and 23 assists in 20 regular season games. Of course that physical edge also brought him 53 penalty minutes. He added 3 goals and 11 assists in 14 playoff games. Of course Junior B scoring success doesn't always translate to Junior A, but that is certainly an element of Sawka's game that may be more developed than he would suggest. I liked how in the interview he made it clear he's willing to take on any role that the team wants him to play. He'll battle in the corners, in front of the net, drop the gloves and is willing to play that kind of a role if other guys are going to be given the ball offensively. That kind of unselfish attitude will make it easier for him to make an impression and stick in the BCHL. He's one of five new faces on the blue line that will have to prove they can get the job done early in this regular season or the Smoke Eaters may be forced to make a move or two for veterans.
There are a number of other new Smokies (see the roster post bellow) that I'll be interviewing and hopefully profiling before the puck drops on Fiday in Merritt. Stay tuned to Mountain FM's Overtime (6pm to 10pm daily on 104.1FM in Trail and you can listen live at mountainfm.net) and this blog for the latest.