Skip to main content

Youth movement leading way for Calgary Hitmen

On Oct. 22, things didn’t look very good for the Calgary Hitmen.

They’d started their season with a 2-7-2 record.

But since that time, things have really turned around.

The Hitmen are 7-1 in their past eight games and have climbed into third place in the WHL’s Central Division.

Head coach Steve Hamilton says patience was required.

“I think probably the maturity of our group the last couple of weeks. And when I say maturity, it’s just guys getting comfortable in the league,” he said.


The Hitmen are the youngest team in the WHL and Hamilton says veteran players certainly had a hand in making them feel more comfortable.

One player who is helping lead the way in the youth movement is 16-year-old centre Ben Kindel.

In 19 games this season, the young forward has scored five goals and added 15 assists, good enough for fourth in team scoring.

On Monday, Kindel was named the rookie of the week in the WHL after a great two games against the Edmonton Oil Kings.

Kindel had two goals and four assists and says it’s exciting to be part of the youth movement in Calgary.

“Especially when you look at what we can have in the future here,” he said.

“Obviously, we’re a really good team now but we can, with these young guys, do some damage in the future with us getting all of this experience.”


Kindel is playing on the No. 1 line with Sean Tschigerl, who leads the team in scoring with eight goals and 17 assists, and Oliver Tulk, who is third in team scoring with 12 goals and 10 assists through 19 games.

Tulk says Kindel has fit right in.

“He’s fantastic and who would’ve thought this guy would shine this way?” he said.

“He’s a joy to be around. He’s a nice guy and on the ice, he’s really good. I mean, his passing is unreal and he just seems to be able to find the net.”


Both of Kindel’s parents were athletes as well.

Father Steve and Mother Sara played for Team Canada Soccer.

Kindel says he learned a lot from both.

“They had plenty of experience and soccer is a really similar team sport to hockey,” he said.

“Just dealing with the ups and downs and the struggles and the mental side of the game definitely helped me.”

Hamilton says he can definitely see how having professional soccer players for parents has helped Kindel on the ice.

“He grew up playing soccer and he has spatial awareness. His ability to play in open areas and make time and space for his teammates. He’s been dynamic offensively for us and reliable defensively,” Hamilton said.

Next up for Kindel and the Hitmen is a home-and-home series against the Red Deer Rebels.

The first game is in Calgary on Friday night.

The two teams will face each other again in Red Deer on Saturday night. Top Stories

Stay Connected