The Spruce Grove Saints are proud to announce that Saints captain and 1997 born forward Josh Harris has committed to play for the York University Lions for the 2018-2019 season. Harris will suit up for the Lions hockey club which competes in the USPORTS (formerly known as the CIS) Ontario University Athletics conference (OUA) West Division. The Lions won the Queens Cup OUA championship in 2016-17 season and has 3 national championships to the programs credit.
The Edmonton, Alberta native will make the trek east to Ontario to don the red and white Lion uniform after spending his entire 4-year junior career in Spruce Grove. Harris will join his teammate from this past season Brad Forrest as a freshman for the northern Toronto based university.
Head Coach Bram Stephen came to know a special person in Harris.
“Having a captain like Josh to lead our team in my first season behind the Saints bench was invaluable. He is an incredible leader who overcame so much this year, and to have the year he had both in the regular season and playoffs is just astonishing and speaks to the character of the person he is. I am grateful to have been part of his journey and cannot thank him enough for what he did for our program by bestowing on our younger players what it takes to establish and continue a winning culture.”
Stephen believes York is a place where Harris can spread his wings further.
“The opportunity for Josh to attend York University and build upon his impressive hockey career while attending a top Canadian University is certainly exciting. He leaves a winning program for another one (York) that has its sights set on being a perennial powerhouse in the OUA West Division.” Stephen continued. “Speaking to their coach (Russ Herrington) they are very excited to have landed Josh as a recruit and see him as big part of their future going forward. We couldn’t be happier for Josh and his family and thank him for the all he has done for the Spruce Grove Saints organization."
Harris departs the Saints after completing one of, if not the most prolific careers in modern Saints history, rewriting the Saints record books this season. Josh holds the Saints record for career games played (225), goals (73), assists (112), and career points (185). Included with individual records he accomplished 2 Alberta Junior Hockey League Championships (2015,2018) and an AJHL Playoff MVP (2018).
The 6‘ft, 181-pound forward was pursued hard by York, and as he was trying to make his decision on which school to attend this fall, York was the school he just couldn’t get out of his head.
“When I was going over my options there was a few things about York that just stood above the rest. First and foremost was the prospect of getting an education from a top tier Canadian University, especially one that is so highly regarded in the field of Kinesiology, which I plan to major in." Stated an excited Harris. “Secondly was just how much belief Russ and the York hockey team had in my abilities and their vision/plan for me to become a core player on the team really meant a lot to me. I want to pursue hockey professionally after completing my degree so the combination of the schooling plus the high level of hockey was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.”
York being located in Toronto also played a big part in Harris’ decision.
“I’m really excited to get the season going and start to experience what York and the city of Toronto have to offer. There is just so much to do and see there. I really want to take in Leafs and Blue Jays games and explore the downtown core and GTA. That was a big selling feature to me.” Harris exclaimed.
After sitting back and taking a moment to pause Harris was grateful to many people and the only junior team he ever played for.
“With out my family and girlfriend this wouldn’t be possible, I am extremely thankful to them for all their love and support through my junior career. I also want to thank all my past coaches and teammates for helping make my 4 years in Spruce Grove ones that I will never forget. Finally, I want to thank Ryan (Smyth), Rob (GM), Bram, and the whole Saints ownership and staff for everything they did for my family and I this season. We had the closest group I have ever been a part of and everyone made my last season of junior truly special. I am very thankful everyone.” Finished Harris.
GM Rob Sklaruk was in awe of the person and player he got the pleasure of knowing this season.
“Josh Harris is the truest Saint of all Saints. He encapsulates what we could ever imagine and expect a Saints player to be. Our team faced a lot of adversity this season and Josh was right in the thick of it. From his sister Ashley’s fight, to the Humboldt Broncos tragedy he was a rock, and continued to perform at an elite level on the ice and as the leader of our team.” Sklaruk continued. “In the playoffs, he took his game to a level that few people are able to achieve. He was a slam dunk as the playoff MVP.” Sklaruk continued. “We are just so proud and thankful to call Josh Harris our captain and a Saint. On behalf of our ownership, management and players, I speak for them all when I say we are thrilled for Josh, we thank him for his service to the team and we are all thrilled to see him continue his career at the USPORTS level with York University.”
Harris plans to study Kinesiology and possibly pursue a minor in business at York starting this fall.
Harris joins Austin Parmiter (Grant MacEwan), Jordan Biro (Denver University), Brad Forrest (York University), Chris Van OS-Shaw (Minnesota State- Mankato), TJ Lloyd (Bowling Green), Chase Olsen (Merrimack) and Parker Saretsky (Michigan Tech) as the eighth Saint to obtain a scholarship this season and tenth Saint with an NCAA Division I, USPORTS or ACAC scholarship this season.
The Saints organization would like to congratulate the Forrest family and Brad on his great accomplishment.
Season tickets for the 2018-19 season are currently on sale now. You can purchase your seats by calling the Saints office at 780-960-TEAM(8326) or online at tickets.sprucegrovesaints.ca