Originally posted: http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/our-communities/sports/Magalas-a-major-force-for-Raiders-287688101.html
Tanner Magalas is developing into a dominant force on the ice.
Magalas, 19, is leading the Raiders Jr. Hockey Club in scoring as of Jan. 5, with 23 goals and 35 points in 27 games. His goal total is good for third highest in the Manitoba Major Junior Hockey League (MMJHL).
A third-year Raider, Magalas also led the team in scoring last season, putting up 25 goals and 51 points in 44 games.
Raiders GM Lorne Sanders said his star forward is finding the back of the net even more this season because he’s learned how to properly use his six-foot-two, 230-pound frame.
“He’s got a really physical presence this year. He’s actually got a downright mean streak to him,” Sanders said. “What that’s done is created more room for him on the ice. Sometimes when he’s on, it’s like a man playing against boys.”
Magalas, a Maples resident and Garden City Collegiate graduate, came to the Raiders in 2012 from the Winnipeg Hawks AAA Midget program. In his first two seasons with the Raiders, Magalas had the chance to play with his older brother Ryan. Together they helped lead the north Winnipeg team to its first MMJHL title in 35 years.
“He’s three years older than me so we had never played together. We had skated on the ice together before at NRG but that’s about it,” Magalas said.
“It was great. We’d carpool to the rink. It was easy. It was good for my parents too. Only one team to follow.”
His big brother is no longer eligible to play for the MMJHL, which is made up of players aged 17 to 21, but Magalas’ centreman is almost family.
“I play with my good buddy Nick Matthews, who feeds me the puck a lot. We played together last year too,” Magalas said.
“He’s a year younger than me, but we’ve been friends our whole lives. We grew up together and our parents are best friends.”
In addition to the MMJHL and AAA Midget, Magalas played one game of Junior A hockey with the Waywayseecappo Wolverines of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League (MJHL) in the 2011-2012 season.
Magalas said he chose the more Winnipeg-centric MMJHL so he could stay close to home. Currently, he’s working full-time as a Downtown Watch ambassador with the Downtown BIZ. He hopes to work in law enforcement.
Sanders is happy Magalas chose to lace up for the Raiders, but said he would excel at the Junior A level.
“We’ve got a handful, like Tanner and Brenden Fiebelkorn (Raiders’ goalie) that could easily play at the next level,” Sanders said.
“There are only a handful of guys in the league that can fire the puck like Tanner. He’s a big body, a big power forward, and consequently he protects the puck really well and gets his shots off.”
“It’s no secret, when you play the Raiders you have to find a way to shut down Tanner. Easier said than done.”