Former Nelson Junior Leafs sniper Nik Newman is a national champion after helping the Brooks Bandits capture the 2013 RBC Cup.
The Alberta Junior Hockey League champions captured Canada’s 43rd National Junior A Championship with a 3-1 victory over the Summerside Western Capitals in front of a tournament-record crowd of 4,211 on Sunday night.
The national championship is the first for Brooks, which held the number-one spot in the CJHL top 20 rankings for the final 22 weeks of the regular season. The Bandits are the eighth team from the AJHL to be crowned national champions, and the fifth to do it since the start of the five-team format in 1990. The Camrose Kodiaks were the last AJHL team to win the national title, in 2001.
Newman — who is from Saugus, California — played with the Leafs during the 2011-12 season. The 19-year-old lead the Leafs in scoring that season with 27 goals and 41 assists. He was named the Kootenay International Junior Hockey league’s rookie of the year.
He joined the Bandits at the start of this season.
Newman becomes the second former Junior Leafs player to win an RBC title. Dylan Walchuk etched his name on the trophy in 2009 and 2010 as a member of the Vernon Vipers.
Other former Junior Leafs to win national championships include: Bruno Campese (WHL’s 1983 Memorial Cup with the Portland Winter Hawks), Geoff Kinrade (AHL’s 2011 Calder Cup with the Binghampton Senators and 2013 Swiss League Championship with Bern), Grand Rolheiser (2009 NCAA Championship with Boston University) and Isaac MacLeod (2012 NCAA Championship with Boston College).
The 2014 RBC Cup will be held in May, 2014 in Vernon with the Vipers of the British Columbia Hockey League serving as the host team.