Steinbach's Bauer Kasdorf was acquired by the Winnipeg Freeze and after signing with the club, he's ready to make his mark on the Manitoba Junior Hockey League.
Kasdorf was traded from the Virden Oil Capitals organization to the Freeze earlier in the summer and the 18-year-old says the move is a positive one on a few fronts. "It's way closer to home for me" the young defender explained. "That was a really big thing for me. I'm super happy about it."
With the Freeze looking like they'll be a younger team, the door is wide open for Kasdorf to be a steady name in the lineup. "It gives me a lot of hope. I feel that fighting for spots with guys my age, I have a better chance at making the team."
Regardless of where he was planning to lace up the skates this season, Kasdorf says playing the MJHL was the goal and he's worked towards it for a while now. "Throughout the summer, my plan was to crack a roster. I thought it would be Virden but now that's changed. I've worked with the RINK, the junior program, I'm working on upping my game. I want to be calmer with the puck, I work in the weight room a lot because I won't be playing guys who are my age and younger, I'll be going up against guys my age and older."
While games in the MJHL will be a new experience, Kasdorf has been an attendee at MJHL camps in the past. He says he's learned a lot from those experiences. "A key to being a good defender at this level is making good decisions quickly. Also, being a physical force, being tough to play against."
A large part of the excitement of going to Winnipeg for Kasdorf is that his family will have a chance to see him play more often and that means a great deal to him. "They're really excited. They haven't got to watch me a ton because we were barely in Winnipeg last year. This year will be different, we'll be in Steinbach against the Pistons, and even the surrounding area, they'll be able to drive out. We're all very excited about that."
Having worn a Pistons practice jersey at camps previously, Kasdorf laughs when thinking about going up against the team from his hometown. "It's going to be weird, for sure. I'm definitely excited about it. My dream was to play for the Pistons and that hasn't happened (yet) but I'm excited about the opportunity to get out and show what I can do."
As things ramp up across the MJHL, Kasdorf says he too is jumping right into it. "I'll be moving into my billets next week and then we're right on the ice for camp. We'll be practicing and getting to work with the new guys on the team. It's going to be a busy month. I've talked with the coach, he called me and he said he wants to play me, which is amazing. I just want to show him what I got and show him he made the right decision to trade for me."
The first time the Freeze and the Pistons meet in the regular season is October 7th at the HyLife Centre in La Broquerie.