T-Birds sign 5 players; exhibition opener Friday | WHL

The Thunderbirds play a seven-game preseason schedule, beginning with three games at Everett this weekend. - Courtesy
The Thunderbirds play a seven-game preseason schedule, beginning with three games at Everett this weekend.
— image credit: Courtesy

For the Reporter

Seattle Thunderbirds signed five players to WHL standard player agreements, general manager Russ Farwell announced today.

The T-Birds signed right wing Wyatt Bear, defenseman Reece Harsch, right wing Nick Holowko, right wing Luke Osterman and center Mackenzie Wight. All five players took part in the recently concluded T-Birds training camp.

The five players are eligible to play in the T-Birds' first preseason game on Friday against the Tri-City Americans at the Everett Silvertips Holiday Inn Preseason Classic at Comcast Arena. Game time is 11:30 a.m.

Bear, from Hodgson, Manitoba, was the T-Birds' fifth-round selection, 102nd overall, in the 2014 Bantam Draft. He played 33 games with the Interlake Lightning in the Winnipeg Bantam Division 1 and had 18 goals and 33 assists for 51 points last season.

"Wyatt had a very good camp and has huge potential to be an impact player in the WHL," Farwell said. "His skill set combined with a big physical frame gives him a great platform to develop into a very good player."

Harsch, from Grand Prairie, Alberta, was the T-Birds' eighth-round selection, 170th overall, in the 2014 Bantam Draft. Last season he played 33 games with Grand Prairie in the AMBHL and had two goals and 12 assists for 14 points.

"Reece might have been our most pleasant surprise at camp this year," Farwell said. "He played with poise and real good common sense and we are excited about his potential to be a very good defenseman for us in the future.

Holowko, from Burnaby, British Columbia, was an invite to camp prior to the 2012-13 season. He was added to the team's 50-player protected list after camp. Last season he played 33 games with North Delta in the PaJHL and had two goals and nine assists for 11 points.

"Nick has been a very loyal and committed player for us since we listed him two years ago," Farwell said. "He has never varied in his desire to play for the Thunderbirds and with his hard work this summer has shown he is now ready to challenge for a job."

Osterman, from Stillwater, Minn., was the T-Birds' eighth-round selection, 161st overall, in the 2012 Bantam Draft. He played 20 games for Omaha in the NAPH16 League and had six goals and seven assists for 13 points last season.

Osterman is the seventh member of the 2012 draft class to sign with the T-Birds. He joins Mathew Barzal (first round-first overall), Keegan Kolesar (1-20), Ethan Bear (2-25), Logan Flodell (3-47), Lane Pederson (5-91) and Donovan Neuls (8-157).

"Luke has made an impressive conversion from defense to forward since coming to training camp last year," Farwell said. "He is a driven and focused player who brings a real physical style to every shift he plays. He has earned his spot and will add grit to our team for years to come."

Wight, from Burnaby, was the T-Birds' seventh-round selection, 148th overall, in the 2014 Bantam Draft. Last season he played for the Burnaby Winter Club in the PCAHA.

"Mackenzie had a very good camp and has proven to be a very good prospect to play in the WHL in the future. He plays a physical, agitating style and can add offense as well. We are excited to bring him on board as a Thunderbird for the future," said Farwell.

Preseason slate

The Thunderbirds have a seven-game preseason schedule, beginning with three games at Everett this weekend.

Seattle also plays Victoria at 3 p.m. Saturday and again at 3 p.m. Sunday against Spokane.

The T-Birds next preseason appearance will be in Kennewick at the Red Lion Hotels' Preseason Tournament at the Toyota Center. The T-Birds will play Spokane next Thursday at 3 p.m. and face the Everett Silvertips next Friday at 11 a.m.

The T-Birds close out the preseason schedule with a home-and-home series against the Silvertips. The T-Birds visit Everett on Sept. 12 for a 7:35 p.m. puck drop, then return home for their only preseason appearance at the ShoWare Center on Saturday with 7:05 p.m. start.

Tickets for the preseason game are on sale online.

Regular-season opener Sept. 20

The T-Birds' home opener for the 2014-15 regular season is Saturday, Sept. 20 against Everett. Face-off is 7:05 p.m.

Tickets are currently on sale and can be purchased online at

and at the ShoWare Center box office, 625 W. James St., Kent (open Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday game days at 10 a.m. and Sunday game days at noon.

Season tickets may be purchased by calling the T-Birds office at 253-239-7825.

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