Stanick embracing leadership role ahead of final WHL season
After leading the team in scoring last season, Sloan Stanick is heading into his final WHL season with a fresh set of expectations. One of those expectations is to be a leader on a young Raider squad, and to help guide the up and coming group of young talent through their first Western Hockey League season.
“It’s pretty crazy how fast it’s gone by” Stanick said about his WHL career. “I’ve seen a lot of 20-year-olds and people that I’ve looked up to. I want to be a leader but also someone that the young guys aren’t afraid to come up and talk to or go for a bite to eat. I’ll always be there for them. It’s a hard league when you first start, but I want to be someone that can support the rookies.”
It will be Stanick’s third season with the Raiders after being acquired in a trade from the Regina Pats in the 2021-22 season.
Stanick finished second in team scoring in the 2021-22 season, just two points behind Reece Vitelli. Last season, he edged out Landon Kosior by one point for the team lead. This season, he explained what his expectations are heading into September.
“I want to lead the team every way I can,” he said. “I always want to help the team win games, and making a long playoff push is my goal. That’s a part of my game, but I want to help with my defensive part of my game and just help the team win.”
Spending the second half of the season on a line with Ryder Ritchie and Aiden Oiring, the forward line was able to generate much of the Raiders’ offense. Heading into this season, Stanick says the trio will be able to produce once again, especially with the chemistry they created in 2022-23.
“It was a great end of the season for the three of us, and we took a lot of pride in practicing together and finding where we are on the ice. I think they both had great summers as well, keeping in touch with them. Ryder had a great time overseas (at the Hlinka Gretzky tournament) which was awesome. Bringing back that confidence will be great for our line. It’s very exciting for all of us, and we’ll be a line to be reckoned with out there for sure.”
Heading into the season as the only overage forward currently on the roster, the Rapid City, MB product explained how he wants to be a leader for the young players coming up.
“I just want to be there and joke around with them and make them feel like they’re a part of the team,” he explained. “When you’re a 20-year-old, everyone is looking up to you and the older guys can be a bit intimidating, but that’s not who I am as a person. I want to be there for them, and if they ever need someone to talk to or someone to go for a round of golf with, I’ll always be there for them. I just want to support them and give them what I’ve learned over the years.”