Fans will have the chance to cheer on two hometown boys after the Bonnyville Jr. A Pontiacs signed a second local player to their roster.
Bonnyville-native Austin Saint will be sporting the Pontiac jersey for the 2019/20 season. He joins fellow local AJ Macaulay, who was signed in January.
For Saint, the reality of joining a team he's idolized since he was a kid still hasn't fully sunk in.
"It was exciting. It didn't really feel real. It was pretty surreal, and once I told my parents, they were pretty excited," he expressed.
While he had other offers, the forward had his sights set on the Pontiacs.
"I kind of grew up watching them, growing up here and my family always being here, I was always coming to games as a kid. Being able to be a Pontiac now is kind of special."
He added, "My family and I just had our hearts set (for me to play) here in Bonnyville. It's where I grew up, and I know that they knew that I idolized a lot of the Pontiacs."
As an affiliate player for the last two years, Saint is a familiar face for the local AJHL team.
"We know that he's a great kid, and he brings a skill set of being a 200-foot hard-working player that plays the game honestly, that adds a bit of strength to his abilities and skills set. We're looking forward to seeing how he progresses in the summer, and going into main camp with us," explained head coach Rick Swan.
After spending his minor hockey career in Bonnyville, Saint went to Lloydminster to play at the midget and midget AAA level before hitting the rink with the Fort Saskatchewan Rangers last season. With the Rangers, Saint scored seven goals and eight assists in 35 games.
Swan noted Saint being from the area is a bonus.
"Anytime you can get a local player that can play, it's a great thing. We've always said, 'if you're good enough to play and you're from Bonnyville, we want you to be a member of the Bonnyville Pontiacs.'"
While donning a Pontiacs jersey is a dream of his, Saint's excited to play alongside Macaulay.
"We both played in Lloydminster growing up, and we both played with each other pretty much our entire lives. Now being able to be the two hometown boys being able to come in, I know the fans are probably looking forward to it and I know we are too," he said, adding he has high hopes for the upcoming season.
"My hope is to be a role model for the little kids and to help out my team any way that I can. Hopefully, me and AJ can be the hometown heroes that everybody wants us to be."