Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Willms To Join Reds

The defending AUS Champion University of New Brunswick Reds have added their second OHL forward in as many days with former Barrie Colt and London Knight Jason Willms committing to the team for the 2020-2021 season.

Willms, a 6', 187 pound native of Kitchener, Ontario, spent the first three and a half seasons of his career with the Barrie Colts - the last two serving as team captain - before getting dealt to the Knights part way through last season. Overall, he contributed 82 goals and 99 assists in 264 career games with his best season coming in 2017-2018, when he put up 27 goals and 32 assists in 68 games. He had 22 goals and 31 assists in 60 games this season. He only saw postseason action once, adding six points in 12 games.

The durable Willms - he never missed a game during his OHL career - is particularly known for his ability in the face-off circle, placing tied for first and first the last two seasons in the "Best on Faceoffs" category in the annual OHL Coach's Poll. He won 2849 draws in his junior career, including a league-high 865 this season, at close to a 60% clip.

Furthermore, head coach Gardiner MacDougall describes his latest recruit as someone who is "durable, has elite face-off skills, and the ability to score clutch goals" and who will "bring a fiercely competitive mindset and work ethic" to the program. 

Willms will be joining some familiar faces with the Reds. He was a teammate of Ben Hawerchuk in Barrie and is good friends with both Connor Hall and Austen Keating.

If Keating is going to be looked upon to replace some of the first-line offense lost from the departure of Stephen Anderson and Patrick Watling, Willms looks like a natural replacement for the graduating Mark Simpson as someone who can dominate the face-off circle, be responsibly defensively, and chip in on offense.

The Reds will now look to fill their remaining roster spots over the coming months.