Vet back in Steelers' fold

ADAM WAZNY -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 12:44 PM ET

An ounce of frustration, a simmering deal which eventually never made it off the stove and a well-timed phone call was the perfect recipe for bringing Kyle Howarth back home.

And the Selkirk Steelers couldn't be more satisfied.

As Manitoba Junior Hockey League teams announced their trade deadline moves last week, the Steelers quietly welcomed the Western Hockey League veteran back into the fold.

The 19-year-old rejoined the Selkirk club on Jan. 13, picking up four assists in a 6-3 victory over Portage.

Howarth's journey through the WHL started in 2004, when he left the Steelers to join the Medicine Hat Tigers for their WHL championship run. That summer, the St. Andrews product was traded to Spokane, where he played the following season.

Traded to Prince Albert earlier this winter, Howarth was dealt back to the great state of Washington (this time to Everett) on the Jan. 10 trade deadline.

Sick of moving around through the league, Howarth, who recorded 18 goals and 19 assists in 113 WHL games, decided to give his old team a ring.

"Needless to say, being traded a couple times in a year, he'd had enough," Steelers general manager Ken Petrash said yesterday. "He called me on the deadline day, to see if there was any room on the Steelers. I was actually pursuing a different move at the time and on the deadline day I had one card left. If had made the deal prior to Kyle's call, I wouldn't have had any room.

"Thank God I still had that one card left," the GM offered. "It was the best move I made without doing anything."

BALANCE ATTACK

For the second straight season, the Steelers are benefiting from the addition of a former WHL player.

Prior to 2004-05, the club added rugged defenceman Alex Lentowich (who had also played for the Steelers earlier in his career) to their roster. All the Cooks Creek product did was lead the MJHL in scoring for defenceman with 69 points in 53 games and helped the Steelers get the finals for the second year in a row.

Though Howarth arrived later than Lentowich this time, Petrash is hoping the forward can balance the Selkirk attack.

"We were in the market to get a little tougher ... we've done that by adding skill as well," he said.

Heading into last night's action, Howarth has eight points in three games with his new/old club. Prior to heading out to the WHL, the 6-foot-1, 200-pound forward had 55 goals and 112 points in 82 career games for Selkirk.

Petrash said Howarth's arrival puts the Steelers in better shape as the MJHL heads into the final five weeks of the season.

The Addison is the tougher of the two divisions, with the Winnipeg South Blues and Winnipeg Saints still several points up on the 26-15-4-2 Steelers.

Selkirk hosted the Dauphin Kings last night.


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