Yantsis Departs From Kitchener, Commits To Gaels In The OUA

After starting off rather quietly with just six recruitments to start the season, Queen’s University broke ground last Wednesday with their seventh addition in forward Jonathan Yantsis. This was first reported by Victor Findlay of Sauga 960 who said that the school and the OA forward had agreed to terms with a verbal commitment.

As Findlay goes on to mention, the deal in place allows the former Ranger to join the Queen’s Gaels for the upcoming season. Queen’s has been rather quiet in terms of stocking up for the future as rumours have loomed for the past several weeks, but only so much to show for those talks.

The deal between Yantsis and Queen’s was formally announced by the school on Wednesday. With this commitment now booked, the Kitchener forward joins the OUA East, a compact division with the league’s silver medalists.

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As Yantsis joins the OUA, he becomes the Gaels’ seventh recruitment for next season. Looking at his time with the Rangers where the 6’2 forward made his junior debut, Yantsis played in 242 games between postseason play and the regular season. During this four-year time frame, the 21-year-old scored 97 goals and 52 assists for 149 points. With a plus/minus rating of 11 over four full seasons, Yantsis racked up as well a whopping total of 197 penalty minutes.

In a statement from the right-handed shooter after committing to the Gaels on Wednesday, Yantsis said with regards to next season, “I’m so excited to join the school to further better myself on and off the ice. With it being one of the top schools in the country, the opportunity was too good to pass up. I can’t wait to get back on the ice and get things going in the next chapter of my life.”

An undrafted free agent out of Newmarket, Yantsis, an OHL veteran, joined the Kitchener Rangers back in 2017. Looking at the numbers he amassed, the future Gael collected 52 assists, this totalling up to 149 points.

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Seen as a leader offensively, Yantsis opened the season alongside Graham Dickerson, Liam Hawel and Declan McDonnell. Joining the Queen’s Gaels hockey program, it’s worth noting that he becomes one of three forwards with major junior experience being added to the team’s roster.

Adding to his presence at Queen’s, Yantsis joins the school’s economics department in hopes of broadening his experience to marketing. Talking about the program in depth, he cited the possibility of working for companies such as MLSE. As if that wasn’t enough, Yantsis said he might make the transfer to the Smith School of Business to take part in the commerce program. With influence from his parents, Yantsis said he would look to complete his law degree.

Speaking of Yantsis’ commitment on Wednesday, head coach Brett Gibson said, “Jonathan is obviously a huge addition to our program, there are not many former 50 goal scorers that come to U SPORTS. He has targets he wants to reach in education and development in hockey that we hope at Queen’s, we can help him achieve. I feel Jonathan has a great opportunity to get a great education and in a couple years, be playing pro hockey.”

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When discussing the elimination process, trimming down choices and landing on Queen’s, Yantsis said, “So the whole recruiting process was kind of crazy, you’re having multiple teams call you everyday to hear what you’re thoughts were and I knew I wanted to stay in Ontario, and in Ontario, we had a lot of great choices for schools, but definitely Queen’s was the best option.”

Looking at his last OHL season, Yantsis scored 39 goals and 20 assists in 63 games played. This made for 59 points registered to go along with his 197 penalty minutes. Speaking of which, his 2019-20 campaign marked his second consecutive where he scored 30+ points. The first time he hit that plateau was in his third year in Kitchener, racking up 73 points.

As reported by Victor Findlay in March, Yantsis had been expected to commit alongside goaltender Anthony Popovich and right-winger Luke Boka. While not in a position of leadership, Yantsis was the Rangers right-winger for the last four years at The Aud in Kitchener. In doing so, he led the hockey club with help from Greg Meireles and Riley Damiani.

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Yantsis will join the school’s veteran winger group alongside the likes of Jaren Burke, Alex Row, Jaden Lindo and Luke Boka. Joining Yantsis going to Queen’s from the OHL are Jacob Paquette of the Peterborough Petes, forward Calvin Martin and defensemen Jakob Brahaney. Alongside Anthony Popovich, Thomas Stevenson has committed as well.

Yantsis joined the Kitchener Rangers after just one game in the OJHL. He joined the Newmarket Hurricanes after departing from the Markham Waxers. Opting to make the jump to major junior, Yantsis put on a show in his third year in Kitchener. In 2018, he scored 50 goals while also named as a Midwest Division Champion.

A recipient of the coveted Don Cameron Award, Yantsis also led the Rangers with 85 penalty minutes in his third major junior season. Unfortunately, his second best year in Kitchener had been suddenly stopped due to COVID-19. He finished the 2019-20 season just five games short of his fourth OHL Playoff appearance.

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While Yantsis is expected to join Queen’s, a source told The Puck Authority on Wednesday that he’s holding out hope of getting the chance to go pro. That being said, it was reported in March that Yantsis was waiting for the NHL Entry Draft, however, now he will tempt his fait while an active member of the OUA.

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