FORT McMURRAY, AB (May 31, 2015) – The Fort McMurray Oil Barons of the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) are pleased to announce that veteran defenceman, career Oil Baron, and alternate captain Zach Wittenburg (Chestermere, AB) has committed to attend and play for the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) in the 2015-16 Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) season.
Wittenburg, 21, capped off his final year of junior eligibility this past season, winning the team’s Best Defenceman Award and being named co-winner of the Terry Conroy Memorial Award for Community Contribution.
The 6’0”, 187lb defender first joined the Oil Barons in the summer of 2012 after completing his minor hockey career with the Midget AA Wheatland Chiefs, where he was named Best Defenceman in the South Central Alberta Hockey League (SCAHL) for two consecutive years, winning a league championship in 2012.
In his rookie AJHL season, Wittenburg was the MOB’s second-highest scoring defenceman, registering 19 points (4 goals, 15 assists) in 58 games, with 65 penalty minutes, and 3 assists in 5 playoff games.
In an injury-shortened 37 games in 2013-14, Wittenburg, in his first year as an alternate captain, still recorded 14 points (4 goals, 10 assists), with 24 penalty minutes, adding 4 assists in 14 post-season games as the Barons advanced to the AJHL North Final.
This past campaign, Wittenburg led all Oil Barons blueliners in scoring, notching a career-high 24 points (7 goals, 17 assists) in 52 games played, with 48 penalty minutes. He also scored 2 assists in 5 games at the 2015 Western Canada Cup.
In total, Wittenburg’s AJHL career saw him suit up for 175 total games in the blue and gold, scoring 15 goals, 51 assists, and adding 163 penalty minutes.
Wittenburg will be the third former Oil Baron to suit up for SAIT in 2015-16, joining Mitchell Board (Calgary, AB) and Mike Puddifant (Salmon Arm, BC) who last played for the Barons in 2011-12.
The Oil Barons would like to congratulate Wittenburg on taking the next step in his hockey career and wish him the absolute best of luck as a Trojan.
Wittenburg is the fifth Oil Baron from the 2014-15 roster commited to play post-secondary hockey, joining Jetlan Houcher (University of Alabama-Huntsville), Adam Durkee (Sacred Heart University), Mitchell Vanderlaan (Cornell University), and Luc Lalor (Cornell University).