Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared on ThePuckAuthority.com on June 6th.
Toronto,ON- After starting off rather quietly with no new recruitments to start the season, the Western Mustangs lit the fire on Wednesday, adding on six, including Shane Bulitka. This was first reported by 49 Sports and ThePuckAuthority.com who confirmed that the school and the OA left-winger had agreed to terms with a verbal commitment.
As 49 Sports and The Puck Authority learnt, the deal in place allows the former Battalion to join the Western Mustangs for the upcoming season. Western has been rather quiet in terms of stocking up for the future as rumours have loomed for the past several weeks, but nothing to show for those talks until now.
The deal between Bulitka and Western was formally announced by the school on Wednesday. With this commitment now booked, the North Bay left-winger joins the OUA West, a compact division with the Queen’s Cup champions.
Bulitka joins the Western Mustangs after spending five seasons in the OHL, a tenure in which he split between the Sudbury Wolves and the North Bay Battalion. As Bulitka joins the OUA, he becomes the Mustangs’ first recruitment for next season.
Looking at his time with the Wolves where the 5’11 winger made his junior debut, the Canadian played in 273 games between postseason play and the regular season. During this five-year time frame, the 20-year-old scored 57 goals and 103 assists for 160 points. With a plus/minus rating of 1 over five full seasons, Bulitka racked up as well a whopping total of 110 penalty minutes.
In a statement from the left-handed shooter after committing to the Mustangs on Wednesday, Bulitka said with regards to next season, “Looking forward to coming home and playing for a University with a great reputation in academics, as well as athletics and helping them compete for a National Championship.”
Bulitka, an OHL veteran, joined the Sudbury Wolves back in 2015, just five months after having been selected 28th overall in the draft’s second round. Looking at the numbers he amassed, the future Mustang collected 103 assists, this totalling up to 160 points.
Seen as an elite two-way, player, Shane Bulitka opened the season as co-captain alongside left-winger Macauley Carson. Joining the Western Mustangs, it’s worth noting that he becomes one of three forwards with major junior experience added to the team’s roster. He was traded from Sudbury to North Bay in exchange for left-winger Bradley Chenier.
Bulitka spent the last three years with the Sudbury Wolves in Northern Ontario where alongside Carson, the hockey club was backed by alternate captains David Levin and Emmett Serensits.
Adding his presence to Western, Bulitka joins the BMOS business program where he’ll start off more generalized before choosing a specialty.
When speaking about the process on Saturday of trimming down choices and landing on Western, Bulitka said, “Well, like I kind of had an idea of a few schools that I narrowed it down to and then BMOS, like it was just a better program for my needs, so that ended up being the final decision for me.”
Bulitka, a left-winger, was traded back in January after the new year with a third-round pick and a conditional eighth while the Sudbury Wolves received Bradley Chenier.
Speaking to Western Athletics of Bulitka’s commitment to the team on Wednesday, head coach Clarke Singer said, “Shane is a former OHL captain and elite two-way player. He can play both special teams and will be an impact player immediately for us.”
Looking at his last OHL season, Bulitka scored 23 goals and 29 assists in 62 games played. This made for 52 points registered to go along with his 35 penalty minutes. Speaking of which, his 2019-20 campaign marked his second consecutive in a position of leadership. The last time he took on such a role was in 2014 with the Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs.
Bulitka will join the school’s veteran winger group alongside the likes of Anthony Stefano, Mitchell Fitzmorris and Kenny Huether. Joining Shane Bulitka going to Western from the OHL are Dylan Myskiw of the London Knights, forward Mathew MacDougall and defensemen Drew Hunter.
Bulitka was originally chosen by the Sudbury Wolves back in 2015 where he was selected in the draft’s second round (28th overall) in the OHL Priority Selection. Named as a captain in his overage season, Bulitka also led the Wolves in the plus/minus category in his fourth major junior season. Unfortunately, his best season to date had been suddenly stopped due to COVID-19. He finished the 2018-19 season with an overall rating for the year of 37.