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New Prospect Declares S68 Eligibility

Late in the season, a new prospect will be entering the SMJHL waiver system as an undrafted free agent. Ignacio Garza, a forward from Spain who is currently playing in the French junior leagues, has declared his intent to become eligible for the SMJHL, and move to North America if claimed.

Garza, a sizeable teenager currently standing at 6 ft. 5 and almost 230 lbs, flew under the radar of leagues like the SMJHL earlier in the season, and around draft time was not considered a top prospect by any means, and did not declare his eligibility. After his recent play in the European circuit, however, the right-shooting winger Garza has exploded in his development, and after deliberation with his agent and family, has opted for the North American route now that his play is worthy of a potential look at the SMJHL level.

Garza’s offensive numbers will likely not translate from Europe to the faster-paced SMJHL, as scouts have still noted his lackluster shot and scoring touch have not improved from the beginning of the year, although his passing play is more than acceptable. Where the interest in Garza lies is his formidable frame, and his excellent physical play and hound-like tenacity in puck battles. A keen checker and dominating physical player, Garza pursues puck possession for his team relentlessly. SMJHL scouts have commented that he would likely be a good bottom-6 fit for a team looking to add some sandpaper and defensive responsibility to their forward group, with the upside to become a top-notch grinder or physical power forward in future seasons. One SMJHL scout in particular commented, “right now he’s got hands of stone, but he hits like a cruise missile. So I think there’s a spot for him in the league, if he’s a fit”.

As soon as Garza’s paperwork clears, he will then enter the SMJHL’s waiver process, where teams may submit a claim to the large Spanish Right-winger. If any interest is garnered, Garza plans to head over to North America immediately to begin playing. “My dream is to play in the SHL”, Garza says, “and I am excited to be considered skilled enough to enter the process of SMJHL eligibility to work my way there”.

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