Tanner Jago started his junior hockey career as a 17-year-old with the Winkler Flyers and made an immediate impact. He posted 45 points in 56 games and was named the MJHL rookie of the year. He had another productive season with the Flyers before moving on to the Fargo Force of the USHL.
The Terriers acquired his rights from Winkler in a three-team trade involving the Dauphin Kings in the summer of 2014. The then 20-year-old defenceman was brought in to be a leader and stalwart on a Terrier team that was hosting the RBC Cup. Jago was named team captain and had 53 points in 59 games. He added 10 in the playoffs, four at the Western Canada Cup, five at the RBC Cup and was the MJHL defenceman of the year.
Following his junior career Jago went to Bentley University (NCAA Div I) in Waltham Massachusetts for four seasons. He continued to thrive on and off the ice. He registered 86 points in 151 games, was named captain in his final year and was nominated for the Senior CLASS Award. To be nominated, each player must meet four requirements: character, community, classroom and competition.
After University Jago signed a contract with the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League and suited up for one game. He played most of last season with the Idaho Steelheads of the ECHL. Jago started this year with the Utah Grizzlies and has since moved to HC Banska Bystrica in Slovakia.
“This was brought to me out of the blue and it all happened very fast. It felt like a right fit in a time where I was not playing and was waiting for something. I jumped at the opportunity to come over here,” says Jago. “I’m looking forward to getting back to playing hockey. Things unfortunately didn’t work out in Utah, but with some time off from the game you realize how much you miss it.”
Jago has already arrived in Slovakia and says there are some noticeable differences. “I was able to go to the rink and meet some of the guys. It’s good to interact with the new teammates. A lot of guys speak English and there was a lot of Slovak going around in the room too. All the coaches speak English which is huge. Away from the rink the language barrier might be more of a challenge.”
“I’m looking forward to this new adventure overseas. There are only 11 games left but it’s nice to be back playing and hopefully we can have a good run heading into the playoffs.”