MISSOULA – When the brand new Missoula Bruins moved into the NA3HL, head coach and general manager Marcus Baxter praised the way the new league helps players move up in the hockey world. Now a local star will get his chance at a higher level.

Wyatt Mathews joined the Wichita Falls Wildcats in Texas over the weekend. The 19-year old defenseman from Bonner played for the Maulers and Bruins the last few seasons. This year, he scored 32 points in 32 games for Missoula, the 7th best total for NA3HL defenders. His new team plays in the NAHL in tier two of junior hockey.

“Wyatt has definitely earned this opportunity for himself,” said Baxter. “He has been a leader for us both on and off the ice and we are excited for him to show what he can do at the next level.”

The Bruins, and previously the Maulers, have found several local players to play big roles on the ice. Wyatt’s older brother Brett used to be the Maulers captain.

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The current roster includes five players from Montana, four from Missoula (Justin Barnes, Zach Jaffe, Austin Dennison, and CJ Odlin), and one from Kalispell (Zachary Colgrove).