The Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League’s Melville Millionaires had been keeping their eye on Princeton Posse goaltender Ethan Rau.
Rau was an important part of the Posse’s start that led to them winning the KIJHL’s President’s Cup for finishing first overall in the regular season. The 6-1, 175-pound goalie won 11 of his 18 games, had two shutouts with a .923 save percentage and a 2.45 goals against average. He ranked ninth in the KIJHL in GAA on Jan. 8.
Millionaires General Manager Mike Rooney saw enough from Rau who became one of the league’s top goalies at 18 and signed him on January 11.
“He was a player we targeted to arrive here in the fall of 2023, but we expedited that plan,” said Rooney on the Millionaires website. “He plays a calm, effective style, and is a player who is dedicated to his craft.”
The former Calgary Flames U18AAA goalie made his Millionaires debut against the La Ronge Ice Wolves on Jan. 14 playing 5:49 in relief. In his fourth start, Rau earned his first SJHL win in a 3-2 overtime victory, making 28 saves against Estevan.
Rau played in 13 of the Milionaires’ remaining 21 games and had three wins, seven losses and one overtime loss. His last win of the season came against Estevan in a 5-4 final, making 35 saves. Rau finished with an .878 SP and a 4.91 GAA.
When he came to the Posse, Head Coach-Assistant GM Mark Readman said Rau went to work to round himself out.
“He’s got a nice calm demeanor in the net,” said Readman. “He cares a lot about the result, mostly for his team. He wants to make sure he is giving his teammates the best chance to win and be successful every night.”
Rau worked hard with the motivation to return to Junior A. In 2020-21, Rau played one game with the Alberta Junior Hockey League’s Olds Grizzlys, located an hour north of his hometown of Calgary.
“Ethan’s a fantastic story for kids at our level who might be passed on originally, or maybe just sought out the wrong opportunity,” said Readman, who added that Rau assessed his options before joining the Posse. “If you keep coming in here, you stay humble and are willing to work, get better every day to perfect your craft, at some point you will get an opportunity to move up.”