By Derek Holtom
MJHL Web Correspondent
The Waywayseecappo’s have long been regarded as one of the hardest working teams in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League. But long-term success has been elusive to the franchise, which joined the MJHL back in 1999 along with their expansion cousins the Swan Valley Stampeders.
Heading into their 18th season, the Wolverines will look to Arnie Caplan to take them to the next level. The Winnipeg native joins the Wolverines with a wealth of college and amateur hockey playing and coaching experience, and is excited about the opportunity in front of him.
“I was looking for a coaching job in the spring, and being from Manitoba, I am well aware of the MJHL,” said Caplan, who coached Portage College in Lac La Biche, Alta., last year. “I’ve played in the MJHL and a little in the Western Hockey League, and have coached in the Keystone League previously.
“So being from Manitoba, I jumped at the chance to coach in my home province,” he added. “Also, they are looking to build something new, rebrand the organization, and create a whole new culture. Those are some of the things that attracted me to be able to build something here that could be special.”
Since being hired, Caplan has been working the phones, making sure to get as much work as done before training camp opens later this month.
“It’s been a very busy summer, with so much having to be done from the ground up,” he said. “We’re renewing every aspect of the organization. They wanted a change. They wanted to start fresh. All I know is what happens from now on, not what happened in the past. I am looking to improve on everything that was here before, both on and off the ice.”
When he came into the position, Caplan made sure to reach out to supporters of the team, to get them on board.
“There are some really good people in the community who have been supportive of the team for some time,” noted Caplan. “It’s great to see people who love hockey and want it in their community. I think this community needs hockey – it needs something to be proud of. That’s what excites me about this opportunity. To bring something special to Wayway and the surrounding communities.”
Aiding Caplan in his efforts off the ice is Ray Walker, who is the team’s director of marketing and communications. Walker has years of experience covering the MJHL from a broadcasting perspective, and has built a network of contacts which he brings to the Wolverines’ organization.
“He’s working hard at creating new sponsorship opportunities, and he’s re-upping current and previous sponsorships we’ve had,” said Caplan. “He’s also helping out in a lot of areas. And he will be broadcasting our home games and possibly some road games as well. I am really excited to have Ray on board.”
The Wolverines are still looking to solidify their assistant coach position, another step in their march towards setting themselves up for long-term success.
“This is going to take some time, but I really want to put the building blocks in place this year,” added Caplan.