Lots to get through this week on the Takes so let’s not waste any time because the more time we waste the more likely it is that I’m interrupted by Michael Bublé or Mariah Carey, both of whom have awaken from their slumber and will ringing our bells with Christmas carols soon enough.
Take 1: Have to start this week by congratulating Harry Mehesh, his staff and the Winnipeg Freeze on their first regulation win in franchise history. Been a long time coming and to be in the building, you could tell it was a very special moment for the team. There’s been chances throughout the year but to finally take that step as big for that organization. Good for them. It’s been a rough start to the season but maybe that win sparks something. At the very least, it’s good to have a regulation W under the belt.
Take 2: Sticking with the Freeze but more so with their home, the staff at the Dakota arena needs to do a quick lap around the glass and give it a solid cleaning. Standing by the glass didn’t make for the best viewing experience and talking to people trying to take photos both professionally and as family, it sure made it tricky to get something good.
Take 3: The Troy Hamilton Assist Watch is officially over. It lasted all of one week. Now it does appear that he had an assist that he didn’t get credit for until recently, so it was perhaps a bit hasty to start that watch but none the less, he has two helpers now to go along with 12 goals. He’s tied for the MJHL lead in goals and has only gone without a goal in 4 of Wayway’s 14 games.
Take 4: Even though the month just started, I’m calling it now… the winner will be Jeff Eidse in Steinbach. He can grow facial hair like few others. He shaves and his 5 o’clock shadow is fuller than most who have been trying to grow a lip sweater for like a week. Shoutout to everyone who’s raising money or awareness for such a great cause by growing a mustache but I’m here to tell you, you’re all gunning for second place because Jeff owns the top spot.
Take 5: If you’re on the fence about going to the Showcase in Portage this year, don’t wait, make plans and go. Talking to a number of coaches and players around the league, they are beyond excited to play in those games. It’ll be teams battling for points but also for the spotlight. You’re going to be in for some great, great hockey. Don’t just go for the team you follow, stay and watch teams from across the league. The facility is great, the food will be good and the hockey will be top notch. Make a day out of it and take it all in. It’ll be worth it.
Take 6: Props to Scott Stroh from Junior Night in Manitoba. That guy is all over working at all different levels of hockey. He loves promoting the game, taking photos and meeting people. A nice guy who just quietly goes about his business in rinks all over the province. Scott is a veteran. With Remembrance Day coming up, if you see Scott or his incredibly designed truck, take a second and thank him for his service and for what he does for hockey in Manitoba. Thanks, Scott. Keep up the great work.
Take 7: Back to the Showcase for a moment, I hope the league is planning to have some kind of camera crew there to update the promo video. It’s been years. Zach Whitecloud has hulked up, more players have advanced to all kinds of levels of hockey and it’s time to breathe some new life into that video. It was great at the time but it’s run its course.
Take 8: I was talking to Chris from Doc Walker the other day and I threw out that he should join for a hockey broadcast next time he’s available. He seemed into it but it got me thinking, with all the talent around Manitoba, who might be the best guest commentator or color analyst we could get? We’ve had the amazing Leah Hextall, who’s now killing it on ESPN, do Showcase games in the past, so let’s shoot high. Near the top of the list would have to be Jordan Tootoo. I think he’d be a fantastic addition to any broadcast. Jordan, this is an open invitation to join any time.
Take 9: Halloween is a terrific reminder that the players in the MJHL are still kids. I’ve seen a number of photos of players that dressed up and went trick or treating with their billet families or even just on their own. Between practice and games, schooling and volunteering, it’s a great reminder that these young men still can be kids. These kids just have to get up for practice the next day and work off all the candy and chocolate they ate the night before.
Take 10: Former MJHL’er and champion Bradley Schoonbaert has this thing about numbers. He has a belief forwards wear certain numbers, defensemen wear certain numbers and goalies have their numbers. He’s perhaps a “numbers purist”. So, I went digging and found a pair of players who are wearing numbers that would drive Bradley and others like him a little crazy.
– Forward Bryce Warkentine #2 – Steinbach Pistons
– Forward Colby Wotton #33 – Waywayseecappo Wolverines
I’m all for creative numbers. I think there should be more 66’s, 77’s 88’s even anything 90-98 in the league. Makes for a little uniqueness and I think fans would be quick to purchase those different numbers if they had the chance.
Take 11: Niverville and the MJHL have posted that the search is on for the head coach of the unnamed franchise coming to the league next season. I’m sure there will be applications from all across the country. It’s going to be a process, so I wouldn’t expect an announcement any time soon. One name I hope gets brought up is Rob Smith. I’m a huge fan of Rob, the work he did as an assistant coach in the MJHL, and now the work he’s doing with RHA. He’s wicked smart, he’s a walking hockey encyclopedia, he has a great temperament for a coach and he just really loves the game. If he’s interested, I hope he gets a long, long look. It would give that team instant credibility and I think the league is just better with someone like Rob Smith in it.
Take 12: I want to talk about the Kyle Beach situation. I will spare the details of the recent events that have come to light, but if you haven’t watched the interview done by Rick Westhead, go look it up. It’s powerful, heartbreaking, and so many more emotions all rolled into a 27-minute feature where a man bares his soul. I don’t need to share my opinion on the discipline, press conferences, or anything else regarding the details. I will share the link to the Manitoba abuse/assault page that has links to many different areas that can help someone dealing with a current situation or past trauma. If you’re struggling, please talk to someone. You are not alone.