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Piston’s Equipment Manager Kosmolak Reaching New Heights

The Steinbach Pistons want to congratulate their equipment manager Riley Kosmolak on his two silver medals with Team Manitoba over the past two weeks. Kosmolak has had the time of his life working together with Hockey Manitoba at the Men’s U16 Western Championships in Calgary and then most recently at the Women’s U18 Championships in Huntsville, Ontario. “These last two weeks have been awesome,” said the 18 year-old Kosmolak. “I don’t have one overall highlight that shines over all the others. I enjoyed the whole trip to Calgary and Huntsville, and making it to the championship game in both tournaments.” Over the past two weeks Riley spent time doing equipment manager duties; sharpening skates, cleaning the dressing room, doing laundry and anything else that the team needed behind the scenes. His experience all started when the Pistons reached out to the community looking for someone to help around the room at the start of their 2012/2013 season. At that time, Kosmolak was only 15 years-old, and he jumped at the opportunity. His role started as a dressing room attendant, but that quickly grew as the Pistons saw his work ethic and dedication. The recent Steinbach Regional Secondary School graduate still fills water bottles, but now sharpens skates, keeps the dressing aligned, manages the team’s equipment and stick inventory, plus many other miscellaneous tasks associated with the role. “The Pistons helped me get to this point in my career by allowing me to expand from the team’s dressing room attendant my first year, to start doing the equipment side of things the following year,” he said. “Also, Paul [Dyck] has passed my name to Craig Heisinger of the Winnipeg Jets, which has led me to getting to participate and experience an NHL training camp.” The saying hard work pays off is evident in Kosmolak’s story as his countless hours of volunteerism are helping him reach new heights. The Pistons organizations want to again congratulate Riley and thank him for all the service he does on a regular basis.    

Q & A with Logan Harland, OCN Blizzard

Logan Harland, 20, of the OCN Blizzard is having an excellent season to date. He hails from Frenchman Butte, Sk, via Saskatoon. He kindly took a few minutes to tell us a little bit about himself. If you have a favourite player whose Q&A you would like to read contact us at: media@mjhlhockey.ca Q: Who had the biggest influence on you as a person? A: My parents   Q: Where is Frenchman Butte? A: An hour NorthEast of Lloydminster   Q: Other than Logan Harland, who is the second most famous person from Frenchman Butte? A: John Rogers played for the Edmonton Oilers and the Minnesota North Stars.   Q: Tell us one thing that fans wouldn’t know about you? A: Terrified of the Dentist   Q: Favourite meal? A: My grandma’s home-made stew   Q: Last movie you watched? A: Goon   Q: Favourite NHL player? A: Jonathan Toews   Q: Favourite NHL team? A: Anaheim Ducks   Q: How do you pass the time on the bus? A: Play games on my iPhone or sleep   Q: Best-dressed player on the Blizzard? A: Devin Muir   Q: Any one special hockey moment stick out the most? A: Being a part of the Memorial Cup   Q: If you could pick anyone, who would you like to have lunch with? A: Devin Muir   Q: Other than OCN, which MJHL rink is rockin’ with atmosphere? A: Winkler wasn’t too bad   Q: Any superstitions? A: I don’t have any   Q: Which actor would play you in the “Logan Harland” movie? A: Leonardo   Q: Favourite actress? A: Gabriella Wilde   Q: Other than hockey, any hobbies? A: Longboarding, dirt biking, badminton, Netflix   Q: On a musical level – Country music? Rock? Easy listening? Rap? A: Jake Owen all day!   Q: Favourite non-hockey athlete? A: Mike Tyson   Q: Plans when your junior hockey career is over? A: Guess, I’ll decide that when the time comes

MJHL mourns the passing of Wayne Hawrysh

The Manitoba Junior Hockey League is saddened to report the recent passing (October 31) of Mr. Wayne Hawrysh. Wayne was a dedicated and committed member of the league for many years and made his greatest contribution to Junior hockey with the OCN Blizzard. The league passes its heartfelt condolences to Wayne’s wife Nancy and their family.   Below is a piece written by the OCN Blizzard for a recent ceremony by the club where they recognized the contributions of Wayne Hawrysh.   Wayne began his career in Hockey as a young boy living in Dauphin Manitoba, where he found his love for the sport alongside his father, Steve “Boomer” Hawrysh, a member of the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame.   Drafted by the Detroit Red Wings round #3 Amateur Draft in 1969, Wayne played in five leagues over the course of his career, American Hockey League, Eastern Hockey League, North American Hockey League, Southern Hockey League & Western Hockey league.   Wayne began his coaching career back home in Dauphin where he served as Dauphin Kings assistant coach in the 74 /75 season and Head coach in 75/76.  Wayne then moved to The Pas where he brought his love for the sport and dedicated his desire to inspire youth in hockey.   In the Spring of 1996 the community of OCN secured a franchise in the MJHL and from there it all began.  It was an awesome team and a great board of directors.  They used to call Wayne “Mr Everything” as he was the assistant coach, governor and director of hockey operations.  He held those positions for the first 3 years and then continued to help out as assistant coach for most of the next 15 years.  His last winter was 2012-13 when he came home from Texas to help Clay and Derek.   Wayne and Nancy loved to make the players feel at home – whether billeting players like Brian MacIntosh and Tobias Hall over the years or holding Blizzard Christmas dinners for the players at their cabin.  Wayne loved to talk Blizzard hockey and is connected with many of the past OCN Blizzard Players.   Through the years, Wayne was a leader at every level, holding many positions and helped maintain the structure of the club. Whether in the boardroom as Director of Player Personnel, a Coach,  Manager, Marketing or Trainer – Wayne knew what it would take to put the OCN Blizzard ‘On the Map’ in the world of Canadian Junior hockey.  No one can deny that Wayne provided the expertise and backbone needed to foster a successful team.   Wayne has been a devoted ambassador for the OCN Blizzard and to Junior Hockey in our region and the Province overall; he has truly demonstrated exemplary sportsmanship both on and off the ice, and through his continued dedication and commitment to the sport and the organization he has held in high regard, the ideals of a true sportsman and all around great citizenship to the community and the hockey world at large.  The youth program in Hockey would not be what it is today for those involved in minor hockey in northern Manitoba without his vision and commitment to the sport.   Wayne has supported the OCN Blizzard Hockey organization and has worked hard through the years, it is his dedication and loyalty to the team that gives us great honor to name this award the “Wayne Hawrysh Award of Dedication”.   The goal of the “Wayne Hawrysh Award of Dedication” is to develop, recognize and reward exemplary character and sportsmanship demonstrated by our members and players involved in the Blizzard Organization. Deserving candidates are selected based on a number of factors that demonstrate “character”, many of the characteristics we look up to with Wayne, including: positive attitude, outstanding sportsmanship, excellent work ethic, unselfish team dedication, respect & responsibility, exemplary citizenship, and, overall, a great role model for our sport in northern Manitoba.   The Wayne Hawrysh Award of Dedication will be awarded to the individual who consistently exemplifies these qualities and has done so within the framework of the Manitoba Junior Hockey league. The recipient of this Award may be a volunteer, a member of the OCN Blizzard organization, a community member or player who, through their commitment and dedication to the Team, the community and the region, does what it takes to ensure the success of the Blizzard Hockey organization and has put in many countless hours of work and displaying professionalism to promote the organization positively.   The recipient of the Award will be named annually at the OCN Blizzard Awards Ceremony.   Thank you Wayne for all of your support in the last 20 years!

Steinbach Pistons’ Martin named MJHL Manitoba Pork Peak Performer of Month

A tireless volunteer in his community, Connor Martin of the Steinbach Pistons has been has been named the MJHL Manitoba Pork Peak Performer of the Month of October. Martin, 20, recently participated in the inaugural RCMP-MJHL community initiative at Stoneybrook Middle School where he spoke to students about making positive life choices. His presentation focused on emotional wellness and managing stress.   Martin, who hails from Owatonna, Mn., has enthusiastically embraced his hockey community. He also mentors a middle-school student through the Recreational Opportunities for Children program, and regularly volunteers at Stonybrook. “Connor epitomizes what the MJHL is all about: community involvement, making a difference and showcasing his hockey talents,” said MHL Commissioner Kim Davis. “Congratulations on behalf of the Manitoba Pork Council and the MJHL.” When not busy patrolling the Pistons’ blueline, Martin also finds time to work with the Steinbach Millers Bantam AA hockey team where he assists with practices each week. The Ste. Anne Co-Op sponsors Connor's community activities and he can be found pumping gas, visiting schools and voicing public service messages on behalf of the company.  

Terriers’ Park Lights Out in Net

Nathan Park of the Portage Terriers is making the most of a second chance. Two years ago he was with the Selkirk Steelers and a knee injury put the brakes on his MJHL career. Fast forward to 2015-16. His current one run with the Portage Terriers is positively lights out. He’s currently the top goaltender in the MJHL heading into November, and he has the stats to prove it. The Edmonton native is a perfect 13-0 for the Terriers this year, with a 0.99 GAA, a .953 save percentage, and a flawless five shutouts. The modest netminder credits a strong Terriers line up for helping him to his hot start. “It’s always nice when you have a strong team in front of you,” said Park. “Most nights my job is pretty easy, as my team does a good job of eliminating a lot of the Grade A scoring opportunities. “I just have to play solid and make that first save – I credit my team for the start.” Park joined the Terriers via the Fort Frances Lakers last year, where he posted an impressive 1.93 GAA and a .931 save percentage. Before that, Park was a member of the Selkirk Steelers, where he played 16 games in 2013-14, where he also had solid numbers in goal (a 1.53 GAA and a .940 save percentage). His moves might be considered surprising given how he’s excelled, but fate dealt Park a tough hand, which led to his playing in Ontario after a solid year with the Steelers. “My first year in Selkirk, I didn’t play my first game until November as I was recovering from knee surgery,” he said. “We had a good team that year, but unfortunately we didn’t get that long run in the playoffs that we wanted. “So I came in the next year and hoped to be the starter, but a couple of games in I hurt my other knee, and I was out for a couple of months.” In the meantime the Steelers had a hole in goal to fill, and so when Park was healed up and ready to return, the Steelers made the decision to release Park as they couldn’t keep three netminders in camp. “They had two local guys and I had not played for a while,” said Park, who ended up in Fort Frances in part because they were hosting the Dudley Hewitt Cup, ensuring he would get a nice long playoff run. Park had the benefit of playing his minor hockey in the ‘City of Champions’, and when he started his junior career with the Spruce Grove Saints, he got some top-notch guidance from goaltender coach Dustin Schwartz, who is now a goalie coach with the Edmonton Oilers. “He helped me make the transition to junior,” he said. “When I started in junior I really couldn’t find my stride, but when I was traded to Selkirk, I was really able to implement what he showing me. I wouldn’t be here if not for (Schwartz).” Park has been accepted into a post-secondary school back home, and so he knows after this year he’ll be able to pursue an education. That’s the back up plan. Park would like to earn a scholarship and play NCAA hockey, but given his two knee surgeries, he knows he’ll have to prove he can play at a high level despite his previous injuries. “Because of the two knee surgeries, it’s a bit of a battle to maintain my body, and I have to stretch every day just to make sure I can handle the workload,” said Park. “I want to play NCAA hockey, but it will depend on a lot of factors, like who comes knocking, and how my body is feeling.”  

Portage Terriers’ Bowles named RBC Player of Month

Brad Bowles of the Portage Terriers has been named the RBC Player of the Month for October. The 20-year-old forward from Elkhorn recorded 27 points (14-13) in 15 games for the defending RBC Cup champion Terriers. The runners up are 20 year old forward Logan Harland of the OCN Blizzard and 20 year old forward Kamerin Nault of the Winnipeg Blues. Sher-Wood Hockey Defenseman of the Month Zak Hicks of the Winkler Flyers has been named to blueliner for October. At 6-foot-1, 190 pounds, he excelled both defensively and offensively, reflected in 15 points (7-8) in 16 games. Hicks, who hails from Boissevain, has also been particularly potent on the powerplay, reflected in four goals via the man advantage. The runners up are 18 year old James Shearer of the Steinbach Pistons and 19 year old Zach Whitecloud of the Virden Oil Capitals. MGEU Goaltender of the Month Call him Mr. Perfect. Portage Terriers Nathan Park has been unbeatable for the first month of the season. The native of Edmonton sports an unblemished 12-0 record, with a spectacular 0.99 GAA and save percentage of .953. Park, 20, also has five shutouts to date for the Terriers, who sit atop the MJHL standings. The runners up are 19 year old Roman Bengert of the Steinbach Pistons and 20 year old Sean Kuehn of the Virden Oil Capitals. IBAM Rookie of the Month Matthew Greening of the Dauphin Kings has shown he’s made a quick adjustment to the MJHL. The rookie, who hails from Dauphin, recorded 14 points (4-10) in 13 games. The runners up are 16 year old forward Nick Henry of the Portage Terriers and 18 year old forward Mackenzie Graham of the Steinbach Pistons.

Blizzard support Breast Cancer Awareness Month

The OCN Blizzard will be wearing special, pink jerseys in their game tonight (Oct. 26) against Swan Valley Stamps. The game-worn jerseys will then be auctioned off: minimum bid $125. For more information click here.

Pistons Getting Pink for Cancer

The colour pink will be taking over the T.G. Smith Centre on Wednesday, October 28th. The Steinbach Pistons along with Sunrise Group are proudly presenting the annual ‘Pink in the Rink’ event in support of Breast Cancer Awareness month. The Pistons will once again wear pink jerseys, which will then be auctioned off during the game. Once buzzer sounds to end the game, the jerseys will be awarded to the highest bidder. Fans who may not have the funds to outbid the competition for a jersey can still get involved to support the cause. The Pistons will be selling pink Pistons stickers at the door for a donation. The Pistons are encouraging fans to suit up in pink and then get ready to cheer as the Steinbach hosts the Portage Terriers for the first time since they raised the Turnbull Trophy in Steinbach during last season’s championship series. The bidding on your favorite pink Pistons jerseys begins at noon on Thursday October 22nd at steinbachpistons.ca A portion of the proceeds from the event will be donated to the Canadian Cancer Society.

OCN trio off to a great start

By Derek Holtom MJHL Web Correspondent Is there a more electrifying line in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League right now than the combination of Logan Harland, Devin Muir and Jeremy Dumont of the OCN Blizzard? After an explosive mid-October stretch, the trio held down three of the top four spots in the league scoring, led by Harland with his eight goals and 15 assists.  Muir was one point back with 22 point, while Dumont (Recycle Player of the Week) had 21 points. The early offensive domination is reminiscent of the early 2000’s, when it was expected to see plenty of Blizzard players jockeying for positions among the leaders in league scoring. The success was not unexpected to head coach Jason Smith, who said the trio is quite adaptable when on the ice together. “I think they’re the hardest-working line in the league – in fact I know they are,” said Smith. “They have a little bit of everything – they have grit, they have skill, and they can all shoot the puck. “At first, it’s a tricky thing to put together a line, but when you put skilled guys together, they’re going to find each other on the ice,” he added. Harland, who hails from Saskatoon, Sask., (via Frenchman Butte, Sask.) comes to the Blizzard after playing for several junior teams across Canada – including the WHL’s Saskatoon Blades and Vancouver Giants. In his final year of junior Harland was hoping make an impact, and early on, that’s exactly what he’s been able to do. “I didn’t know what to expect with this being a new league for me, as I’ve never played in this part of Canada before, but I was really impressed with the tempo of the league and my team,” said Harland. “And I owe all my success to my line mates – we’ve all had chemistry from the start, and it just seems to be getting better.” Harland’s roots are in Saskatchewan, while Muir calls Oak Bluff, Man., home. The third piece to this puzzle, Dumont, calls Val d’or, Que., home. Three players from three different provinces – so the question has to be asked, do they communicate well on the ice? That would be a resounding yes, according to Harland. “We seem to be able to communicate, and we’re always talking on and off the ice, about new things we can try, and it’s been successful so far,” he said. The offensive punch this trio provides has helped the Blizzard climb out of the bottom half of the standings. Harland said he doesn’t know much about the recent history of the Blizzard when there were not contenders for a league title, but says this is a new season and that this team craves success. “We have a special team this year,” he said. “I know that new guys were brought in, and the changes that were made have been to win. I think we can do well, and that this will be a successful season.” Harland added he has goals for hockey down the road, but for now, his goal is to help the Blizzard win a championship.    

OCN’s Dumont named MJHL Recycle Everywhere Player of the Week

OCN Blizzard forward Jeremy Dumont has been named this week’s MJHL Recycle Everywhere Player of the Week. Dumont, 19, exploded for 11 points (2-9) in four games played last week. He currently sits fourth in league scoring with 21 points ─ two points back of teammate Logan Harland, who leads the league with 23 points. The runners up are 20 year old forward Kamerin Nault of the Winnipeg Blues and 20 year old goaltender Nathan Park of the Portage Terriers.

2016 Crescent Point Energy Western Canada Cup

Estevan Saskatchewan – October 13th 2015 On Tuesday October 13th the Host committee of the 2016 Crescent Point Energy Western Canada Cup, in partnership with the Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL), held its official kick off to the tournament. All games will be played at the Affinity Place Arena in Estevan Saskatchewan. The tournament will run from April 30th thru May 8th 2016. "We are getting ready for the 2016 Crescent Point Energy Western Canada Cup," stated Chris Lewgood, GM/Head Coach, of the host Estevan Bruins.  "Affinity Place is new, it has to be one of the crown jewels for Junior A hockey.  The committees and volunteers are coming together and will ensure all the details are covered to ensure a successful tournament."  "This is the first major event to be hosted in Estevan with Affinity Place opening its doors in the falls of 2011." To help the host committee make the official announcement of the tournament , all four League Commissioners and Presidents were in attendance; SJHL President Bill Chow, MJHL Commissioner Kim Davis, AJHL Commissioner Ryan Bartoshyk, BCHL Commissioner John Grisdale.   Chairman & President of the Canadian Junior Hockey League, Kirk Lamb stated "Estevan and the SJHL have a long and storied history in junior hockey and we are very confident that this history will serve the event and hosts well in staging a successful tournament on and off the ice," said CJHL President Kirk Lamb. "The fans of Estevan, of the SJHL, and of junior hockey in Western Canada are in for an exciting and competitive event as the best teams in the West vie for an opportunity to compete in the national championship." “The Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League is excited to have the Estevan Bruins host the Crescent Point Energy Western Canada Cup in the spring of 2016, said Bill Chow President of the SJHL.  This will be our opportunity to continue the progress of the Crescent Point Energy Western Canada Cup that has been established previously in Nanaimo, Dauphin and Fort McMurray. The Estevan area is a great sporting community and by hosting this great event they will be able to display their great support for Junior A hockey.” The 2016 Crescent Point Energy Western Canada Cup will see champions of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL), Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL), British Columbia Junior Hockey League (BCHL), and Manitoba Junior Hockey League (MJHL) participate in a five-team tournament along with the host Estevan Bruins compete for the Crescent Point Energy Western Canada Cup title. The Crescent Point Energy Western Canada Cup Champion and the runner-up will both represent Western Canada at the 2016 RBC Cup National Junior A Championship. Upon release of the tournament schedule and event information can be found at westerncanadacup.com and on Twitter @CJHL_WCC.   For further information contact: Bill Chow President of the SJHL bchow.sjhl@sasktel.net   306-961-4554 Kim Davis Commissioner of the MJHL commissioner@mjhlhockey.ca 204-925-5644 Ryan Bartoshyk Commissioner of the AJHL commissioner@ajhl.ca 403-995-9609 John Grisdale Commissioner of the BCHL jgrisdale@bchl.ca  604-291-6530  

Terriers’ Bowles draws CJHL honours

 CALGARY, Alberta (October 13, 2015) – The CJHL 3 Stars for the month of September 2015 are Hunter Atchison (Cochrane Crunch, NOJHL), Daniel Urbani (Trenton Golden Hawks, OJHL) and Brad Bowles (Portage Terriers, MJHL).   1st STAR – HUNTER ATCHISON, F, Cochrane Crunch, NOJHL (6 GP, 8 G, 13 A, 23 PTS, 3.5 PPG)   In six games in September, the 18-year-old Victoria, B.C. native had points in all of them pacing the NOJHL in offensive production amassing 21 points on eight goals and 13 assists.  All but one of his outings were multi-point contests with two of his tallies being game-winners.   He also supplied a league-leading three shorthanded efforts and a trio of power play markers.  Atchison currently leads all NOJHL skaters in scoring with 27 points in total with 11 tallies and 16 helpers to his credit for Cochrane.   2nd STAR – DANIEL URBANI, G, Trenton Golden Hawks, OJHL (7 GP, 7 W, 0 L, 1.86 GAA, .919 SV%) Trenton Golden Hawks netminder Daniel Urbani is leading the OJHL with seven victories to open the 2015-16 season. Standing at 6'2", he reeled off seven consecutive victories to go undefeated in September as Trenton jumped out to the early lead in the East Division standings.  With four all-important divisional wins, Urbani never allowed more than three goals in a single game, while allowing just a single goal during three contests to post a 1.86 goals against average and a .919 save percentage.   A native of Coquitlam, B.C., Urbani was selected by the Vancouver Giants in the 11th round, 233rd overall, of the 2010 WHL Bantam Draft from the North Shore Bantam organization.     3rd STAR – BRAD BOWLES, F, Portage Terriers, MJHL (6 GP, 9 G, 4 A, 13 PTS, 2.2 PPG)           The MJHL nominee is Brad Bowles of the RBC Cup champion Portage Terriers. Bowles, a power forward, was a key member of the Terriers during their national championship run.  A native of Elkhorn, Mb., Bowles is off to a blazing start this season, reflected in nine goals and 13 points in his first six games: five wins for the Terriers.  Bowles, 20, scored three powerplay goals during his 13-point run.   Honourable Mentions: Blaize Bridges, Summerside Western Capitals (MHL), Jordan Larson, Carleton Place Canadians (CCHL), Kris Spriggs, Nipawin Hawks (SJHL), Tommy Lapierre, Sainte-Agathe Montagnards (QJHL) About the Gongshow CJHL 3 Stars of the Month – The Gongshow CJHL 3 Stars of the Month is one of the league’s national awards created to recognize Junior A hockey's best players and coaches.  Each star of the month will receive a gift from Gongshow Gear as well as an award courtesy of Jostens Canada the Official Ring and Award Supplier of the CJHL.

Steelers’ Kraus named MJHL Recycle Everywhere Player of the Week

Selkirk Steelers’ veteran forward Ty Kraus has been named this week’s MJHL Recycle Everywhere Player of the Week. Kraus, who hails from East St. Paul, MB, collected 10 points (5-5) for the Steelers, who have 4 wins in seven starts. The runners up are 20 year old forward Tyler Penner of the Steinbach Pistons and 18 year old forward Matthew Greening of the Dauphin Kings.

Terriers’ Brad Bowles named MJHL Recycle Everywhere Player of the Week

Portage Terriers’ veteran forward Brad Bowles is off to a great start this season, earning him first week honours as MJHL Recycle Everywhere Player of the Week. Bowles, a key member of last year’s RBC Cup champion Terriers, has tallied 13 points (9-4) in his first six games this season. The native of Elkhorn has been a key contributor for the Terriers, who have won five of their first six games this season. The runners up are 20 year old forward Denis Bosc of the Steinbach Pistons and 20 year old goaltender Sean Kuehn of the Virden oil Capitals.

Q & A with Kings’ Marlin Murray

Marlin Murray is well known to MJHL fans as the General Manager/Head Coach of the Dauphin Kings. On the ice, his Kings have accomplished an impressive list of credits: RBC Cup finalist, winner of the Crescent Point Energy Western Canada Cup, a Turnbull Trophy championship, and perennially a top contender in the MJHL.  While fans are familiar with Murray behind the bench, he’s much, much more than a hockey coach. He very kindly agreed to answer a number of questions which gives you an up close and personal look into Marlin Murray the person.   Q: Who had the biggest influence on you as a person, and coach?  A: All my coaches when I played. Dwayne Kirkup(AAA) Bruce Thompson (Junior) and Tom Skinner (CIS). Away from the ice, my wife and my daughter influence me daily.  Q: If not a hockey coach, what would you be doing? A: I had an interest in becoming a police officer or school teacher and lastly, maybe a chef!   Q: What’s the best part of coaching the Dauphin Kings?  A: Being a part of a TEAM that cares, and seeing individuals grow as a person under our guidance.  Q: Tell us one thing that fans wouldn’t know about you?  A: I’m shy.   Q: Favourite meal? A: My wife is a great cook.  So there are many options. I would have to say the combination of BBQ steak and hash brown casserole.  Q: Last movie you watched?  A: Took my daughter to her first theatre movie few weeks back, so Minions it is!!   Q: You played for the Brandon University hockey team. What type of player were you?  A: I would say a two-way forward who competed hard.    Q: Do you pattern your coaching style after anyone?   A: I watch a lot of NHL on TV. I try and learn weekly from it.  I love the way Joel Quenneville handles himself. He’s very passionate for the game and his players. I’m also a fan of Winnipeg Jets’ coach Paul Maurice, and how he handles the media.   Q: Top 5 favourite alumni Kings you’ve coached?  A: Such a tough question because I care for all the players that went to war in front of me, and we've had some really good kids here. 1. Tyler Harder 2.Mitch Czibere 3.Brett Willows 4.Shane Luke 5.Brent Wold   Q: Pick 1 player in the NHL to build your team around?   A: Manitoba boy: Jonathan Toews of the Chicago Blackhawks !   Q: Any one special hockey moment stick out the most?  A: Being down 4-0 in game 4 in the third period at home against the Winnipeg Saints in the 2010 MJHL championship and coming back and winning that game and hoisting at home.   Q: If you could pick anyone, who would you like to have a beer with?  A: Don Cherry   Q: Other than Dauphin, which MJHL rink is rockin' with atmosphere?  A: Virden usually puts on a good show.  Kings’ alumnus Lindsay Gullet did a heck of a job there!   Q: Any superstitions?  A: Yes. But,they are more like routines. When we go on a winning streak I stick to the same agenda on game day from the time I wake up in the morning. And I won't cross the path of a black cat.  Never!   Q: Which actor would play you in the “Marlin Murray” movie?  A: Can Russell Crowe skate?   Q: Favourite actress?  A: Charlize Theron   Q: Other than hockey, any hobbies?  A: The lake. I enjoy riding the Seadoo, being on the pontoon. I also enjoy golf and cooking.   Q: What’s changed the most in the MJHL since you first came into the league?  A: Couple of things. On the ice, there’s a lot less physicality in the game. Off the ice, social media.   Q: On a musical level, country music? Rock? Easy listening?  A: I love music.  All types, actually. But, country would be at top. Eric Church is really good.   Q: Favourite NHL team ?   A: Edmonton Oilers.   Q: Favourite non-hockey athlete?  A: Male – Josh Donaldson of the Toronto Blue Jays. Female – Genie Bouchard, professional tennis player  

2016 CJHL Prospects Game Announcement

  CALGARY, Alberta (September 30, 2015) – The Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL), in partnership with Hockey Canada, NHL Central Scouting and the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL), have announced that the 2016 CJHL Prospects Game will be hosted at the South Surrey Arena in Surrey, BC., on January 26, 2016.  The South Surrey Arena was built in 1991 and is the home of the Surrey Eagles of the BCHL. The CJHL Prospects Game is one of the premier Junior A hockey events in the country and provides tremendous exposure for the top CJHL prospects to play in front of scouts from all over the hockey world – including the NHL, NCAA, CHL and Canadian universities and colleges. The event will consist of player testing as well as the 11th Annual CJHL Prospects Game. “We are extremely proud and excited to partner with the British Columbia Hockey League and the Surrey Eagles and are extremely thankful for the continued support of the NHL and NHL Central Scouting,” said Kirk Lamb, President of the CJHL. “The great fans in Surrey and the BCHL will see the top prospects from across the country competing in front of scouts from all over the hockey world, including the NHL, NCAA, CIS and CHL.” The rosters for the CJHL Prospects Game are chosen in partnership with NHL Central Scouting and are made up of players recommended by NHL Central Scouting.   Team East is comprised of prospects from the five eastern CJHL leagues, which includes the NOJHL, OJHL, CCHL, LHJQ and MHL, while Team West consists of prospects from the five western CJHL leagues, which includes the BCHL, AJHL, SJHL, MJHL and SIJHL. The winning team is awarded the President's Cup.  Since its inception in 2005, Team West has slight edge with six wins while Team East has won the cup four times.  Last year’s winner, Team West won a highly spirited and very competitive contest in dramatic fashion in overtime in Oakville, Ontario. "There is a great history of Junior A hockey in Surrry and with this being the 25th anniversary season of the Surrey Eagles, it's the perfect time for them to host a special event like the 2016 CJHL Prospects Game, said BCHL Commissioner John Grisdale.  For fans and scouts, I'm sure they'll be interested to see how the prospects handle the Olympic-sized ice surface at South Surrey Arena.  The Eagles organization has embraced the responsibility of staging this event so we eagerly anticipate it returning to our region."  Game and ticket information for the 2016 CJHL Prospects Game will be announced in the coming days.

Terrier D-man one of 19 CJHL players listed by Central Scouting

Portage Terriers’ Dean Stewart is one of 19 CJHL players who have been listed as potential draft choices in the 2016 NHL draft. The list was compiled by NHL Central Scouting. Stewart, who hails from Portage, is a 6-foot-2, 180-pound right-handed defenceman. Below is the complete list of CJHL Players: Betts Kyle Powell River Kings BCHL Cho Austin Vernon Vipers BCHL Cholowski Dennis Chilliwack Chiefs BCHL Fabbro Dante Penticton Vees BCHL Grannary Colin Merritt Centennials BCHL Jost Tyson Penticton Vees BCHL Olischefski Kohen Chilliwack Chiefs BCHL Westgard Ty Surrey Eagles BCHL Finlay Liam Vernon Vipers BCHL Cairns Matthew Georgetown Raiders OJHL Dunn Sam Cobourg Cougars OJHL Jeffers Jack Burlington Cougars OJHL Keenan Luke Whitby Fury OJHL Thom Matthew Georgetown Raiders OJHL Rattie Taden Whitecourt Wolverines AJHL Young Justin Whitecourt Wolverines AJHL Grant Owen Carleton Place Canadians CCHL Murray Brett Carleton Place Canadians CCHL Stewart Dean Portage Terriers MJHL  

Neepawa begins season on positive note

The first weekend of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League season is in the books, and there were a couple of surprises from the first three days of the season. Four teams won both of their opening games – Portage, Swan Valley, Winnipeg, and … Neepawa? Yes indeed, after the first weekend, the Natives were tied for first place. Portage and Winnipeg winning two straight isn’t that much of a shock, as both teams are expected to be competitive this year. Swan Valley had recently beat both OCN and Waywayseecappo in the preseason so earning wins against them to start the season was also not that much of a surprise. But Neepawa winning two straight? That might have caught some observers off guard. After all, this is a franchise that only won 15 games all of last year. Neepawa opened the season with a home-and-home against the Dauphin Kings, a team expected to make a move up the standings this year after a rebuilding effort last season. However, it was the Natives who won back-to-back 5-2 victories. In the season starter in Dauphin the Natives out-scored the Kings 3-0 in the third period despite being out-shot 17-5 to lock down the win. The next night in Neepawa, the Kings went up 2-0 very early in the second period, only for the Natives to score five unanswered goals for their second straight victory. Natives head coach Jim Fuyarchuk said his team earned the four points with old fashioned hard work. “To put it quite simply, our guys came to the rink focused on the job at hand, and I thought we worked extremely hard, and we played a simple game,” said Fuyarchuk. “In the second game, the guys had some nerves in our home opener and Dauphin came out strong, but I thought we came back hard, and played a really strong second and third period.” The Natives were one of many MJHL teams who lost a talented veteran (or veterans) to American-based junior leagues (in Neepawa’s case, Drake Lindsey). But Fuyarchuk – who joined the Natives this summer – didn’t come into this season lamenting this loss. Instead, he focused on the players at hand, a strategy that paid off early dividends. “I do know that we played pretty solid as a team,” he said. “With Drake’s overall talent, he probably would have helped us, but the fact is we played the game simple, played it hard, and as a team. “And as it’s been said before, if you have the talent, and they are willing to work extremely hard, you’re going to have success,” he added. “You may not have the level of talent as your opposition, but if you work hard and play well as a team, you can beat talent.” The Natives also won their opener in front of a large crowd in Neepawa – the announced attendance was 655. Fuyarchuk feels the win will hopefully be beneficial for the team, franchise and the community. “I think this was a huge win,” he said. “The wins have added confidence to the players, and it’s great playing in front of a big, supportive home crowd. “If we can continue to see those same sorts of crowds, or even to have them grow, it will be a huge plus for us.”

College scouts invited to Old Dutch MJHL Showcase Weekend

The upcoming Old Dutch MJHL Showcase Weekend ─ which kicks off October 1st at Winnipeg’s MTS IcePlex ─ will be well attended by college and NHL scouts, MJHL Commissioner Kim Davis announced today.   “The league has personally invited 60 NCAA Division I schools to our Showcase Weekend,” said Davis. “We’ll see scouts from a number of high-profile colleges, of note the University of North Dakota and University of Western Michigan. Based on the feedback received, we are expecting a solid turnout.”   Also expected to attend are scouts from several Division III schools, in addition to NHL teams, including Winnipeg, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto and Pittsburgh.   The Old Dutch MJHL Showcase Weekend kicks off Thursday, Oct. 1 at the MTS IcePlex with Wayway Wolverines taking on Selkirk Steelers. Games continue all day Friday and Saturday. The complete Showcase Weekend schedule can be found on the MJHL website. This is the 12th consecutive year for the Showcase Weekend. 

Pistons Beautifying the Community

The Steinbach Pistons aren’t only concerned about their success on the ice. The organization also takes pride in building up the community and they showed that first hand this past weekend.  The Pistons were invited by BSI Insurance/IBAM and Take Pride Winnipeg to paint a house on 464 Ash Avenue in Steinbach. There were 10 Pistons players alongside three BSI insurance employees who completed the project in approximately five hours.   Take Pride Winnipeg normally stays within the Perimeter Highway, but they ventured outside because their lead sponsor IBAM is a province-wide company. The project started at 9 AM and the second coat was wrapped up at around 1:30 PM.    This is the first of many projects/events where the Pistons will show first hand their appreciation back to the community for their overwhelming support.   Project ideas, events or volunteers opportunities are always considered by the team and can be sent to info@steinbachpistons.ca. Watch the You Tube video!

Country 88 Back as Your Voice of the Winkler Flyers

You can follow the Winkler FLyers on the road all season long with your "Voice of the Flyers" – Country 88FM and www.pembinavalleyonline.com. As the Flyers embark on their 35th Anniversary season, Matt Friesen is back for his 10th season calling Flyers' games on the radio. For nearly three decades, Golden West Radio has been your home for Winkler Flyers hockey. This season, all 29 regular season road games (not including MJHL Showcase) and all playoff games can be heard on crystal clear FM radio (88.9FM) in the Pembina Valley and online at www.pembinavalleyonline.com. Click here for more information including the full Country 88 broadcast schedule. You can also watch live streaming video of all Winkler Flyers home and away games with a subscription to Fast Hockey.

Terriers’ Spiller reflects on last season while preparing for new season

The MJHL regular season opens on Friday (Sept. 25). Memories of last season include, the Portage Terriers ending a 40-year drought when they captured the RBC Cup – the national championship for junior A hockey – on home ice last May. The Terriers put together a season for the ages – only three regular season regulation losses, 53 regular season victories, an MJHL championship and of course the national title. Hosting an RBC Cup and actually winning the national title isn’t as easy as it sounds – the last team to do the trick was the SJHL’s Weyburn Red Wings back in 2005. Head Coach/General Manager Blake Spiller knew it wouldn’t be easy to win it all. And now, a few months later, he can look back at that championship run and talk about how things fell into place. “We gave ourselves a plan we tried to stick to,” said Spiller. “We wanted to recruit a core group of guys and then add some pieces as we went on. I think for the most part we were able to stick to what we wanted to do.” Spiller did say there were some transactions they looked at, but those didn’t work out. Hindsight being what it is, the Terriers were obviously successful even without those other deals being completed. And with 11 players with 40 or more points on their roster last year, they were as deep and balanced a team as has been iced in recent years in the MJHL. Spiller also mentioned they were a bit lucky on some nights, winning some games they maybe shouldn’t have. But over the course of a 60 game season, it was clear to anyone watching the MJHL that the Terriers were a team on a mission. “And we were able to stay healthy for the most part, which I think was a key for us,” noted Spiller. Of those 11 players with 40 or more points, the majority of them played in at least 55 of 60 regular season games, including leading scorer Zack Waldvogel, who played in all 60 games. And while the Terriers were aware of the 40-year national title drought in the MJHL, it certainly wasn’t their driving factor last season. “We knew what had happened in the past, but we just wanted to make sure we were as prepared as possible when the puck dropped at the RBC Cup,” noted Spiller. Click here to listen to Blake Spiller discuss the upcoming season with radio personality Jeff Dyck

Pistons Broadcasts Starting Friday

The Steinbach Pistons are pleased to announce that AM1250 Radio and SteinbachOnline.com have increased their partnership with the team. Pistons fans have had the luxury of getting play-by-play coverage 10 games prior and then throughout the playoffs the past few years. This year fans can expect to hear Dave Anthony call out 20 regular season games starting with the team’s home opener on Friday. “Having the opportunity to bring so much Pistons hockey to the passionate fan base is amazing,” replied Anthony, who will be going into his 2nd full season as the Pistons broadcaster. “Having the chance for players’ families and friends to hear them play hockey means a great deal.” If the Pistons’ preseason play (7-0) is any indication of what the newly assembled team will be able to accomplish, it sounds like Anthony will be relayi ng a mostly positive message to the Pistons faithful. “It’s going to be a terrific year in the MJHL and there will be a lot of meaningful games throughout the season with a lot of heated rivalries,” he said. “Can’t wait to get it all started.” AM1250 Radio and Steinbachonline.com have been broadcasting/streaming Pistons games every year since the team arrived in 2009.

Commissioner Davis discusses 2015-16 season which opens Sept. 25

On the eve of the 2015-16 Manitoba Junior Hockey League season, Commissioner Kim Davis took time to talk about the season that was, and the season that is to come. He also offered his observations on players leaving the MJHL for other leagues, including players leaving for American teams, resulting in some major holes for some teams to fill. Looking back on last year, Davis said he was impressed with how competitive teams were in a year where Portage loaded up for their RBC Cup run, and offered his praise to the Terriers for finally bringing a national championship back to Manitoba. “The season was a very good one throughout the regular season and playoffs,” said Davis. “Portage seemed to march through the playoffs, but the games I saw were tough games to win. “And the biggest thing to me in regards to the results was that I was just so happy for the players in Portage,” he added. “And more generally for the coaches and the organization, but my first thought was how happy I was for the players who played such great hockey throughout the playoffs, and to win a national championship is the pinnacle of what they can achieve in the sport at this level.” Looking ahead, with no team hosting a Western Canada Cup or the RBC Cup (as has been the case in recent seasons), Davis is expecting all teams to enter the season with thoughts on winning a championship. “I’ve talked with a few coaches in the league in the past few weeks, and almost all of them expect this will be a very competitive season,” said Davis. “Who knows who’s going to be the top team this year – it could very well be a different team – but who knows?” Davis then spoke of teams losing players to American teams, and receiving only cash back – often times only a fraction of what they might fetch if traded to a Canadian team. But due to international agreements between Canada and the United States, there’s little that can be done by Davis. But he notes the MJHL prides itself of developing players for other levels of hockey, and that aiding players in their goals is part of what junior A hockey is all about. “Ultimately our league supports players in their choice to play where they feel is best for them,” said Davis. “Obviously at the local level they want to have the best team, but at the end of the day, teams exist to provide opportunities to players to advance. “And some moves don’t seem to make sense because they don’t seem like advancement, but if that’s the path the player chooses, and we have to respect and support that.” Davis adds he knows this is frustrating for teams and the league. The commissioner said the MJHL will also continue to raise the profile of the league through sponsorship opportunities, and try to build off a year where the MJHL was most definitely in the spotlight. “It’s one of those things where you have to do something every year,” said Davis. “We’re also going to continue to reach out to potential players, meeting with them and their parents, and offering camps in the spring. This will be more of a continuation of what we’ve already begun in helping to build the brand of this league.”

Kings to Honour Dauphin Fire Department with Limited Edition 3rd Jersey

Jerseys will be available for auction later in season. The Kings red 3rd jerseys this season will feature the Dauphin Fire Department Logo on the front of the jersey. The Kings authentic logo will be on both shoulders of the special edition jersey. The Dauphin Kings organization is honouring the Dauphin Fire Department and their past and present members in recognition of extraordinary services the City of Dauphin and surrounding areas. GM and Head Coach Marlin Murray discusses how the jersey came to fruition, “I was driving by the Fire Hall one day and seen the firefighters just getting back from a call. They looked exhausted. I thought to myself, we are so lucky to have them in our community. By the time I drove 4 blocks to my house, I thought the Kings could honour them with this jersey. From there, we took the idea to the executive. They really liked the idea. After the meeting I reached out to Cam Abrey, the Fire Chief and set up a meeting with him and discussed the idea. He liked it as well. Once everyone agreed with the idea Dave Campbell, Owner of Parkland Source for Source and long-time King sponsor and I sat down and went over different scenarios and come up with this jersey. We wanted to keep the Kings color scheme but also implement their logo in it. We really like how it turned out”. The Dauphin Kings will also be recognizing different members of the Dauphin Fire Department throughout the course of the season by having them drop the ceremonial puck drop before specific games. The Kings organization would like to thank North of 51/Rogers wireless for sponsoring the jerseys. The jerseys will be auctioned off at the conclusion of the 2015-2016 season. Stay tuned for more details and game dates in which the jerseys will be worn!

Pistons creative in fund raising ventures

The Steinbach Pistons second year of trading ice and their Zamboni for dirt and a tractor has paid off in the off-season. The Pistons are getting close to harvesting their second crop next month with the help of Henervic Farms, MazerGroup Ltd, Southeast Seeds, Mark Hutlet Seeds, Adama, Sengenta along with the leadership and guidance of Herbsigwell Farms. And just like any farm season, there have been ups and downs. “This year started out very promising with an early dry seeding date,” said Scott Peters of Herbsigwell. “Soon after we had large amounts of rain and a solid dose of hail. Just for good measure we had cutworm issues aswell.” This is almost exactly what happened last year, except last year’s field experienced excess moisture instead of hail. And just like last year, the field came back to life during throughout the months of July and August. “The crop has rebounded nicely and looks to be an above average yield,” Peters said about this year’s soybean crop. The Steinbach Pistons wouldn’t be able to do a project like this with out involvement from key individuals like Scott and his team at Herbsigwell Farms. “It’s a great way to give back to the community,” commented Peters, who is also one of the Pistons 38 community owners. “We all like to see a high level of hockey close to home as well as a successful team. It takes volunteers and money and time to have success in the MJHL. We try and do our part to contribute.” The Pistons already have made some money off the crop due to the purchase of hail insurance, not it’s a wait and see game to see what the yield will be at harvest time in the next couple of weeks.

MJHL alumni battling for Moose spot

By Derek Holtom MJHL Web Correspondent A pair of Manitoba Junior Hockey League alumni recently skated with the Winnipeg Jets at the annual Young Prospects Tournament in Penticton, B.C. All of the Western Canadian NHL teams – the Jets, Oilers, Flames and Canucks – put their best young prospects on the ice to better evaluate their crop of up-and-comers. And the Jets included a pair of former Winnipeg Blues on their roster – Peter Stoykewych and Brendan O’Donnell. Stoykewych, who played with the Blues from 2008-2010 (scoring 31 points in his final year with the team), is auditioning for a spot on the Manitoba Moose – the Winnipeg Jets’ affiliate who will actually play out of Winnipeg this winter. Stoykewych actually played six games with the St. John’s IceCaps last season (where the Jets‘ AHL franchise used to be located), collecting one assist and 11 penalty minutes. A former seventh round pick of the then Atlanta Thrashers (now, obviously, the Winnipeg Jets), the Winnipeg-native recently wrapped up his college career with Colorado College. O’Donnell, also a Winnipeg product, skated with the Blues in the 2009-10 season, scoring 61 points before being traded to the Penticton Vees the following year, where he scored 72 points. O’Donnell also recently finished his college career, playing four solid years with the University of North Dakota, where he scored 35 points in 40 games as a senior. O’Donnell, a sixth round draft pick of the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2010, was invited by the Jets to take part in the tournament.    

Steelers Extend Mike FM Broadcast Agreement

The Selkirk Steelers Junior Hockey Club is pleased to announce that a new three year agreement has be reached with MIKE FM Winnipeg. The new agreement that was reached recently will take the team and MIKE FM Winnipeg into the 2017-2018 season. "We are very happy for this extension as it will allow us to continue bringing our fan's top quality coverage on MIKE FM Winnipeg" said Steelers General Manager David Obirek. The Voice of the Steelers Michael Gerl and MIKE FM is entering its first full season of providing Steelers coverage after joining the team part way through the 2014-2015 season. "This three year agreement is the first of many steps towards MIKE FM Winnipeg's goal of moving towards a 24/7 local all-sports station as recently announced. The last half of last season served as a terrific buidling block towards this long term agreement. We look forward to presenting the Steelers fans with exciting hockey action the next three seasons. We look forward to creating partnerships with local companies as broadcast partners, I wish to also thank Steelers ownership and management for the chance to bring Steelers Hockey back to the airwaves of MIKE FM Winnipeg long term" said Michael Gerl, MIKE FM President. MIKE FM Winnipeg is an online only radio station – for the Steelers game coverage, schedule and to listen live, visit www.mikefmwinnipeg.com or on the stations apps for android and iPhone or by following the link on the Steelers website www.selkirksteelers.com

Virden Oil Capitals Extend Coach Leslie’s Contract

The Virden Oil Capitals are extremely proud to announce that General Manager & Head Coach Troy Leslie has signed a three year contract extension that will keep him in Oil Country thru the 2018/2019 season. Leslie has been the man in charge of the Oil Capitals since the team was moved to Virden and in his three seasons behind the bench he has a record of 80-78-22. "Troy is a professional individual and we feel he will continue to lead our organization in the right direction" said Club President Dale Lewis. After winning just 18 games in the club's inaugural season, Leslie guided the Oil Caps to a franchise record 32 wins the following year. The Oil Caps then won their first MJHL playoff series over Swan Valley, before bowing out to the Western Canada Cup host Dauphin Kings. It was more of the same in 14/15, as the Oil Caps posted another 30+ win season. After a thrilling playoff series win over the Winkler Flyers, the Oil Capitals fell to the eventual RBC Cup Champion Portage Terriers in four games. "We are very happy with the job Troy has done with our club in the first three years and we want to continue that progression" added Lewis. The Oil Capitals are now set to enter their 4th season in the MJHL and with over a dozen returning players the future continues to look bright. "Troy and his staff have earned this contract and we feel very comfortable having him with our program for the next three years" concluded Lewis.  

MJHL announces Scholarship Fund winners

Three graduates of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League are winners of the MJHL Scholarship Fund, commissioner Kim Davis announced today. Jonah Wasylak (Steinbach Pistons), Bo Sigurdson (Swan Valley Stampeders) and Kolby Woods (Selkirk Steelers) have each won a $750 scholarship to a Canadian post-secondary institution.  Wasylak and Woods will both attend University of Manitoba, while Sigurdson will attend University of Victoria. “All three players are tremendous individuals both on and off the ice,” said Davis. “We recognize that going to a post-secondary institution can be an expensive decision. These scholarships will assist our graduating players to pursue their academic goals. We wish them the best of luck in their futures.”

CJHL releases pre-season rankings

The Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL) announced today its Pointstreak Pre-Season Top 20 rankings for the 2015-2016 season. The leagues in which the teams belong to are in parenthesis. The CJHL Pointstreak Pre-Season 2015-2016 Top 20 Rankings 1.    Penticton Vees (BCHL) 2.    Carleton Place Canadians (CCHL) 3.    Portage Terriers (MJHL) 4.    Estevan Bruins (SJHL) 5.    Woodstock Slammers (MHL) 6.    Lloydminster Bobcats (AJHL) 7.    Kirkland Lake Gold Miners (NOJHL) 8.    Aurora Tigers (OJHL) 9.    Soo Thunderbirds (NOJHL) 10.  Nanaimo Clippers (BCHL) 11.  Spruce Grove Saints (AJHL) 12.  Fort Frances Lakers (SIJHL) 13.  Trenton Golden Hawks (OJHL) 14.   Les Pantheres de St. Jerome (QJHL) 15.  Prince George Spruce Kings (BCHL) 16.  Camrose Kodiaks (AJHL) 17.  Ottawa Jr. ‘A’ Senators (CCHL) 18.  Selkirk Steelers (MJHL) 19.  Les Cobras de Terrebonne (QJHL) 20.  Dieppe Commandos (MHL) Honourable Mention goes to the Cowichan Valley Capitals (BCHL), Drumheller Dragons (AJHL), Melfort Mustangs (SJHL), Winnipeg Blues (MJHL), Georgetown Raiders (OJHL), The Pointstreak CJHL pre-season rankings are based upon a variety of factors which includes the league in which the teams belong to, last season’s results in regular season and playoffs as well as initial recruiting efforts for the upcoming season.  Best wishes to all as the quest begins for the RBC Cup in Lloydminster, Alberta in May 2016.   The Pointstreak CJHL Top 20 Weekly Rankings will begin on September 28, 2015 About the CJHL – The Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL) is a national organization comprised of 10 Junior A hockey leagues in Canada.  The CJHL represents 131 teams and 2,950 players and has over 2,900 former players furthering their hockey careers at the professional, major junior and college level across North America.  For latest CJHL news and features, visit www.cjhlhockey.com and follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/cjhlhockey or @cjhlhockey. About Pointstreak – Specialized for the needs of leagues, teams, associations and governing bodies, Pointstreak Sports Technologies’ solutions streamline operations and improve the experience of sports participants, fans and media. Check out Pointstreak’s homepage, product information site or company site to learn more or connect on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ , YouTube and our blog. SPOTLIGHT ON POINTSTREAK: SCORES ‘N STATS Pointstreak is well-known for live scoring and cool hockey stats software, but did you know we can link up our interactive GAME LIVE platform so that not only can you watch a live video feed of the game, but instant replays will show instantly – with no human editing required?  Learn more about Pointstreak’s products and services at http://www.pointstreaksolutions.com.

Stampeders sporting new look this season

The Swan Valley Stampeders will have a new look this fall – and no, we’re not talking about the players on the ice. The Stampeders will debut a new-look jersey this season. It will keep traditional elements the team has used since their inception in 1999, but will also be updated with new colours and new designs. It will also have the rope laces in the front, which harkens back to that classic look as well. Stampeder assistant coach and director of marketing Landon Kroeker spearheaded this initiative, and said the new jerseys will be an updated look from Swan Valley’s third jersey a year ago. “Last year we purchased a third jersey which used the ‘circle logo’ we’re using now,” he said. “It went over really well – I felt the crowd and the team really enjoyed that jersey, so we stuck with that theme this year. “The horse head is still there in the circle, along with the writing on the front.” The team isn’t going completely away from their traditional colour scheme, but it is updated. “The blue, black and brown is all the same,” said Kroeker. “The white is replaced with that off-white that was on the third jersey last year. And there is definitely a lot more black than last year. “I find that when a team wears a little more black, they can look a little bit bigger on the ice.” The Stampeders’ previous home jersey, the home white jersey, will now serve as the team’s ‘third jersey’. “We’re going to spin that into our third jersey,” said Kroeker. “We’ve used that logo and look for many years now, and we this year we’re going to try something new and see what the response is.” The team will also make this new jersey available to fans – especially for Christmas – if there is an interest.

Oil Capitals’ Thiessen commits to Mercyhurst Lakers for 2017-2018 season

The Virden Oil Capitals are extremely proud to announce that 18 year old forward Dylan Thiessen has committed to the NCAA Division I Mercyhurst Lakers for the 2017-2018 Season.  Thiessen had an outstanding rookie season in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League. The 1998 born winger appeared in all 60 games, scored 17 goals adding 16 assists for 33 points.  "Its pretty awesome" said Thiessen. "Its something that I wasn't expecting to get this early. It all happened so quickly."  "Since I was 8 years old, its been my dream to play Division 1 Hockey. Its unreal to have that finally come true." Thiessen's 33 point season left him 4th in the MJHL Rookie Scoring Race and helped him capture the 2014/2015 Oil Capitals Rookie of the Year Award.  "We're extremely happy for Dylan. He is a very good student and has worked hard to earn this opportunity" said GM & Head Coach Troy Leslie.  The Winnipeg native is set to return to Virden for his 2nd full season and will be relied on to provide similar offense and leadership.  "Im really looking forward to it.  We have a great group of guys" said Thiessen.   "With the new guys coming in, and our veterans I think we have a great chance to build on last year." Thiessen enters this season as the clubs 2nd leading scorer from last year, behind Devin Schram.  "We are glad to have Dylan back as he will play an important role on this years club" Leslie added.  Mercyhurst College is located in Erie, Pennsylvania and welcomes over 4,500 students every year.  The Lakers Men's Hockey Team competes in the Atlantic Hockey Division and has been coached by Rick Gotkin for the last 28 years. In that time, the Lakers have amassed nearly 500 wins, 6 NCAA tournament appearances and five league championships. 

Pistons’ Dyck named assistant coach with Canada West

Steinbach Pistons’ Head Coach Paul Dyck has been named an assistant coach with Canada West, which will compete in the 2015 World Junior A Challenge scheduled for Dec. 13-19 in Whitby and Cobourg, Ont. Dyck, 44, will make his first appearance with Canada West at the 2015 World Junior A Challenge. He was named head coach of Team West for the 2014 CJHL Prospects Games. Paul has been the head coach and general manager in Steinbach for the past three seasons, guiding the Pistons to the MJHL final in each of his three years, winning the league title in 2013. Dyck was a guest coach evaluator in 2013 and 2014 at Canada West selection camps. Dyck will work with Team West head coach Tim Fragle, who is head coach and general manager of the Alberta Junior Hockey League's Sherwood Park Crusaders., will be the head coach of Canada West at the 2015 World Junior A Challenge, scheduled to take place. Fragle will be joined by assistant coaches Barry Wolff (head coach and general manager, Coquitlam Express, British Columbia Hockey League) and Mike Reagan (head coach and general manager, Flin Flon Bombers, Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League). “I’m honoured to have been appointed the head coach of Canada West and truly excited to get the opportunity to work with the top CJHL players from Western Canada,” said Fragle. “I look forward to working with the staff in preparations for the selection camp and the World Junior A Challenge in December.” Canada West has appeared in six of the nine gold medal games at the World Junior A Challenge, winning gold in 2006 (Yorkton/Humboldt, Sask.), 2007 (Trail/Nelson, B.C.), and 2012 (Langley, B.C.). It also won silver in 2008 (Camrose, Alta.), 2009 (Summerside, P.E.I.), and 2012 (Yarmouth, N.S.), and won bronze in 2013 (Yarmouth, N.S.). It finished fourth in 2010 (Penticton, B.C.). For more information on the 2015 World Junior A Challenge, please visit www.hockeycanada.ca/wjac, or follow along through social media at www.facebook.com/wjrac and  www.twitter.com/hc_wjac.


The Virden Oil Capitals announced today that they have rounded out their Hockey Operations Staff for the 2015/2016 season. The Oil Caps are proud to welcome a pair of new faces to the club in Brenden Hope and Nolan Jago as well as welcome back a familiar face in Garry Remple. Hope, a Winnipeg product enters the fold as the clubs new Athletic Therapist and Equipment Manager.  Hope recently completed a 4-year science degree in Kinesiology and Applied Health, athletic therapy program at the  University of Winnipeg. He holds his CPR-HCP and Sport First Responder Certifications and is a certified Athletic Therapist as of June 2015. Most recently, Hope was the Athletic Therapist for the University of Winnipeg Baseball Program. Along with his baseball experience, Hope has worked other sporting events  within the CIS as well as the 2014 Directors Cup for Hockey Manitoba. Hope will arrive in Virden in the coming weeks and assume his new role prior to training camp. Meanwhile, Nolan Jago joins the Oil Caps the clubs new Equipment Assistant. The Brandon product played one season in the MJHL for the Neepawa Natives and also played NCAA College Baseball with the Minot State Beavers  and comes to the Caps after one season as the Equipment Manager for the Brandon AAA Wheat Kings. Jago is currently employed with Tundra Oil & Gas in Virden and will be a  welcome addition to the Oil Capitals Dressing Room. And lastly the Oil Capitals are proud to announce that Garry Remple will return to the Club as the team's Dressing Room Attendant. Gary is entering his third season with the Caps and will once again proudly present the "Garry Cup" to the team that wins the annual Training Camp Intrasquad Game!  

Former MJHL’er Husband Gives Ultimate Gift of Love

The Dauphin Herald recently published an excellent article about  former MJHLer Benji Husband and his wife. The MJHL thanks the Herald for sharing this article with all our fans. Husband played for the Dauphin Kings and Winnipeg Saints. Husband gives ultimate gift of love By M.A. Nyquist Dauphin Herald Reporter As husband and wife, a couple is expected to share many things, but Benji Husband is making the ultimate contribution to his wife Lisa. In a month or two, Benji will donate 60 per cent of his liver to Lisa,  who suffers from primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC). In 2004 when Lisa was 16, he explained, she experienced severe  abdominal issues. Not knowing what was wrong, Lisa quietly dealt with the symptoms for about a year before she saw a doctor and was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. The teenager suffered with it for a couple of more years before she  had surgery to remove her large intestine. Lisa was given a J-pouch, Benji said, which attached to her small  intestine and worked as a large intestine. “And then what happened there is, it got infected quite bad,” he said, adding some of the ulcerative colitis had remained attached,  triggering autoimmune hepatitis. As a result, Lisa contracted PSC. “It’s an incurable disease of the liver,” Benji said. “And now we’re at a stage where that’s escalated into total cirrhosis of the liver.” The ultimate treatment for PSC, he explained, is a liver transplant. Lisa’s damaged liver will be removed and part of her husband’s liver  will be transplanted into her. Their doctor explained Benji’s liver will immediately start  regenerating after surgery and grow to 80 per cent of its former mass within four weeks. “It will be working at full capacity, but it will actually only end up  growing to 80 per cent,” he added. Lisa’s new liver will also grow to 80 per cent, Benji said, but it  will take at least 10 weeks. It is rare for a married couple to be a match for organ donation and  Benji admitted he was surprised when it was confirmed. Lisa’s mother Dawn Davis was a partial match, he said, but the anatomy and size of the liver is an important consideration, as well. “It was so unexpected that I was a match for her,” Benji said,  pointing out they grew up different provinces, yet he ended up in  Lethbridge, where Lisa was living. “I’ve always told her that I felt like I had been sent here to save  her,” he said, noting since they first met, they have had a strong  connection. The former Dauphinite played with the Dauphin Kings and was traded to OCN where he spent part of a season before he was traded to Winnipeg Saints, where he stayed until the end of his career in junior hockey. Benji moved to Lethbridge to attend college, completing a diploma in marketing and management. The 30-year-old met Lisa the year he moved to Lethbridge, as he was dating a girl from Dauphin and moved in with her sister and boyfriend. “And her boyfriend’s best friend was dating Lisa,” he said, adding  they knew each other for about three years before they started dating in 2008, when they were both single again. They married in July 2011, though Lisa was quite sick at time, just  getting out of hospital a week before the wedding. With Lisa’s illness, the couple was advised they could not have  children, which, Benji said, was heartbreaking news and another reason he is willing to share his liver. “To give her that chance of having a family and having babies was just one of the top priorities for us,” he explained. A surgery date has not yet been set, Benji noted, but the couple have been told to anticipate it in late summer or early fall, depending on operating room schedules. Once the transplant is complete, he said, each of them will require a support person to help them manage day-to-day. Benji had planned to be Lisa’s support, until he learned he would be the donor. As a result, his mother Loreen Husband and Lisa’s mom will be the support team. Benji expects to be in hospital for about 10 days, with an eight-week recovery, while Lisa will be in hospital much longer. “And the surgeon said I should not be working for at least three  months, due to the nature of the incision,” he said, explaining the  wound will travel from his bottom rib, to his belly button and over to the hip bone. “It’s quite a hefty scar they’re going to leave us with, but at least  we’ll be matching.” Both moms have also co-ordinated a fund-raising campaign for Benji and Lisa. It is awkward for the couple to ask for help, Benji confessed, so their parents teamed up with a plan. Parkland Crossing agreed to help raise funds, allowing donors to a  receive a charitable tax receipt. Grateful for the support, Benji noted he has been away from Dauphin for a few years, but it will always be his hometown. “I’ve had so many people reach out in the past few weeks or so,” he said. “And the support is just overwhelming and amazing.” Their friend Ericka Mason created a gofundme page, called Take Part Of Me. “And we are overwhelmed with gratitude from both sides, of people just stepping up and wanting to help us,” Benji added. “It’s just been absolutely fantastic.” Take Part Of Me comes from a blog Davis is writing to create awareness of Benji and Lisa and what they are facing together. “She’s blogging about all of our stories, about how we met and grew  up. Sort of to get to know us a little better,” he said, adding it is  a way to help people understand why they need support. While Benji and Lisa’s story is an arduous journey, the couple also  want to create awareness of colitis and the need for people with  symptoms to deal with it promptly. “To realize that it’s okay to talk about things,” Benji said,  explaining as a teenager, Lisa spent a year not knowing what was wrong with her. “She was experiencing all these horrible things and was embarrassed about it. And couldn’t talk to anybody.” At 28, he tearfully explained, Lisa has been struggling with her  illness for 12 years. Lisa is an inspiration, Benji said, and wants to raise awareness, so  young girls do not suffer in silence. “If they could somehow hear the story and see that she’s strong enough to talk about it, then maybe they can talk about it, too.” The drugs and care for Crohn’s disease and colitis have advanced so much since Lisa was diagnosed, Benji said, dealing with it sooner,  will offer a better prognosis. For more information, check out Davis’ blog at takepartofme.net. To donate to Benji and Lisa, visit www.parklandcrossing.ca or check  out Take Part Of Me at gofundme.com.  

Schedule Announced for 2016 RBC Cup in Lloydminster, ALTA./SASK.

Lloydminister, Alta. – With hockey season set to begin across the country, Hockey Canada in partnership with the Canadian Junior Hockey League, has announced the schedule for the 2016 RBC Cup. Canada’s National Junior A Championship will be held at the Centennial Civic Centre, May 14-22, 2016, and will feature five of Canada’s top Junior A hockey teams, including the host Lloydminster Bobcats of the Alberta Junior Hockey League. The RBC Cup will return to Alberta for the first time since 2011, and just the sixth time in the tournament’s 46-year history. The event kicks off May 14 with two games on the schedule, including the Bobcats taking to the ice at 7:30 p.m. MT. The 2016 RBC Cup will bring together four regional representatives (Central, East, West #1, West #2), along with the host Bobcats, to face off for the national championship. CLICK HERE FOR THE 2016 RBC CUP SCHEDULE The event marks the Bobcats’ first appearance at Canada’s National Junior A Championship, and in recognition, the team has announced it will introduce new throwback jerseys that it will wear for Friday home games during the 2015-16 season and at the opening game of the championship. The jerseys give recognition to the Bobcats’ history when they were known as the Lloydminster Lancers (1982-89) and the Lloydminster Blazers (1989-05). The team will wear the white throwback Blazers jersey for the first half of the season and blue Lancers jerseys for the second half of the season. “There have been many hands involved in supporting and building this team throughout the years,” said Malcolm Radke, host-committee co-chair and Bobcats’ team business manager. “Our appearance in the 2016 RBC Cup has been 34 years in the making, and we thought these throwback jerseys would be a fun way to honour the work of past players, staff, and volunteers.” The championship game will be broadcast on TSN/RDS, official broadcasters of Hockey Canada, on Sunday, May 22. Please check your local listings for broadcast times in your area. All other games, including the preliminary round and semifinals, will be available via webcast at www.hockeycanada.ca/rbccup. Ticket inquiries can be made by contacting the Bobcats’ box office by phone at 780-871-0900. For more information on the 2016 RBC Cup, please visit www.hockeycanada.ca/rbccup, or follow along via social media at www.facebook.com/rbccup or www.twitter.com/hc_rbccup.

Three new board members for Natives

The Neepawa Natives have announced the election of its new board of directors. For the 2015-2016 season, there will be three new members and 11 returnees. The new members recently voted on to the board are Ken Waddell, Eoin Devereux and Alan Gillies. Returning members for the upcoming year include Myles Cathcart, Trevor Lizotte, Mary Ellen-Clark, Mike Hodgins, Darian Major, Ross McBride, Daniel McInnes, Mike Bulbuck, Kaiten Critchlow, Dave Clark, Rob James and Cam Tibbett.  Waddell has been selected to serve as board president, with Tibbett as the vice president, McInnes the club treasurer and Bulbuck serving as the team secretary. Another change to the club’s off-ice operations for the upcoming year sees Dave Clark stepping into the role of governor. The position involves attending league board of governors meetings and debating potential rule changes. Clark has taken over the role from Dave McIntosh, who has been with the team for over 15 years and has also served as team president since October 2010. The Neepawa Natives organization would like to thank McIntosh, who formally announced earlier this year he would be stepping down, for all his dedication to the franchise and his endless efforts to improve the league. About the Neepawa Natives The Neepawa Natives have been a member franchise of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League since 1989 and play home games at the Yellowhead Centre in Neepawa, Manitoba. The team has developed a rich and proud history of developing players for all levels of hockey. Season tickets for the 2015-2016 Manitoba Junior Hockey League season are currently available. Additional details on purchasing tickets can be found at www.neepawanatives.com   For for information contact, Neepawa Natives general manager Myles Cathcart @ (204) 841-1555 or Neepawa Natives board president Ken Waddell @ (204) 476-6214!

King alumni Nelson joins coaching staff

The Dauphin Kings are pleased to announce that former Captain Cody Nelson will be joining their coaching staff for the 2015-2016 season. Nelson, a Brandon, Mb native served as Captain for the pride last season. Gm and Head coach Marlin Murray discusses the process of bringing “Nelly” on board, “In closing out meetings last season we discussed the possibility for it to happen. However, there were a few things that didn’t line up as we went forward with it. So we thought it was dead issue. However, in mid-July Cody contacted us about it again and we worked hard to make this work. First and foremost, he is a really good kid. He will provide energy and emotion on a day to day basis. His youthful character will be good for us old dogs here! It’s always good having another set of eyes and ears around the hockey club.” The Kings have been going with a two man coaching system since Steve Bray re- located and Bruce Helgeson parted ways a couple years ago. They do have goaltending coach Joe Caliguri, a Kings alumni helping out in part-time capacity. Caliguiri is taking Law at University of Manitoba and is available to the club when his busy schooling schedule allows it. It’s a big job and a lot of responsible for two coaches to run the operation of a Junior A club on a day to day basis. Especially as both coaches Berry (Asst. GM, Director of Marketing) and Murray (Gm) have dual roles with the club. Murray echoes that with a grin “Yeah, there are some long days for sure. Some people wouldn’t likely understand how many hours we put in and the dedication that comes with it. We were joking about it at the RBC CUP 2014 in Vernon, BC when we did our team picture! We had three chairs on the ice for our staff (which included a trainer chair) where most teams had six seven or eight chairs!” Murray also states that the age shouldn’t be a factor in any negative fashion while Nelson accompanies Berry and Murray along the bench. “Is he young? Yes! But he is a mature young man. We will put him in roles in which he will be confident with. He understands the MJHL while having four years of playing service in it. He’s wore leadership letters, he’s won a championship. For this to work Nelson had to find employment elsewhere in the “city of sunshine” that was able to work hand in hand with the busy schedule the Kings have. Nelson will be employed at Parkland Source for Sports, a long time sponsor of the Dauphin Kings. “Dave and I sat down and made sure both parties would be happy with the hours lining up for each group. Without Cody working with another business in town it wouldn’t have been possible. Timing was good for everyone! “, stated Murray Nelson is thrilled as well as proud to be joining the Kings family as a coach, “It’s a great city to play junior hockey. Marlin and Marc do an incredible job preparing players, communicating with players and giving players a great junior “A” opportunity. I’m anxious and excited to be joining them and helping them in any way I can to better the club.” Put on your whistle Cody, welcome back to Dauphin!

Exhibition schedule released – opens August 31st

Pre-season action in the MJHL kicks off Monday, August 31 with Selkirk Steelers visiting Steinbach Pistons at the T.G. Smith Centre. The exhibition season wraps up on September 20. The complete pre-season schedule can be found on the MJHL website/schedule. The regular season kicks off Friday, September 29. “The pre-season is an exciting time for both our fans and prospects,”  MJHL Commissioner Kim Davis said today. “Teams are carefully evaluating their talent, both long-term prospects and those players who could potentially be in the line-up for opening night. Fans get to watch the present and future MJHLer.”