Stampeders in the Community

  Being a player on a junior hockey team can eat up a lot of your time. From road trips to home games to daily practices, the players spend a lot of time at the rink. Add in a part-time job or classes, and you can see players like to keep busy. But not too busy that they can’t get out and about in their communities. There are a lot of positives to representing your team positively in the community, and the Swan Valley Stampeders are one of the best. “This sort of thing is important because running a junior team isn’t cheap,” said Stamps’ bench boss Erik Petersen. “The businesses and sponsors and fans help pay the bills, and the businesses who put in their sponsorship dollars, they might not have enough time to come and watch every game. “But it’s important that they see the players out in the community, doing things, trying the make the community a better place, and showing that we’re thankful for the support that we get.” Petersen spoke of the many activities the Stampeders have been involved with in the past few months, including the team showing up en masse for the Remembrance Day service. “We asked the boys to attend the Remembrance Day service, and they came and were asked to join in the march to the Cenotaph,” said Petersen. “They also attended the ceremony in the War Veteran’s Hall.” That’s one example, but Petersen had plenty more to list, including something kind of spooky. “We’ve been involved in the ‘Communities That Care’, and they had an event in October that the players helped out with – it was a haunted house, and the players helped with the set up and in the house scaring the kids,” said Petersen. In fact, many players from the Stampeders come to training camp early every year to help out with the team’s annual hockey school. Alumni are often a common sight at the late summer camp as well. “Some guys even come back to help out for the rodeo, to help out and participate in the parade,” said Petersen. As noted, the players don’t always have a lot of free time, but give them a chance to hang out at the rink a little more and many jump at the chance. “We also have players who help out the minor hockey coaches,” said the Stampeders head coach and general manager. “They enjoy helping out the minor hockey system. “The players also help out with the Breakfast Club (a before-school ice session for minor hockey players), and we have four players helping out with that on Thursdays at 7:30 a.m. That’s for atoms and novice players mostly.” With Christmas coming up, Petersen said the players will be lending a hand with the hampers that are handed out across the Valley. Some players help out even further. Carberry’s Daylon Creasy is taking part in “Chop the Top Off” for Cancer Awareness, and is in competition with two local politicians, where the loser has to get his head shaved at centre ice, said Petersen, adding the whole team took part in the wearing pink for cancer awareness as well. They also took part in the annual Terry Fox run, another event that raises money to battle cancer. The players also helped kick off the season with a barbecue at the local Co-op, and even helped bag groceries inside. “I’m always looking for new things (for the players to do) as well),” said Petersen. “For me, this is all about giving back to the community. For the cost of running this team, the players essentially have a $20,000 a year job, so I think it’s worth it to do these sorts of things to give back.”

MJHL Power Rankings – Week 12

MJHL Power Rankings for December 1st   (30-1-1) (Last Week: 1st) – Make it 14 straight wins for the Portage Terriers, they also remain at the summit of the CJHL Top 20 this week. It may be just the halfway point of the season, but Portage is getting closer and closer to clinching a playoff spot. Schedule this week: @ OCN on Friday, @ OCN on Saturday & @ Wayway on Sunday   (15-5-6) (Last Week: 2nd) – With three straight losses under their belts it appears the Blues have hit a little bump in their otherwise strong season. They’ll try and bounce back at home this week.  Schedule this week: vs. Neepawa on Thursday & vs. Virden on Saturday   (19-6-5) (Last Week: 2nd) – Just one game last week for the Winkler Flyers, and a disappointing result in a 6-4 home loss to the Virden Oil Capitals. Despite coming up short in that contest, the Flyers still find themselves 14th on the CJHL Top 20. Schedule this week: @ Selkirk on Tuesday, @ Neepawa on Friday & vs. Winnipeg on Sunday   (14-11-4) (Last Week: 5th) – A successful weekend for the Oil Caps, they took two of three on the road and after Portage they might be the hottest team in the MJHL right now. Virden is 7-2-1 in their last 10.  Schedule this week: vs. Dauphin on Saturday & vs. Steinbach on Sunday   (17-7-3) (Last Week: 3rd) – The Pistons finished the month of November strong as they picked up points in four straight contests. The only blemishes were a couple losses to Virden.  Schedule this week: @ Winnipeg on Thursday, @ Wayway Saturday & @ Virden on Sunday   (12-14-1) (Last Week: 7th) – Selkirk continues to slowly climb the MJHL ladder. Two more wins last week has bumped them up to sixth in the league. They’ll try for three straight Tuesday. Schedule this week: vs. Winkler on Tuesday   (11-14-3) (Last Week: 6th) – A point gained for the Swan Valley Stampeders in their 3-2 OT loss to Wayway Wednesday. Swan is in a group of three teams in the MJHL that are 3-6-1 in their last 10 games. Schedule this week: vs. OCN on Wednesday & @ Neepawa on Sunday   (10-15-4) (Last Week: 8th) – A win and a loss for the Dauphin Kings last week has them continuing to look for some consistency. The Kings play three of their next four at home as they look to improve on their 6-4-3 record at Credit Union Place. Schedule this week: vs. Wayway on Tuesday, vs. Winnipeg on Friday & @ Virden on Saturday   (10-16-2) (Last Week: 9th) – Seven straight losses for the OCN Blizzard and it isn’t going to get any easier in December. The Blizz will play six of eight games on the road this month.  Schedule this week: @ Swan Valley on Wednesday & vs. Portage Friday and Saturday   (9-18-2) (Last Week: 10th) – The Wolverines occupy the final playoff spot in the MJHL right now but Neepawa is not far behind. Schedule this week: @ Dauphin on Tuesday, vs. Steinbach on Saturday & vs. Portage on Sunday   (9-19-1) (Last Week: 11th) – The Natives snapped their losing skid with a win against OCN on Saturday. Two games at home this week for Neepawa, they’ll play eight games before the Christmas break sets in. Schedule this week: vs. Winkler on Friday & vs. Swan Valley on Sunday

Steelers’ MacKenzie named MJHL Manitoba Pork Peak Performer of Month

Brian MacKenzie of the Selkirk Steelers has been named the MJHL Manitoba Pork Peak Performer of the Month of November. MacKenzie, who hails from Winnipeg, has made the commitment to raise cancer awareness among both his teammates and the community of Selkirk. Recently, the MJHL family was saddened to hear the news that former player Cole Hamblin had lost his battle against cancer. MacKenzie, a former teammate and friend of Cole, decided he was going to be a difference maker ─ starting with the popular “Movember” movement of cancer awareness. “MacKenzie, and his Steelers teammates participated in raising funds through a Movember Brunch hosted by Roxi’s on the Red Uptown Café and On the Rocks Bar and Night Club in the Selkirk Motor Hotel,” said Steeler’s GM Dave Obirek. “Through this event, and further donations from players, staff and fans, a total of $1,100 was raised in support of Movember Canada and men’s health.” MacKenzie, who is the Steelers’ captain, was also instrumental in having the Steelers’ don ‘CH 13’ decals on their helmets ─ in honour of Cole, who wore number 13 with the Steelers. “Brian took his captaincy to the next level,” said Obirek. “Having suffered the loss of a friend and former teammate, he took it upon himself to bring awareness to ‘Movember’ and men’s health. We are all very proud of him.” “Brian 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.” October Daylon Creasy of the Swan Valley Stampeders has been named the Manitoba Pork – MJHL Peak Performer of the Month for October. Creasy, 18, has been involved in a variety of community activities this season, including the Terry Fox Run, Taylor School BBQ and Swan Valley Minor Hockey Breakfast Club. “Daylon’s involvement in his community is all encompassing,” said MJHL Commissioner Kim Davis. “He’s has become involved with Communities that Care, Haunted House project for Spooktober fest. “In addition, Daylon is participating in the Swan River 'Chop the Top' for cancer awareness where he may have to endure a buzz-cut at center ice during a game in November.” Creasy, who hails from Carberry, is also passing on his hockey expertise to young players, serving as a guest coach with Swan Valley Pee Wee teams. “Daylon epitomizes the community involvement of the MJHL,” said Davis. “This award couldn’t have gone to a more worthy recipient.” September Zach Whitecloud of the Virden Oil Capitals is committed to making a difference in his community. And it’s that quality which earned the rookie defenceman the Manitoba Pork Peak Performer of the Month for September. Whitecloud, 18, excels both on the ice and in the community. He volunteers his time with the Virden Minor Hockey school and assisted during local peewee tryouts. “While Zach is a newcomer to the community of Virden, that didn’t stop him from getting involved quickly,” MJHL Kim Davis said of Whitecloud’s contributions. “ Zach, along with his teammates, recently participated in the Virden Junior High Terry Fox Run/Skate. Zach will also be speaking in local schools as part of WE Day Celebrations. He’s doing all of this community work while dealing with the pressure of being a rookie in the MJHL.” Whitecloud, who hails from Brandon, plans to speak to the WE Day audience about his path to the Oil Capitals, and his experience playing for Team Manitoba at the North American Indigenous Games in Montreal. “Zach epitomizes what the MJHL is all about: community involvement, making a difference and showcasing his hockey talents,” said Davis. “Congratulations on behalf of the Manitoba Pork Council and the MJHL.” Archive 2013-2014 March The Manitoba Pork Peak Performer of the Month for March is Steinbach Pistons goaltender Zach Rakochy. Zach spent over 60 hours volunteering in Steinbach schools assisting teachers, spending time with students, and was also involved in minor hockey during the month of March. "Zach has made a tremendous impact with youth in Steinbach and has set the bar extremely high when it comes to giving back to the community,” said Pistons Head Coach & GM, Paul Dyck. “I am often approached by parents with a son or daughter in one of the schools where Zach volunteers and they always comment on the positive influence he has been on their child. Zach understands the opportunity he has as a Junior hockey player to make a difference in the lives of people and he selflessly gives his time." Congratulations Zach as this month’s Manitoba Pork Peak Performer! February For his tireless community service efforts, Clay Van Diest of the Portage Terriers has been Manitoba Pork Peak Performer for the Month of February. Van Diest, 20, is a firm believer in giving back to his community and the fans of the Terriers. “Clay is active in the community and has participated in the Terry Fox Run, volunteered for Manitoba Heart and Stroke Association, United Way, Cancer Care Manitoba and the Portage Jingle Bell Breakfast,” MJHL Commissioner Kim Davis said of Van Diest’s selection. “Clay truly understands what it means to give back to the community. Clay has also volunteered to read at schools in surrounding communities such as Austin, Treherne and MacGregor, as well as nearby Hutterite communities and schools in Portage la Prairie.” Van Diest, who patrols the blueline for the Terriers, hails from Helena, Mt. His community efforts have not gone unnoticed by his teammates. “Clay sets a very good example for his younger teammates as well as for all youth in the community,” said Davis “Clay is a true ambassador of the Terriers and the MJHL. He’s a worthy winner of this award. The MJHL and Manitoba Pork Council congratulate Clay on his award.” January Cody Nelson of the Virden Oil Capitals has been Manitoba Pork Peak Performer for the Month of January. The 20-year-old forward has been recognized for his outstanding leadership skills both on and off the ice. “Cody volunteered as an instructor at the Southwest Peewee Development Camp, sharing his passion and knowledge of hockey with the young players,” MJHL Commissioner Kim Davis said of Nelson’s selection. “The Camp included two speaking sessions where Cody addressed the players and their parents about his work ethic and daily routine and what it took to become a Junior ‘A’ hockey player.” Nelson, who hails from Brandon, has demonstrated strong public speaking skills and a willingness to share his personal experiences with others. “Recently, Cody spoke in front of the entire Virden Collegiate student body at their WE Day event and is a tremendous ambassador for the Oil Capitals,” said Davis. Nelson was a Peak Performer on the ice as well, recording six points (3-3) in the month of January. “Cody is a true ambassador of the Oil Capitals and the MJHL,” said Davis. “He a worthy winner of this award. The MJHL and Manitoba Pork Council congratulate Cody Nelson on his award.” December The Manitoba Pork Peak Performer of the Month for December is 18 year old forward Kamerin Nault of the Winnipeg Blues. Kam is in his second year with Blues and has been active in giving back to the community. Kam participated in a Kal-Tire-MJHL BBQ helping to promote the MJHL and the Blues. Kam has volunteered his time coaching with the AA Titans (northwest) girls hockey team and participates with Seven Oaks Middle School helping out students in their Physical Education program in the afternoon and on-ice in the mornings. November Riley Hillis of the Neepawa Natives is full of energy both at the hockey rink and within the community. And it’s that quality which earned the talented forward the Manitoba Pork Peak Performer of the Month for November. Hillis, 18, volunteers his time at an early morning hockey clinic helping young players work on their skills before school. The Winnipegger is also enjoying a strong season, reflected in 14 points (10-4) after 27 games. “Riley also volunteered at local schools and with the Salvation Army in support of their annual food donation drive for the food bank,” MJHL Commissioner Kim Davis said of the selection. “Riley is a good example of community volunteerism at its best. He’s combining a very busy hockey schedule with helping others in Neepawa.” The MJHL and Manitoba Pork are proud of the contribution Hillis has made to his community. October For his outstanding volunteerism in the community, Max Provencher of the Swan Valley Stampeders has been awarded the MJHL Manitoba Pork Peak Performer of the Month for October. Provencher, 20, hails from Montreal and is fully bilingual ─ a language he’s putting to good use in Swan River and area. “Max is a volunteer French tutor for Swan River and area students,” Commissioner Kim Davis said of Provencher’s selection. “He also volunteers his time at the local Animal Protection Agency and has supported the Swan Valley Communities That Care (SVCTC) Youth Initiative.” Provencher, a 6-foot-3, 200-pound forward, has also enjoyed a strong season to date, reflected in 13 goals and 22 points for the Stamps, who sit fourth in the Sher-Wood Division. The Manitoba Pork Council and the MJHL congratulate Max on his outstanding achievements in the community and on the ice. September Adam Vander Linden of the Winkler Flyers believes in making a difference in his community. And it’s that quality which earned the rookie goaltender the Manitoba Pork Peak Performer of the Month for September. Vander Linden, 18, has been honoured with this award for his unconditional commitment to his community and unselfish volunteerism. “Ty is a newcomer to the community of Winker, but that didn’t stop him from getting involved quickly,” MJHL Kim Davis said of Vander Linden’s contributions. “He is contributing to the community by volunteering in the Canadian Tire ‘I Love to Skate’ program which provides skates and encouragement to new immigrant children who have never skated on ice before. This year in Winkler, 25 kids are learning to skate as a result of the efforts of Canadian Tire and people like Adam." “He did all of this community work while preparing for several Manitoba Junior Hockey League games and all the while moving to his new town,” Davis said of Vander Linden, who hails from Winnipeg. Vander Linden and some of his teammates also volunteered with the Winkler Horticultural Club who had the task of removing flower pots from various locations in the city to prepare for the upcoming winter season. On the ice, Vander Linden has also contributed over his first two games, reflected in stopping 72 of the 76 shots he faced for an outstanding .947 save percentage and a 2.0 goals against average. The MJHL and Manitoba Pork are proud of the contribution Vander Linden has made to his community.

Steinbach Pistons’ Penner named RBC Player of Month

Tyler Penner of the Steinbach Pistons has been named the RBC Player of the Month for the month of November. The 19-year-old forward from Winnipeg exploded offensively with 16 points (10-6) in 12 games for the Pistons, who have 17 wins and 37 points after 27 games. The runners up are 19 year old forward Taeron Lewis of the Winnipeg Blues and 19 year old forward Drake Lindsay of the Neepawa Natives. Sher-Wood Hockey Defenseman of the Month The outstanding play of defenceman Davis Ross is a contributing reason why the Portage Terriers are having a spectacular season. Ross, who hails from Fort Francis, is arguably one of the best blueliners in the league. Ross, 19, also contributed offensively last month with 10 points in 11 games. The runners up are 20 year old Ryan Bittner of the Winnipeg Blues and 20 year old Taylor Friesen of the Portage Terriers. MGEU Goaltender of the Month The MGEU Goaltender of the Month for November is Sean Kuehn of the Virden Oil Capitals. Kuehn, who hails from the hockey hotbed of Flower Mound, Tx, was outstanding last month, reflected in a 6-2 record and 2.75 GAA. His save percentage was .921. The runners up are 19 year old Justin Laforest of the Portage Terriers and 20 year old Dasan Sydora of the Winkler Flyers. IBAM Rookie of the Month The IBAM Rookie of the Month for November is Dylan Thiessen of the Virden Oil Capitals. A runner-up for the same award last month, the 17-year-old from Winnipeg continued his strong play, reflected in nine points (4-5) in 12 games last month. The runners up are 17 year old defenseman James Shearer of the Steinbach Pistons (November’s IBAM winner) and 17 year old goaltender Hayden Dola of the Selkirk Steelers.

Watson remembers “record-setting” season

Unless you’ve been in a coma or camping out in a cave, by now you’ll have noticed the Portage Terriers are on quite the winning tear. After 32 games the ‘Dogs have amassed a staggering 30 wins, while losing only once in regulation time. With all this winning, the natural question from any hockey fan is: “what is the league record for season wins?” Glad you asked. Drum roll please…………..56 wins. Yup…….56 wins by the OCN Blizzard during the 2001-02 season. The club’s overall record that year was 56-5-0-3 in 64 games. “That team was very, very special,” remembers Glen Watson, then GM/head coach of the record-setting Blizzard squad. “It was a group that didn’t like to lose. They found ways to win, they knew how to win and it was a very memorable time for all of us.” Watson admits he’s watching the progress of the Terriers and admits, “that’s a darn good team.” Long-time MJHL fans will remember that exceptional group. Skilled. Fast. Tough. Stingy on defence. Offensively lethal.  OCN fans will remember many of the names: Starr, Muswagon, Leclerc and Spence to name but a few. But, the record win season didn’t come without a stumble or two. Watson believes the tone of the whole season was established very early. “The night before our first home game, a few of the guys missed curfew,” said Watson. “And these were pretty good players. Their families had come out to watch the home opener. “I wasn’t happy when I found out what they had done. I brought them into my office at 5:30  in the afternoon and told them they weren’t dressing for the game. And I told them I wouldn’t tolerate this kind of stuff. “I really believe that by doing this, I got my point across to the whole team that we had expectations and no one player was better than anyone. It was a real learning curve for those three players, but they responded in a positive way.” Watsons’ message was heard throughout the room ─ team first. Watson, who coached four seasons with OCN, was always thinking of ways to motivate his team, and deliver the message that playing junior hockey in OCN was pretty special. His job wasn’t as simple as opening and closing the gate. The group of talented players had to be handled with skill and expertise. “A lot of people in OCN worked in the mill,” said Watson. “They would have to drive across the bridge into town every day. Hard-working people. So, in the morning, I’d have my guys run from the rink and across the bridge…..the guys had to touch a fish shack which was on the other side of the river. And then they would run back to the rink. “The guys would be running across the bridge and cars would be honking, people would be shouting encouragement to our guys. It just reinforced to our players that playing was special and not to take it for granted.” The Blizzard responded positively, losing just five games: defeating Kindersley in the AVAVET Cup final, and advancing to the RBC Cup tournament. Proudly carrying the MJHL colours, OCN lost a heart-breaking championship final to host Halifax. “Those were the days when there was no limit on dressing 20-year-old players,” says Watson. “Halifax had 19, 20-year-old guys; we had 12. It was a real tough game. It was a disappointing to lose a national championship, but we were real winners in my eyes. “I was so proud of our guys and how they battled.” Arguably, one of the best coaches in the history of the MJHL, for the last eight years Watson has been working in the oil field business in Grand Prairie. After leaving the Blizzard he coached a senior team out of Horse Lake First Nation, which participated in the Allen Cup tournament. And while he’s no longer involved in the MJHL, Watson still keeps a close watch on the league. “I always check and see what’s going on,” he says with a laugh. “Every once in a while I get an itch (to coach), but I’ve also moved on with my life.” As for the MJHL record for wins…….the Terriers just keep moving on, too.

Stampeders’ Johnson named Recycle Everywhere MJHL Player of the Week

Carter Johnson, 19, of the Swan Valley Stampeders has been named the Recycle Everywhere-MJHL Player of the Week. The 6-foot-3 centreman proved tough to handle for the opposition, scoring four goals and six points in two games last week. Johnson, who hails from Gimli, leads his club in points with 27 (11-17) in 30 games played. The runners up are 19 year old forward Drake Lindsay of the Neepawa Natives and 19 year old forward Kamerin Nault of the Winnipeg Blues.

Pointstreak CJHL Top 20 Weekly Rankings Share

CALGARY, Alberta (December 8, 2014) – Many of the CJHL’s best players are now competing in Toronto and Calgary in hopes of making the rosters of Team Canada East and Team Canada West for the upcoming World Junior ‘A’ Challenge in Kindersley, Saskatchewan. This prestigious tournament opens on December 14, but there is no break for the rest of the CJHL leagues and teams, as the regular season continues to march on. The Penticton Vees continue to roll along in the BCHL, while the Chilliwack Chiefs and Vernon Vipers are also starting to pay wel themselves in a very close and competitive league. In Alberta, the Camrose Kodiaks, Spruce Grove Saints, Brooks Bandits, and by virtue of an 8-game winning streak, the Okotoks Oilers, are starting to separate themselves from the pack in the AJHL. In Saskatchewan, the Kindersley Klippers remain in front of the Melfort Mustangs, and the Nipawin Hawks have heated up as of late as well.  The Portage Terriers ran into a small speed bump with the OCN Blizzard this past week, and lost a game in regulation for the first time since October 22! The Winnipeg Blues are only one point behind the Winkler Flyers for second place overall in the MJHL, but the Blues have two games in hand over the Flyers. The Fort Frances Lakers have a one point lead and a game in hand over the Thunder Bay North Stars in the SIJHL. In the NOJHL, the Soo Thunderbirds have remained within a single point of the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners, but still have two games in hand. The Elliot Lake Wildcats have just had a five-game winning streak snapped, but the Wildcats and the Cochrane Crunch are closing in the two NOJHL leaders. The Aurora Tigers of the OJHL have a solid lead for first place overall, but the Georgetown Raiders and Cobourg Cougars are pushing hard to make it a serious race in the OJHL. The Carleton Place Canadians and the Ottawa Jr. ‘A’ Senators continue to dominate the CCHL, with the Cornwall Colts starting to find their own consistent winning form. The Titan de Princeville are holding on to the top spot in the standings of the LHJQ, while in the MHL, the Woodstock Slammers remain atop the overall standings, and the Pictou County Weeks Crushers have also found a way to win consistently of late, as they have a hold on top spot in the Eastlink Division. Top 20 Rankings Portage Terriers (MJHL) (1) Camrose Kodiaks (AJHL) (5) Penticton Vees (BCHL) (6) Woodstock Slammers (MHL) (2) Aurora Tigers (OJHL) (4) Carleton Place Canadians (CCHL) (3) Spruce Grove Saints (AJHL) (7) Soo Thunderbirds (NOJHL) (8) Kindersley Klippers (SJHL) (9) Brooks Bandits (AJHL) (10) Melfort Mustangs (SJHL) (13) Kirkland Lake Gold Miners (NOJHL) (11) Fort Frances Lakers (SIJHL) (16) Georgetown Raiders (OJHL) (HM) Ottawa Jr. ‘A’ Senators (CCHL) (15) Okotoks Oilers (AJHL) (HM) Winnipeg Blues (MJHL) (HM) Chilliwack Chiefs (BCHL) (HM) Les Titan de Princeville (LHJQ) (19) Pictou County Weeks Crushers (MHL) (NR)               Honourable Mention: Vernon Vipers (BCHL), Nipawin Hawks (SJHL), Winkler Flyers (MJHL), Elliot Lake Wildcats (NOJHL), Cobourg Cougars (OJHL)

MJHL Power Rankings – Week 13

MJHL Power Rankings for December 8th   (32-2-1) (Last Week: 1st) – Even though they lost to the OCN Blizzard on Friday the Portage Terriers remain atop the CJHL Top 20 this week. They finished the weekend with two straight wins. Schedule this week: @ Winkler on Tuesday, vs. OCN on Friday & @ Neepawa on Sunday   (20-8-5) (Last Week: 3rd) – After being passed earlier in the weekend, the Winkler Flyers took back second spot in the MJHL Standings with a 5-3 decision over the Winnipeg Blues Sunday. The Flyers were an Honourable Mention this week on the CJHL Top 20.  Schedule this week: vs. Portage on Tuesday, vs. Dauphin on Friday & @ Steinbach on Sunday   (19-6-6) (Last Week: 2nd) – Two wins and a loss for the Winnipeg Blues over the last seven days. The Blues are a point back of the Flyers for second, with two games in hand. Winnipeg is also on the CJHL Top 20, they’re ranked 17th this week.  Schedule this week: vs. Neepawa on Tuesday, vs. OCN on Thursday & @ Virden on Friday   (18-8-4) (Last Week: 5th) – A mixed bag for the Pistons last week. A win, a loss and a shootout loss. They’re comfortably in fourth place as the week gets started.  Schedule this week: @ Selkirk on Friday, vs. Dauphin on Saturday & vs. Winkler on Sunday   (15-12-4) (Last Week: 4th) – Like this Pistons, it was a bit of a mixed bag for the Virden Oil Capitals as well. A loss to Dauphin at home on Saturday but a win Sunday against Steinbach.  Schedule this week: @ Dauphin on Tuesday, vs. Winnipeg on Friday & vs. Neepawa on Saturday   (13-14-1) (Last Week: 6th) – Just one game for the Steelers and they got the job done, beating the Winkler Flyers for their third straight win. The schedule is a bit busier this week… Schedule this week: vs. Steinbach on Friday & vs. Dauphin on Sunday   (13-14-3) (Last Week: 7th) – Two games and two wins for the Swan Valley Stampeders. They outscored their opponents 11-3 last week with victories over OCN and Neepawa.  Schedule this week: vs. Wayway on Wednesday & Saturday   (12-16-4) (Last Week: 8th) – A good week for the Dauphin Kings, they took two of three. The only drawback for them is they’ve played more games than most of the teams they’re chasing in the standings. Schedule this week: vs. Virden on Tuesday, @ Winkler on Friday, @ Steinbach on Saturday & @ Selkirk on Sunday   (11-18-2) (Last Week: 9th) – In case you missed it, OCN grabbed a big home ice win over the Portage Terriers on Friday, shutting them out 2-0. Now the Blizzard get set to spend a lot of time on the road. They’ll be the visitor in their next five contests before the Christmas break. Schedule this week: @ Winnipeg on Thursday & @ Portage on Friday   (10-20-1) (Last Week: 11th) – A crowd of 530 watched the Neepawa Natives beat the Winkler Flyers 5-3 at home on Friday. The outcome was their second straight before a loss to Swan Valley Sunday.  Schedule this week: @ Winnipeg on Tuesday, @ Virden on Saturday & vs. Portage on Sunday   (9-21-2) (Last Week: 10th) – Three losses last week for the Wolverines which brings their current losing streak, the longest in the MJHL, to five games. Schedule this week: @ Swan Valley on Wednesday & Saturday

Blues’ Keane named to Canada West

Winnipeg Blues’ forward Jackson Keane is one of 22 players named to Canada West, which will compete at the 2014 World Junior A Challenge, Dec. 14-20 at the West Central Events Centre in Kindersley, Sask. Hockey Canada made the announcement today (December 10). Keane, 17, recently attended an evaluation camp with other Junior A players from Western Canada. Also named to Canada West is former Winnipeg Blues’ Kurt Keats, who now plays in the BCJHL (Powell River). Keane, who hails from Winnipeg, currently leads the Blues’ in points with 35 (12-13) in 28 games. The roster was chosen by Canada West head coach Trent Cassan (Yorkton, SJHL) along with assistant coaches Marc Berry (Dauphin, MJHL), Tim Fragle (Sherwood Park, AJHL) and Luke Pierce (Merritt, BCHL), and director of hockey operations Andrew Boutilier following a three-day selection camp at the Markin MacPhail Centre in Calgary. Players named to the Canada West roster were selected from the CJHL’s five western Junior A leagues: the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL), Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL), Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL), Manitoba Junior Hockey League (MJHL) and Superior International Junior Hockey League (SIJHL). “There were no easy decisions for us coming out of selection camp; these 22 young men earned their spots on the Canada West roster,” said Cassan. “We’re excited to get on the road for Kindersley today and continue the proud tradition Canada West has created at the World Junior A Challenge.” The Canada West roster for the 2014 World Junior A Challenge includes: two goaltenders, seven defencemen and 13 forwards;  nine players from the AJHL, nine players from the BCHL, three players from the SJHL and one player from the MJHL;  five players returning from the 2013 World Junior A Challenge (Dombrovskiy, Gardner, Hannoun, Keats, Nixon). Canada West will play in Group B at the 2014 World Junior A Challenge, joined by Denmark and Russia, while Canada East, Switzerland and the United States will comprise Group A. CLICK HERE FOR THE 2014 WORLD JUNIOR A CHALLENGE SCHEDULE Preliminary round play will run until Tuesday, Dec. 16, with both semifinals taking place Thursday, Dec. 18. The gold medal game, which will be shown nationally on TSN/RDS, the official broadcasters of Hockey Canada, is set for Saturday, Dec. 20 (check your local listings). All preliminary round games, quarter-finals, semifinals and the bronze medal game can be seen live and free through FASTHockey webcasts at Single-game tickets for the 2014 World Junior A Challenge will go on sale at 9 a.m. CT on Sunday, Dec. 14, at the box office at the West Central Events Centre, and online at Tickets are available for preliminary round games ($15), quarter-finals ($20), semifinals ($25), the bronze medal game ($25), and gold medal game ($30). Full-tournament ticket packages, including tickets to all 13 games in Kindersley, are still available for only $225. To purchase ticket packages, please CLICK HERE. Canada West has appeared in six of the eight gold medal games at the World Junior A Challenges, winning gold in 2006 in Yorkton, Sask., 2007 in Trail, B.C., and 2011 in Langley, B.C. It settled for silver in 2008 in Camrose, Alta., 2009 in Summerside, P.E.I., and 2012 in Yarmouth, N.S., won bronze last year in Yarmouth and finished fourth in 2010 in Penticton, B.C.

Terriers’ Jeanson accepts scholarship to Colgate University

The Portage Terriers would like to announce 97 forward Tyler Jeanson has accepted a scholarship to Colgate University located in Hamilton, New York for 2016-17. The Portage Terriers are proud of Tyler’s accomplishments so far and excited about his future as a student athlete.

Steelers & MPI team up

Selkirk Steelers and Manitoba Public Insurance teamed up recently for their annual School Patrol Appreciate Night. All MJHL teams participate in this program. A total of 57 patrollers, and more than 100 family members attended the game, guests of the Steelers and Manitoba Public Insurance, which sponsors the patrol program. “It was a fantastic event,” said Steelers’ GM Dave Obirek. “All patrols were entered into to a draw for a chance at winning an MPI prize package and a Selkirk > Steelers Fan Pack prize package.” A total of five schools from the Lord Selkirk School Division schools were represented: Daerwood, Centennial, Robert Smith, Ruth Hooker and St. Andrews. “The game had a lot of energy with the vocal support of the school patrollers,” said Obirek. “It was a great atmosphere. It’s our way of thanking the school patrol members for their great efforts.”

Q & A with Chance Thomas: Dauphin Kings

Q: Your first name isn’t a common one. How did your parents come to choose your name? A: Not really much of a crazy story to it. My parents just decided they wanted something unique, so that's how they picked it. Q: Favourite NHL team? A: Detroit Red Wings Q: Favourite NHL player? A: Pavel Datsyuk Q: Any superstitions? If so……how about listing a few? A: Put my equipment on my left side first. No one touches stick before the game once taped. First player on the ice for warm ups. Q: Best thing about being a Dauphin King? A: The boys, an unreal group of guys. Q: Who’s the greatest player? Gretzky or Lemieux? Or Bobby Orr? A: I’d have to say Lemieux or Jagr, the things they could do with the puck were incredible. Q: Future greatest player? Sid The Kid? Nathan McKinnon? Connor McDavid? A: I think Sidney Crosby will still be the best. Q: Favourite songs on your IPod? A: Out of town by Eminem and Don't by Ed Sheeran Q: Favourite pre-game meal? A: Spaghetti and meat sauce Q: Excluding Dauphin, favourite rink to play in? A: Virden because it's a really bright rink and a solid fan base. Q: You a back of the bus kind of guy? Middle? A: I sit about 4 rows from the back. Q: If they made a “Chance Thomas” movie….would it be action/adventure? Comedy? Romantic? Mystery? A: Romantic Q: If they ever made a “Chance Thomas” movie……which actor would play you? A: Dave Franco Q: Who would be the leading lady in your movie? A: Blake Lively Q: Last movie you went to? A: Horrible Bosses 2 Q: If not playing hockey, what would you likely be doing? A: Playing golf Q: Ron MacLean…..miss him as NHIC host? A: Yes, he knows a great deal about the game and was fun to listen to while I was growing up. Q: Top 3 things on your bucket list? A: Travel the world … Go to an NFL game… Move somewhere hot Q: Other than hockey, any other favourite sports? A:  Golf and basketball Q: When your hockey career is over, what are your career aspirations? A: Something with either business or criminal law. Q: Best verbal jab aimed at you? (No profanity, please.) A: “You're a bag of sea shells” and “You're washed up.” Q: Best jokester on the Kings? A: Mathieu Lapointe Q: Best dresser on the Kings, excluding yourself? A: My roommate  Dylan Bredahl. Q: Biggest influence in your hockey career? A: My father, by far my biggest influence since day one. Q: Your most memorable game? A: First junior A game as a call up playing in my hometown from when I was a kid.

Oil Caps’ release Christmas video

Virden Oil Capitals have once again sent social media into a spinning frenzy with their Christmas video ─ this year being the second annual. To see the video click here. “Last year’s video had about 93,000 hits,” says Lindsey Gullet, Oil Caps’ marketing manager. “Interestingly, because of this year’s new video, its generated more hits to last year’s…..right now it’s at 96,000 hits.” This year’s video, which was released just recently, sits at 8,500 hits and growing. A number of media outlets have aired a portion of the video, while some Manitoba media types have made mention of the video via Twitter. “The success of last year’s video made it easier to do this year’s,” said Gullett. “Some of the guys were a bit hesitant to take part last year; they really had idea how it would turn out. After they saw it, they were all really pumped to do another one this year. “It’s really cool for our team and good exposure for the MJHL, too.” This year’s Christmas video also features a special cameo appearance by Oil Cap alumni Curtis Houlden, who was the leading man in last year’s effort. “We thought it would be cool to have Curtis involved again,” Gullett said of Houlden, who attends university in Winnipeg. “By having Curtis involved, it resulted in people going back and looking at last year’s video.” Gullett, an MJHL alumnus (Neepawa Natives), once again oversaw the entire production, putting to use his Communication Degree from Castleton State College in Vermont. “There’s really a lot of planning and coordination in making it a success,” says Gullett, who specialized in digital media in college. “We’re very happy with the final outcome.”

Steelers’ Sacher named Recycle Everywhere-MJHL Player of the Week

Selkirk Steelers’ goaltender Teagan Sacher has been named the Recycle Everywhere-MJHL Player of the Week. Sacher, 20, backstopped the Steelers’ to a pair of wins over the weekend, highlited with one shutout victory. The Winnipegger posted a sparkling GAA of 1.50 and .946 save percentage. The runners up are 20 year old defenseman Tanner Jago of the Portage Terriers and 17 year old Portage Terrier forward Tyler Jeanson, who recently announced he had committed to Colgate University.

MJHL Power Rankings – Week 14

MJHL Power Rankings for December 15th   (35-2-1) (Last Week: 1st) – Winners of five straight the Portage Terries outscored their opponents 22-6 in three games last week and they remain first on the CJHL Top 20. Schedule this week: @ Winnipeg on Friday & vs. Winnipeg on Saturday   (21-7-6) (Last Week: 3rd) – Two wins in three tries for the Winnipeg Blues. They finished their week off with a loss to Virden, but still have a solid 4-2-0 record in December.  Schedule this week: @ Steinbach on Wednesday, vs. Portage on Friday & @ Portage on Saturday   (20-9-4) (Last Week: 4th) – Like the Winnipeg Blues, the Steinbach Pistons also won two of three last week. That included a statement 7-1 victory against Winkler on Sunday. With lots of games in hand, the Pistons now have the Flyers in their sights when it comes to third in the MJHL Standings.  Schedule this week: vs. Winnipeg on Wednesday & vs. Winkler on Saturday   (21-10-5) (Last Week: 2nd) – A mixed weekend for the Flyers, a win in a shootout over the Kings, but a big loss to Steinbach on Sunday. With the two losses in three games last week the Flyers have also slipped out of the CJHL Top 20. Schedule this week: vs. Neepawa on Friday & @ Steinbach on Saturday   (17-13-4) (Last Week: 5th) – A tough start to the week for Virden with a loss to Dauphin but they bounced back with wins over Winnipeg and Neepawa at home.   Schedule this week: vs. OCN on Tuesday, @ Selkirk on Friday & vs. Selkirk on Saturday   (15-14-1) (Last Week: 6th) – The Selkirk Steelers are tied with the Portage Terriers when it comes to the longest active winning streak in the MJHL. They’ve also won five in a row. With games in hand on everyone in the league, the Steelers have lots of room to continue to climb the standings ladder.  Schedule this week: @ Swan Valley on Wednesday, vs. Virden on Friday & @ Virden on Saturday   (14-14-4) (Last Week: 7th) – Right in the middle of the MJHL Standings are the Swan Valley Stampeders. They split a pair of shootouts between themselves and Wayway last week. Schedule this week: vs. Selkirk on Wednesday & @ Neepawa on Saturday   (13-18-5) (Last Week: 8th) – After two straight wins the Kings have now lost three in a row after a weekend excursion to the southern part of the province. They’ll look for some good home cooking this week.  Schedule this week: vs. Neepawa on Tuesday & vs. OCN on Saturday   (11-20-2) (Last Week: 9th) – Seven points back of Dauphin for eighth in the MJHL Standings are the OCN Blizzard. After two contests on an eight game road swing the Blizzard are 0-2 and have lost three straight overall.  Schedule this week: @ Virden on Tuesday, @ Wayway on Friday & @ Dauphin on Saturday   (10-21-3) (Last Week: 11th) – Three of a possible four points against the Swan Valley Stampeders last week has the Wolverines holding down the MJHL’s final playoff spot.  Schedule this week: vs. OCN on Friday   (10-23-1) (Last Week: 10th) – With four straight losses Neepawa enters a busy week in their schedule with two contests on the road and one at home. The Natives have only won one game this month. Schedule this week: @ Dauphin on Tuesday, @ Winkler on Friday & vs. Swan Valley on Saturday

Saint alumni Hamonic making a difference

Travis Hamonic, one-time Winnipeg Saint, is one of several MJHL grads now playing the NHL.   By his own admission, growing up was difficult for him after the untimely passing of his father. Travis has now dedicated himself to making a difference in young people’s live. The Winnipeg Free Press recently published an excellent story on Travis. Click here if you’re interested in reading it.

Blues’ Keane is living the hockey dream

Describing his experience as “fantastic”, Jackson Keane is living the hockey dream, suiting up for Canada West at the World Junior A Challenge underway at Kindersley, SK. “It’s always special when you pull on the Canada maple leaf jersey,” said the Winnipeg Blues’ sophomore. “There’s a lot of highly skilled players here. All the teams are really deep (in talent) in their lineup." “The games are fast and highly competitive. It’s fun to be part of this.” Keane and teammates played a long-time arch rival of Canada on Tuesday ─ Team Russia. It was a game which the Maple Leaf crew learned a valuable language lesson. “They (Russians) were big and very skilled,” Keane said of 3-2 Canada West victory. “We tried to get under their skin verbally, but we got away from that when we kind of figured out they didn’t understand what we were saying. “We stuck to our game plan of being physical against them … taking away their time and space. It was a fun game.” Despite being pointless after two games, Keane, 17, is fully aware of the role expected of him. He’s playing on a line with former Winnipeg Blue Kurt Keats (Powell River, BCJHL) and Sheldon Rempal (Nanaimo, BCJHL). “We’ve had our chances,” Keane said with a laugh. “Hit a couple of posts, forced the play… we’re not an overly big line, but we know our job is to provide energy.” While Keane and Keats were never teammates with the Blues, they are familiar with each other, having attended St. Paul’s High School in Winnipeg. Despite having no points, Keane doesn’t need a GPS to find the net. This season with the Blues he’s produced 35 points (12-23) in 28 games. A nifty centreman, Keane has always found a way to score and contribute offensively. Meanwhile off the ice, Canada West is doing the usual team-building exercises. “We went to a school in Kindersley the other day,” said Keane. “We met a lot of the students, it was a lot of fun. We also went bowling, it was all in fun. It got pretty competitive in a fun way.” This is Keane’s second go-around with Hockey Canada, having played in the U-17 last year. “It’s always special to pull on the maple leaf,” says Keane, who inherited his hockey skills honestly, being the son of former NHLer Mike Keane.

On the ice with Kings’ Nelson

Admit it. You’ve always wanted to know what the players say out on the ice.  Well, now you’ve have a chance to listen in. Recently, a mic was placed on Kings’ forward Cody Nelson in a game against Neepawa Native; the idea was the brainchild of Christian Laughland, Sports Director with Dauphin’s CKDM. Click hear to see/listen to Cody’s shifts.

Stamps’ coaches sign extensions

The Swan Valley Stampeders have locked up their coaching staff for the foreseeable future as head coach and general manager Erik Petersen and assistant, goaltending consultant and director of marketing Landon Kroeker have signed new deals with the club. It’s something new for the Stampeders to resign a coach during the season, as they have previously resigned their coaches during the off season. “I had a two-year option, but the club renegotiated a new two-year deal with an option for a third year,” said Petersen. “So for the rest of this season and the next two I’m under contract, with an option for another year.” Petersen said staying in the Valley was the right move for him as he has a young, talented team he wants to keep developing. “My contract’s option came up on Dec. 15 so something had to happen here in December,” he said. “I really enjoy the team – it’s a younger team, but I feel it’s a pretty strong team, and I enjoy working with the guys." “I also enjoy working with Landon, he’s doing an excellent job with the sponsorship as well, and the guys really seem to respond – it’s a really fun group, and all I want if for them to be good ambassadors for the town, and work hard every game,” he added. Petersen has a record of 42-44-7 in his one and half years with the club. Kroeker, who just joined the Stampeders this season, also signed a two-year deal with an option for a third. He said he’s excited about the potential of this team. “I was excited, and this is something I wanted,” said Kroeker. “Erik and I both see the core of this team coming back for two years, and we’d like to work more with them.” As well as working with the players, Kroeker has a prominent role with the team online and in the community soliciting sponsorship, and said he’s looking forward to continuing with that aspect of the job.  “I find this town is very receptive to (sponsorship),” he said. “It’s a community-minded team, the support is really good, and everyone has been welcoming.” Locking up both coaches was an easy decision for the Stampeders organization to make. “Landon, on and off the ice, has been exceptional,” said Stampeders Governor Warren Clark. “They both have done exceptional work." “We’re the youngest team in the league right now, but we’re competitive every night, and they’re buying into what both coaches are saying,” he added. “They both understand the small market on and off the ice, and we really like what they’re doing and want them here to finish what they started.”