Story by Dave Anthony
Players have made their way to town, camps haven begun and coaches are optimistic with sights set high, it’s time to start the new season!
We asked each head coach a number of questions as they prepare for the season and here’s what they had to say.
OCN Blizzard – 2020/21 (1-4-1)
Top scorers: Aiden Litke (4g, 4ast for 8pts), Trent Crane (3g, 4ast for 7 pts)
Key graduating players: David Queree, Cole Haukaus, Ben Hilhorst
Season outlook: Like with every team in the MJHL, it’s hard to know exactly what kind of team will hit the ice or what kind of players will return or standout. OCN’s owners are committed to winning and will expect a step up this year. Veteran coach Billy Keane is building a foundation of culture that will help shape the franchise and what fans hope will be a return to the top of the league year after year.
Q & A with Blizzard Head Coach & General Manager, Billy Keane
Question: Which team are you most looking forward to developing/continuing a rivalry with?
Answer: All Divisional Games will be really important games because the playoff format allows for only 4 teams from each division.
Q: What kind of team can fans expect?
A: Our team will a hard working group, disciplined, up tempo, physical and expect contributions from everyone in all those aspects of our game.
Q: Which returning player should fans be really excited to see?
A: We have 15 returning players from last years team plus 5 Junior “A“ experienced players in our line-up to start the year, so that’s exciting. Returning leaders include Captain Bryden Sinclair (D-01), Asst. Captains Cyrus Toth (D-01), Riley Zimmerman (C/LW-02), and Levi Thiessen (RW-02).
Q: Is there a new player that fans will come to love?
A: Exciting Freshman to watch will include Brett Tataryn (C-03), Isiah Kinnavathong (D-04), Brayden Know (LW-04) and Ashton Paul (RW-04).
Q: What are you most looking forward to about this upcoming season?
A: I love the new schedule format that the MJHL has taken. It is primarily a “College Hockey” schedule where we practice Monday-Thursdays twice a day and play games either Friday, Saturday or Sunday. This schedule really provide the players with lots of development opportunities throughout the week and showcase themselves every weekend.
I am getting a sense there is a real “buzz” in the Tri-Community, and not just the wasps, but the fans are really looking forward to getting back into the rink to watch some fantastic MJHL hockey. I can’t wait to get going either!!
Q: Which visiting arena are you most looking forward to playing in again?
A: The MJHL facilities are all outstanding so I look forward to playing in all of them.
Q: On the road, which restaurant are you most looking forward to eating at for pre or post game meal?
A: Why Not Johnny’s in Swan is outstanding!
Q: What movie do you hope the team puts on for a long bus ride home after a big win?
A: SlapShot, Independence Day, Armageddon, Happy Gilmore, and the Dirty Dozen are great ones.
Q: Do you have your first game suit all picked out already? What color will it be? What color is the tie? Shoes?
A: I have my Game Day outfit all set. I am a “vest” fan over my dress shirt and tie because it gets cold in a lot of our MJHL rinks. Black pants, dress shoes are staples with my outfits.