Story by Dave Anthony
Players have made their way to town, exhibition games have been completed and 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!
Portage Terriers: 2020/21 (4-3-0-1)
Leading scorers: Rhys Raeside (3g, 4ast for 7pts), Parker Johnson (4g, 2ast for 6pts)
Key graduating players: Peyton Gorski, Tyson McLean, Reece Henry
Season outlook: It’s hard to believe it’s been since the 2018-19 season that the MJHL has awarded a champion. Reece Henry scored the overtime winner in game seven against the Stampeders to lift the Terriers to yet another Turnbull Cup championship in front of a sold out crowd in Portage. The Terriers will be a young team this season and should expect some growing pains but if the past has taught us anything you can never count out the Terriers, especially since they are in line to host the National Championship in 2022-23.
Q & A with Terriers Head Coach & General Manager, Blake Spiller
Question: Which team are you most looking forward to developing/continuing a rivalry with?
Answer: With the format and playing each team in division 8 times I am sure there will be some rivalries develop.
Q: What kind of team can fans expect?
A: With so many new faces it’s really difficult to say at this time. We will be a younger team than normal and our players are excited to be back playing so hopefully we will bring a lot of energy to the rink.
Q: Which returning player should fans be really excited to see?
A: The fans didn’t get the opportunity to see anyone much last year so I think they will be excited to see them all back playing.
Q: Is there a new player that fans will come to love?
A: Jaden Pashe – He’s not new to the league but returning home for his final season of junior hockey. His family and friends are excited to watch him in a Terrier uniform.
Q: What are you most looking forward to about this upcoming season?
A: Being around our staff, players and all the fans. We have all missed the game of hockey.
Q: Which visiting arena are you most looking forward to playing in again?
A: The MJHL has a lot of rinks with their own characteristics so they each bring their own challenges. We’ve played a number of important games in Steinbach over the years.
Q: On the road, which restaurant are you most looking forward to eating at for pre or post game meal?
A: Post game – Benny’s Pizza in Shoal Lake.
Q: What movie do you hope the team puts on for a long bus ride home after a big win?
A: Players normally have their own devices on the bus.
Q: Do you have your first game suit all picked out already? What color will it be? What color is the tie? Shoes?
A: Haven’t thought that far ahead yet.