Story by Dave Anthony
Players have made their way to town, exhibition games have 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.
Winnipeg Freeze – 2020/21 (0-4-1)
Leading scorers: Matthew Carlson (2g), Brock MacDonald (2g)
Key graduating players: Evan Kaufman, Nick Trudel, Kurtis Luke
Season outlook: There are few guarantees in the game of hockey but one super safe bet is the Freeze will get their first win as a franchise in 2021-22. Not a huge leap considering the assembly of young, hungry talent that’s been put together. Opposing teams will see a scrappy bunch who will learn what makes them successful as the season goes on. It may be tough to score at times but if the Freeze can learn to go through the highs and lows of a full MJHL season together, regardless of their record and stay together throughout the year, it will be a success.
Q & A with Freeze Head Coach & General Manager, Harry Mahesh
Questio: Which team are you most looking forward to developing/continuing a rivalry with?
A: I think the Blues will be a natural rivalry for us, with the team only playing 2 teams last season the options are pretty wide open to create a rivalry. You’re only one game away from developing one in this league.
Q: What kind of team can fans expect?
A: The type of team fans can expect is a balanced team with a lot of grit and hard work, I think our speed and compete are going to be the factors that help us the most this season. We have a younger team that is determined to make a mark on the league.
Q: Which returning player should fans be really excited to see?
A: Returning players, fans will love to see will be Nathan Driver who will be a key factor in the teams offence this season. Presley Lester who will be the teams goalie and will also be the backbone of the team playing behind a young D core.
Q: Is there a new player that fans will come to love?
A: New players fans will enjoy watching will be Sequoia Swan who will be an instant fan favourite with the grit he brings on the ice. Also Matthew Yakubowski who will be a staple on the blueline.
Q: What are you most looking forward to about this upcoming season?
A: The thing I’m looking the most forward to is getting back to the ice after such a long layoff. We are going to be in a new rink and I think the support from the St.Vital area will be great. I think these players are really eager to get things going. You’re going to see a very determined mindset in the guy’s when the season gets started. Players know they lost a lot of development time and will be doing all they can to make it up.
Q: Which visiting arena are you most looking forward to playing in again?
A: I spent 3 seasons in Winkler and was there last season so I’m obviously looking forward to going there and seeing some old friends. As a player I seemed to have success in Selkirk so that’ll be fun too.
Q: On the road, which restaurant are you most looking forward to eating at for pre or post game meal?
A: As a coach you make the mistake of getting in the same eating habits as the players but you don’t get to be able to go on the ice and burn it off. BP seems to be a staple I tend to look forward to after games.
Q: What movie do you hope the team puts on for a long bus ride home after a big win?
A: Nowadays there are no movies on the bus. The guys all have their own devices. I’m a big sports podcast guy so I’ll spend most bus rides with my headphones not talking to anyone.
Q: Do you have your first game suit all picked out already? What color will it be? What color is the tie? Shoes?
A: As for the suit I plan on wearing I can honestly say there has been so much work preparing for the season. I’m just happy I remembered to pack them with me when I moved out here. I just hope whatever I decide to wear that day has been washed since last season. It’s been a while since the need to wear a suit. If it still fits, I’ll be happy.