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Wayway’s Keena remains optimistic

The Waywayseecappo Wolverines are in the midst of a tough season. They’re a hard-working team – as most teams under head coach Barry Butler are – but they Wolverines remain far off the pace of the upper echelon teams in the league.

Still, there are bright spots on this year’s team. Early December saw the Wolverines claw their way closer to the pack thanks to collecting points in four of six games, while also putting some more distance between themselves and the Neepawa Natives for the final playoff spot in the league.

And helping them in their push to remain a playoff team is 20-year-old forward Alex Keena. He’s already equalled his point total from a year ago, and with half a season or so remaining, he’s poised to post his best season as a junior hockey player.

“A lot of what I’m able to do is because of the team,” said Keena, who had seven goals and 13 assists after 29 games. “I believe in every guy in the room, and the mix of guys we have can be very successful if we play our game.”

Hailing from Winnipeg and playing in Waywayseecappo (located close to Russell) was something Keena had to adjust to three years ago, but one he quickly embraced.

“I love it here,” he said. “It’s definitely different playing in a smaller town, rather than living close to the city. It’s quite a change, and I’ve enjoyed my time here.”

The improved point totals for Keena this year are due, in part, to both confidence in the offensive zone and adjusting his game to the pace of the MJHL.

“I was hoping, especially in my second year, to have a better season here,” he said. “I had rough start (last year) learning to juggle a few things, but this year I’m learning how to handle it better, and it’s helping my game out.”

And Keena credits the recent improved stretch by the Wolverines to a rededicated commitment to the team game.

“We’re really bearing down in all areas of the ice, getting pucks through to the net, and doing the little things correctly, and being accountable for what you are doing,” he said.

Building off his start this season, Keena said he hopes to put together some numbers and video that will help not only his team this year, but himself personally down the road.

“I’d like to win another playoff series here in Wayway, and see where it takes you – you never know what’s going to happen in the playoffs,” he said. “And personally, I’d like to go to school, and if I can play hockey doing it, that’s just a bonus.”