Defense will be key as the Flyers begin their 37th season in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League. With one returning goaltender, four returning defensemen and eight forwards eligible to come back for another season, the Orange and Black are looking ahead to what should be another exciting year.
Finishing the 2015-2016 regular season with the third best record in the MJHL (42-13-5), the Flyers were one win away from advancing to the league final before seeing their post-season come to an end this past April.
Winkler scored the second most goals in the league last year (260), and allowed the fourth fewest (153). Home ice advantage was also key for the Flyers last season, losing only five regular season games in regulation at home.
Former MJHL and CJHL Most Valuable Player, Tristan Keck has graduated from Junior Hockey after four seasons with the Flyers, and is now suiting up for the University of Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks (NCAA Div I). With Keck and his right hand man Cam Whyte moving on, the offensive baton will now be passed to 20 year old Scott Gall, who is coming off a 34 goal campaign as a 19 year old. This will be the Morden native’s fourth season with the club. Coltyn Bates, Nico Labossiere, Braden Billaney, Nolan McGuire, Jeff Michiels, Jason Cohan and Dionne Demke will also see their roles expand.
The defensive side of the ice appears to be in good hands with four key players back. Captain Connor Hamonic and Assistant Captain Lawson McDonald are both back for their fourth seasons on the Flyers’ blueline. And Tyler Jubenvill and Mitch Dyck will also try to build on their impressive rookie campaigns.
Twenty year old Goaltender Connor Slipp is back after putting up some impressive numbers a season ago. After being picked up in a trade with the Flin Flon Bombers, the Calgary native posted an 18-5 record with two shutouts, a 2.26 GAA and a .922 SV%.
Flyers Head Coach and General Manager Ken Pearson signed and acquired a number of players during the offseason that should make the fight for roster spots quite exciting over the next few weeks.
Starting today (Wednesday, Aug 31st), the Flyers will have three days of training camp, which will consist of one day of practices and two days of scrimmages. The Alumni Cup, Final 40 Intra-squad game will be played on Saturday, September 3rd at noon at the Winkler Recreation Complex. The camp and the intra-squad game are free of charge.
Winkler Flyers 2016 Main Camp Schedule
Wednesday, August 31st:
3:00 PM Team Orange Registration
4:00 PM Team Orange Practice
4:00 PM Team White Registration
5:00 PM Team White Practice
5:00 PM Team Black Registration
6:00 PM Team Black Practice
6:00 PM Team Grey Registration
7:00 PM Team Grey Practice
Thursday, September 1st:
10:00 AM Team Orange vs Team White
12:00 PM Team Black vs Team Grey
4:00 PM Team White vs Team Black
6:00 PM Team Orange vs Team Grey
Friday, September 2nd:
9:00 AM Team White vs Team Grey
12:00 PM Team Black vs Team Orange
Saturday, September 3rd:
12:00 Alumni Cup Final 40 Game.
*NOTE: All preliminary games are 2 x 30 minute periods with a flood between periods. Player cut down will take place on Friday. Players moving to the Alumni Cup game will be told at cut down meeting.
*Schedule is subject to change.