Icemen Ready to Hit the Ice in Style

Wetaskiwin to debut third jerseys in CJHL home opener Sunday against Beaumont

Mike MacDonald sports the brand new Icemen Jersey.

 “It’s going to be a big rivalry weekend for us boys,” stressed Wetaskiwin Icemen head coach Rick Gregory while addressing his players at the start of Monday’s practice. “Friday in Leduc and Sunday against Beaumont here in front of our fans.”
 Indeed, the Capital Junior Hockey League schedule-makers certainly knew what they were doing when they planned out the 2011-12 season, which officially got underway this past Friday and continues until Feb. 12. The league’s 14 teams will play 266 games during that time, with each team playing a 38-game schedule.
 The Icemen will open the season Friday in Leduc at 7:45 p.m. at the Leduc Recreation Centre, and will host their home opener at the Wetaskiwin Civic Centre Sunday at 6:45 p.m.
 It will be a big night for the Icemen, who will unveil third jerseys to commemorate their 20th season in the Capital Junior Hockey League.
 Considering Wetaskiwin has developed a heated rivalry with the Schwab Riggers, and took the defending league champion Chiefs to overtime in a fifth and deciding game in last year’s quarterfinal playoff series, weekend games are sure to provide a great deal of entertainment for local hockey fans.
 It was the first time in five years that the Icemen qualified for the playoffs. The 30-point improvement should have garnered head coach Rick Gregory the coach of the year honours.
 That didn’t happen. However, considering last season’s success on the ice and at the gate, Gregory is more concerned with leading his team deeper into the playoffs, and challenging for a league championship, something the Icemen would not have thought possible a couple of seasons ago.
 “This year we have a nice mix of new and old. We have brought in several first year rookies, however, we have also brought in some valuable experience as well, including two players that have won junior B Western Canadian titles in the last two years - Corey Dupre in 2010 with the Tri-Town Thunder and Kevin Liner in 2011 with Blackfalds,” said Gregory, who will also count on leadership from returning veterans. “On the leadership side of things, we have several 21 year olds that will lead the way in that regard, such as Zack Pezderic, Michael MacDonald, Travis Gano and Mick Bronson.
 “That said, I've noticed that all returning players have taken some ownership over certain aspects of the team and we're trying to create an environment where its leadership by committee. The core of our team is our crop of '92s and they will be relied upon to lead by example both on and off the ice as well.”
 Gregory had 24 players at camp Monday, including three goaltenders. Veteran Brandon Wark is injured and did not participate in the workout.
 “We've lost our two top scorers from last year in Ryley Bennefield, who is still with the Portland Winterhawks of the WHL, and Brian MacDonald, who is with NAIT of the ACAC. That said, incoming rookie Dylan Weaver coming to us from Midget AAA in Leduc should offer some help offensively as well as an incoming 20 year old, DJ Bennefield (Ryley's older brother). DJ scored eight goals in the three games last weekend and we're confident that trend will continue into the season. We also return our entire top line from last year with Gano, MacDonald and Michael Chorneyko, so we're hoping they'll continue where they left off,” said Gregory, who does have some question marks heading into the season. “Goaltending is a bit of wildcard right now. Losing Marcus Johnson means we have an open spot to fill and a big role at that. Quinton Bell is returning between the pipes and is presently battling it out with three other goalies to take the net. Ryan Fairgray, Michael Gudmandson and Garrett Montour are all in the running to snatch up one the goaltending positions.”
 While Gregory is blessed with 10 returning players, he also has a group of experienced veterans who have joined the Icemen from other teams, and also some young rookies who are expected to make an impact in the CJHL in their first season.
 “Incoming players that will make the most impact include Kevin Liner, who played parts of last season on the Olds Grizzlies. He should anchor our blueline along with another strong defenseman out of Slave Lake, Colter Tkach. Up front, Bennefield should add some serious scoring punch, and we're expecting big things from Dylan Weaver as well. Corey Dupre, another 20 year old import new to the team, will add speed, enthusiasm and some scoring as well,” said Gregory. “We also have several rookies that will try to find their way in their first year of junior hockey, such as local products Dallas Graham and Brett Halter.”
 The Icemen have a special event planned for Sunday with a promotion called Drive One 4UR Community. Brentridge Ford will have many vehicles available to test drive Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Wetaskiwin Civic Centre. Ford will donate $20 from every test drive to support Junior B hockey in Wetaskiwin. People who sign up for a test drive will get a free hot dog and free ticket to Sunday’s home opener.
Icemen go unbeaten on southern road trip
 While many CJHL teams opened the regular season this past weekend, the Icemen took part in a tournament in Medicine Hat. Wetaskiwin beat Cypress (Maple Creek, SK) 8-4, scored a 9-2 win over Medicine Hat, and settled for a 4-4 tie with Coaldale after leading that game 4-0.
Gregory liked what he saw from the team.
  “Over the three-game span, we showed a propensity to score goals both even strength and on special teams. In the 8-4 win over Cypress, we scored four shorthanded goals, and in the game versus Medicine Hat, we scored five power play goals,” said Gregory. “We're hoping that will be a sign of things to come on special teams.”
Leduc drops opener
 The Schwab Riggers opened the CJHL season this past Sunday with a 5-2 loss in Morinville.
Beaumont opens season with win
 The Chiefs were victorious in their first game of the season. Beaumont, out to defend its league championship of a year ago, doubled up the Bruins 4-2 at Strathcona.

More Stories:
  • Comics — February 26, 2015
  • Ma-Me-O Legion Continues Tradition Of Generosity: $2000 for Wetaskiwin Hospital The Wetaskiwin Hospital and Care Centre has gained a much deserved reputation, a healthcare facility that provides residents with the comfort of knowing top notch healthcare services are readily available in this community. ...
  • Healthy Parent-Child Relationships I am not the perfect mom. I fall short at certain moments, every single day. Often times, especially these days with my progressing pregnancy, I am just too tired and run out of patience. Being a parent is not easy. Kids ...
  • Family Day, A Great Idea Since 1989 On February 16th, 2015, By-the-Lake Park in Wetaskiwin was a flurry of activity (and snow) as happy families and friends participated in the annual Family Day celebration hosted by the Rotary Club and Catholic Social Services, ...
  • Family Day At Gateway Church In several Canadian provinces, Family Day is a statutory holiday occurring on a Monday in February. Two-thirds of Canadians live in a province that observes this holiday. Except in British Columbia, Family Day coincides with ...
  • Pigeon Lake Sled Dog Classic Pigeon Lake’s annual dog sled races were held last weekend at the Appelman Farm. When the races started in 2007 it was on Pigeon Lake but the lake didn’t provide a challenge to dogs or mushers because of the flat terrain ...
  • Coal Lake Lighthorse 4-H Hello everyone! It’s been an awesome start to 2015 with a number of activities for the Coal Lake Lighthorse 4H club! To start things off we had our club meeting on January 5, 2015. Here we discussed details for the upcoming ...
  • Team Alberta Participating In Canada Games Submitted by Alberta Sport Connection Team Alberta, including athletes, coaches, managers and mission staff, are currently representing Alberta at the 2015 Canada Winter Games running from February 13 – March 1, 2015 in Prince ...
  • High School Basketball In Full Swing This past week all of Leduc's high school basketball teams were in action and many of their games were key in determining the balance of their season. The Christ the King (CTK) boys’ team, playing in the Junior Division had ...
  • Leduc 4-H Beef Club For the Leduc 4-H Beef Club, January proved to be an eventful month and was filled with preparing for Public Speaking and the beginning of a new year. Our monthly meeting was held on January 12th at Eidick’s and we discussed ...
  • Shamburger Champ Leduc resident Austin Johannesen was one of the participants in Shamrock Burgers annual Monster Sham Eating Contest. Johannesen tied with Leduc resident Anthony Lange for second place, each walking away with $100 Feb. 7. ...
  • Leduc’s Overpass Progress Leduc’s overpasses will be back under construction once the snow melts. Leduc-Beaumont MLA George Rogers told City of Leduc councillors Feb. 9 that the rehabilitation of the 50 St. “flyover” took much longer than anticipated ...
  • Firefighters Complete Rooftop Fundraiser Leduc firefighters Tamara Osmak, Mindy Smith, Amber Gall and Kathy Massey braved the cold temperatures on the roof of the Leduc fire hall February 10th - 13th to raise money and awareness for Muscular Dystrophy. Photo by ...
  • Alberta Youth 1st Canadian in Extreme Mustang Makeover Started by the Mustang Heritage Foundation to encourage adoption of American wild horses that have been captured and are in BLM (Bureau of Land Management) corrals and long term holding facilities. The Extreme Mustang Makeover ...
  • Happy Anniversary, Leduc #1 On February 13, 1947 (68 years ago) an epic oil discovery in the Leduc region of Central Alberta changed the economic landscape of the entire province and created a booming economy for generations to come. On this day each ...
  • Millet Storm Atom Tournament The Millet Atom Storm opened their home tournament with a win against Beaumont and kept going hard all weekend until they had gold hung around their necks. The Storm played host to Tier 4 and 5 teams from Calgary, St. Albert, ...
  • Wetaskiwin Sports Hall Of Fame Inductees 2015: Ken Nelson - Athlete Builder Ken Nelson is being inducted into the Wetaskiwin and County Sports Hall of Fame for his achievements in and contributions to the sport of waterskiing in Alberta and Canada. Growing up on a farm near Wetaskiwin, waterskiing ...
  • Comics — February 19, 2015
  • Wetaskiwin Sports Hall Of Fame Inductees 2015: David Biever Dave has always been a sports enthusiast and has played hockey his whole life but it wasn’t until he was 19 and had moved to Alder Flats that he took up outriding. Dave was on the chuckwagon circuit for the next 25 years ...
  • Enbridge Awards New Sarepta Firefighters With $10,000 Grant Leduc County, Alberta – The New Sarepta District Fire Station is better equipped to respond to emergencies with its new life-saving rescue equipment, made possible with a $10,000 Safe Community grant from Enbridge. The New ...




 
  • Leduc Radio Ad
  • Industrial Netmedia
  • Industrial Netmedia
  • Industrial Netmedia