Looking at the roster for this year’s Slave Lake Midget ‘A’ team, two things jump out. One is that Chase Nehring won’t have the goaltending duties entirely on his shoulders. He’s done a great job the past few seasons as the sole tender for Bantam and Midget squads, but it’s a shaky situation to have no backup and this year the Midgets have two goalies on the roster. First year Midget Brady Courtorielle is the other.
“They are both challenging each other, which is great,” says assistant coach Dave LaFrance.
The other big difference from last year’s squad is the return of four kids who played ‘AA’ hockey in Whitecourt last season. Jacob Plouffe, Ethan Wedmid, Hunter Mouallem and Liam Dickson are back with the crew they had so much success with in their last year of Bantam. Those four join returnees Owen Pearson, Dominique Wapahoo, Nick Carpenter, Matt LaFrance (who missed most of last season with an injury), Jacob Sholtz, Jacob Hartman, Tyrell Barore, Kyle Campbell and William Chemago.
“It is very early but there is a bit of a buzz around this group,” says LaFrance. “They seem ready to go. Early practices have good tempo.”
And (this just in from SLMHA President Chris Taylor) – there may not, as earlier reported, be two Midget teams after all.
“Some tough decisions need to be made,” he says.
Taylor also advises that pre-season (tiering) games begin Oct. 5 for some teams and Oct. 12 for others. Regular season will start at the end of October.
The Midgets are in action this Friday, playing in Westlock at the Rotary Spirit Centre. Saturday they’re back home for a game against Barrhead at 8:15 p.m.
The following weekend they have two home games – against Athabasca on Oct. 13 and Fort McMurray on Sunday.
As for the Bantam 1 team, its roster was released last week as well. Coached by Jerod Hartman, it’ll have Jackson Morissette and Damien Vyse in goal, with skaters Ethan Baril, Kristopher Courtorielle, Cole de Champlain, Herman Derksen, Cohen Foster, Christian Giroux, Nathan Hartman, Mitchell Laboucan and Noah Plouffe.
Keep your eyes on the guy with the puck, says Bantam coach Jerod Hartman.