Dauphin, Canada

Fork River's Andrew Bayduza is getting all set for his final season of junior hockey as a part of the Stonewall Jets of the MMJHL.

Bayduza started with the Jets in the 2015-2016 season, and since then, the defensemen's played in 131 games and has picked up 50 points.

"It's definitely been a lot of fun so far," said Bayduza. "It's a really competitive league, and I've been loving every minute of it."

Before his time with the Jets, the 21-year-old grew up and played hockey right here in the Parkland.

From the 2012-13 season to the 2014-15 season, Andrew suited up for the AAA Rangers 115 times and recorded 27 points. During that time, Bayduza learned the skills required to have success at the next level, and that level is the MMJHL.

"Doug Hedley was an unbelievable coach there," said Bayduza. "It was such a smooth transition from minor hockey to AAA and now to junior hockey. Playing for the Rangers helped me immensely."

And now 131 games later, Bayduza's will get one more chance to win a league championship, something he accomplished in his first year with the team.

"I've seen progress each year I've played here, so I'm hoping I can produce and have another great year," said Bayduza. "I'm not much of a point getter, but whatever I can do to help the team I will."

On top of his personal development throughout the years, the Jets in all have enjoyed lots of success. After winning the championship in his first year, the team finished in second place in the regular season in the 2016-17 year and fourth in the 2017-18 campaign. But, Bayduza knows the team has a big challenge ahead of them this season.

"We're losing some pretty big scorers from last season," said Bayduza. "But, our d-core is looking really good early on and despite losing some scorers, we have some other guys that will be able to step in. I think overall we're going to have a pretty promising season."

"We as a team definitely have a goal of getting home ice for the first round of the playoffs," said Bayduza. "I'm a veteran on the team so I'm just hoping to be a leader out there."

What's Andrew's favourite moment during his time with the Jets? It's really a no-brainer.

"It's been an unbelievable three years playing with this team," added Bayduza. "In the first round we were down 3-1 and we came back and won. Then, we swept our second round and did the same in the finals. There was like 900 people in that arena when we won in Stonewall and it can't really hold anymore. That felt pretty amazing."

Bayduza and the Jets play their first preseason game on September 14.

The journey to the start of the regular season is well underway for the Parkland Midget Rangers.

After training camp in late August and several practices since the Rangers still, have lots of extra players on their roster as they look to trim that down leading into late this month.

"We'll have a few more players back by early next week so that'll allow us to see a few more players," said Arnie Caplan, Head Coach. "After we play Yorkton next week, the plan is to drop our numbers a little bit more. That will give us a more workable number heading into the preseason tournament in Souris."

Earlier this week, the Rangers played their first preseason game against Yorkton and fell in that game 5-1. The team then hit the ice yesterday for a practice which welcomed a few new players from the Norman region. With just over 20 days until the Rangers play their home opener, Arnie sees lots of room for improvement.

"I don't think you can ever be pleased," said Caplan. "In this region, the success rate has been low as far as having a winning percentage. It's not easy because we're dealing with numbers. We're always looking at ways to improve this hockey club. I think there's a long way to go, and a lot of work to be done."

Despite losing that game earlier this week 5-1, Arnie definitely does see some bright spots as the team progresses through the preseason.

"Based on what I've seen, we're definitely capable of having a very good goaltending tandem," added Caplan. "I also think we have the capabilities of having a strong defensive core. Offensively, I don't think we have too many natural scorers, but we do have some gritty hardworking players."

Whenever the team hits the ice, Arnie urges the players to do a couple things as they look to crack the main roster.

"I want all of the players to bring to the table what they do best," said Caplan. "If they specialize in being a checker, they need to do that very well. And, of course, the compete level. It has to be there for 60 minutes each time out."

The Rangers hit the ice on Wednesday in game action when they welcome the Yorkton Rawtec Maulers to Credit Union Place. Puck drop is set for 7:30.

In some breaking news out of Swan River earlier today, Taurean White has stepped down as the Head Coach and General Manager.

White spent one season with the team last year and led the team to the playoffs.

"It's extremely hard definitely," said Pat Morden, Stamps President. "It's not making things easy but I think we're up to the challenge. We have a good group here on the board, and we've been through this before."

"Not necessarily at this time of the season, but we're confident we'll get through it," added Morden. 

Assistant Coach Darren Webster has taken over as the team's HC/GM in the meantime, while the team looks for a replacement.

Webster has been with the organization for several years as an assistant coach and scout.

"We're confident with Darren's abilities," said Morden. "We don't expect him to have any issues stepping right in and taking over in the meantime."

The Stampeders are back in action tonight as they take in Flin Flon at the Whitney Forum.

The Dauphin Kings continue to truck along on the ice as they prepare for their 51st season.

The team's training camp began last Thursday and wrapped up over the weekend. After that, the Kings played two preseason games against Swan Valley and split those games.

"I'm definitely very happy coming out of camp and now into the preseason," said Topinka. "I think our compete level has been very good for a week. We'll get back on the ice today and do some battle drills to get the guys going."

"We played well for the most part in that first game," said Topinka. "Then, we struggled in the first two periods against Swan in the rematch. But, I couldn't be any happier with how we played in the third period."

With the Kings being on the ice an extensive amount in the last week, fatigue is always a big question but Topinka feels it's all good.

"I mean there's a couple guys that have been on the ice every day sometimes twice a day for a week," said Topinka. "They got the day off yesterday, and they trained all summer to make sure they would be ready for this. It's not an easy thing for the players, but they've worked through it."

Now the Kings are preparing for their third preseason game this Saturday when they welcome the Virden Oil Capitals to town. After that game, the Kings will continue to trim their roster down which will eventually lead to the team's opening day roster in 16 days. 

"The hardest job is to cut guys who have been here working really hard for over a week," added Topinka. "The players are starting to get that chemistry with different guys and then we have to cut them, it's definitely not an easy process."

"At the same time, we're trying to build the best team we possibly can," he added. "We want to bring the winning expectation back to town."

The Kings featured several veterans from last year's team that came to camp including Riley Shamray, Jaymes Knee, Brennan Kitchen and many more. But, even the new guys who weren't on the team last year are gelling well right now as they look to crack the roster.

"I mean it definitely helps when you have a bunch of guys coming back from last year's team," added Topinka. "Everyones doing things together and they really push each other on the ice. We're so early in the year and it's great to see everyone's forming together as a team."

As for Mitch on a personal basis, he was hired back on August 13. After moving to town a week later, Mitch has nothing but good things to say as he adapts to the City of Sunshine and being the team's assistant coach.

"I'm loving it so far," said Topinka. "It's a great organization and obviously one of the oldest ones around. It's an honour to be a part of it."

"The facilities are just top notch with everything that's offered," he added. "The community is great, and I'm just loving everything."

School has started and that means the high school volleyball season is right around the corner, and for the Dauphin Clippers varsity girls team, that corner is so very close.

The team is set to head to Regina tomorrow for the U of R Tournament which gets underway tomorrow afternoon at the campus.

"I'm definitely really excited to be working with this group," said Jeremy Love, Head Coach. "I took last year off so this is a group I haven't worked with before. So, it's always exciting to work with a new group of individuals. And, this is a group that has a lot of talent that has lots of potential and I think we can do well in provincials."

Jeremy announced the team's final roster this past Monday after an invitational only tryout process. Despite only having a couple of team practices under their belt heading into the tournament, Jeremy doesn't see that really as a problem.

"Everyone, for the most part, is in the same boat," said Love. "It's a very early tournament but it really allows us to evaluate our team and see where we are. It's a great stepping stone for sure."

"I wouldn't say I'm overly concerned with the results this weekend," he added. "I would think that we should finish in the top-8. Once the playoff portion of the tournament comes around, it'll allow me to trim down the bench and play our best roster out there"

"It would be great to win the tournament," said Love. "But, it's just about evaluating our players and seeing how we can move forward."

On top of playing in the tournament, Jeremy and the ladies are excited just to get the chance to travel together and of course miss a little bit of school

"Everyone's really excited about this weekend," added Love. "It's going to be a fun one."

Stay tuned to us to find out how the Clippers do.

The Parkland Midget Rangers kicked off their preseason against Yorkton tonight with a 5-1 loss.

Yorkton opened up the scoring 15:30 into the game, but the Rangers were able to quickly respond. 

At the 17:39 mark, Gilbert Plains Warren Jubenvill tied up the game as the two teams went into the locker room tied at one. 

From there, it was all Yorkton. They scored three goals in the second and another in the third for the decisive win. 

The two teams will now hook up for a rematch next Wednesday at Credit Union Place.

Photo Credit - Luke Walters.

The Parkland Minor Hockey Association is getting all set up to host their annual Female Hockey Preseason Skills Camp at Credit Union Place.

It starts up this Saturday and runs every Saturday and Sunday through October 7.

There will be two age groups and they're as followed:

Atom & Peewee - $100 which includes 10 - 60 minute ice sessions.

Bantam & Midget - $100 which includes 10 - 60 minute ice sessions. 

"This camp allows female players to get together and learn the specific skills of skating and puck handling," said Phil Fafard, Head Coach of the Women Bantam AAA Rangers. "We also focus on individual skill development in preparation for the hockey season."

Even if you don't register before the first session, you can register at any time or just drop in. The cost to drop in is $20.

Here's the full schedule:

Date              Skill Focus             Start Times

9/8/2018       Puck Skills              9:00 AM (younger group) - 10:00 AM (older group)

9/9/2018       Skating Skills          12:15 PM (younger group) - 1:00 PM (older group) (45 min sessions)

9/15/2018     Skating Skills          3:45 PM (younger group) 5:00 PM (older group) (session is 1.25 hours because September 9 is shorter)

9/16/2018     Puck Skills              9:30 AM (younger group) - 10:30 AM (older group)

9/22/2018     Puck Skills             10:00 AM (younger group) - 11:00 AM (older group)

9/23/2018     Skating Skills         10:00 AM (younger group) - 11:00 AM (older group) 

9/29/2018     Skating Skills         10:00 AM (younger group) - 11:00 AM (older group)

9/30/2018     Skating Skills         10:00 AM (younger group) - 11:00 AM (older group) 

10/6/2018     Puck Skills             10:00 AM (younger group) - 11:00 AM (older group)

10/7/2018     Puck Skills             10:00 AM (younger group) - 11:00 AM (older group)

He started his junior hockey career right here in Dauphin last season with the Kings. He then moved on to the Waywayseecappo Wolverines to end last season and now he's set for a fresh start with a new team this season.

That's the route Winnipeg's John Jebamani has taken as he lands in Swan River getting to suit up for the Stampeders.

"It definitely means a lot to get the chance to play with Swan Valley this season," said Jebamani after training camp. "I've heard a lot of great things about this organization and I've played against them before."

"It's a good feeling to get a fresh start here," he added. "And, I'm looking forward to the season for sure."

Last season the Stamps made the playoffs, but, the postseason didn't last overly long for the team as they were eliminated in four games in their opening series against the Steinbach Pistons. 

After that series, the Stamps graduated several players which include Duck Bay's Daniel Chartrand and their top offensive threat in Keaton Jameson. Despite losing those players offensively, Jebamani is still confident in the team's abilities. 

"We're a pretty young team but we definitely have quite a bit of speed," said Jebamani. "If we want to have success, we definitely have to use that to our advantage at all times."

Defensively the Stamps lost one of their top defenders from last year in Daylin Smallchild who is now overseas playing pro hockey in Germany.

"That's a tough loss for sure because Daylin was a good player," said Jebamani. "Personally, I'm just going to bring a lot of aggressiveness and I'm a defensive defencemen so my plan is to just lockdown other players. I need to make a quick first pass and we'll go from there."

After a preseason win last night the Stampeders are continuing their road to the regular season which begins in just 16 days in OCN against the Blizzard. In the meantime, Jebamani knows it's just important for the team to mesh as much as possible.

"The biggest thing is just talking with my teammates, getting to know them and just building chemistry," added Jebamani. "I think the more communication we have between each other the better."

After playing in front of a supportive crowd here in Dauphin at Credit Union Place and in Waywayseecappo, Jebamani is excited to once again play his home games in the Parkland.

"All the fans are really supportive and I can already see that," added Jebamani. "I'll just be walking around town and people strike up conversations. It's super welcoming and it's great."

Swan Valley continues their preseason tomorrow when they head to Flin Flon to take on the SJHL's Bombers.

The Dauphin Kings jumped out to a big lead yesterday and won, tonight Swan Valley jumped out to an even bigger lead and won.

The Stamps scored three goals in the first period and followed that up with two in the second to lead 5-0 after 40.

Hometown boy Carter Cockburn made a big impact in his first game with the Stampeders this season scoring two of the five goals. 

Rylan Gudnason, Cory King, and Joel Delorme all added one each.

But, in the third period the Kings came out with a different effort as Alex Cattani and Leeam Tivers got the team back into it with a goal apiece and only 1:44 had elapsed. 

No more goals were scored until the 15:52 mark when Grandview's Taron Topham scored and picked up his second point in as many games for the team. 

With four seconds left Tivers scored again for Dauphin, but it was too little too late as the Stamps won their preseason home opener, 5-4.

Dauphin will now get a couple days off before they return to the ice on Saturday at Credit Union Place against the Virden Oil Capitals.

Photo Credit - Dauphin Kings.

He spent the weekend in Winnipeg getting the chance to play the game he loves with his friends.

Dauphin's Easton Odut did that and so much more. Playing in the Manitoba AAA Hawks 3 on 3 tournament with and against some of his friends, Easton and his team won the Championship.

"It was definitely a super fun weekend," said Odut. "Some of my friends weren't on my team, but some were. It was an awesome time and it felt really cool to raise the trophy after winning the final."

After coming back to the Parkland with a gold medal, Odut is now preparing for the hockey season that'll be starting up soon in town.

"I want to make the Peewee AA team here in town for sure," added Odut. 

So does Easton take a break when he's not playing in Dauphin? No chance.

He also plays on the 07 Manitoba provincial team. Playing on that team has given Easton a chance to travel to Nashville, California and a few other places to play against some of the top young players in North America.

"It's been a ton of fun," said Odut. "It's great travelling with friends and everything. It's never easy because all of the teams are so good, but it's a great experience playing against them."

"And then of course off the ice, we have a lot of fun together to," said Odut. "Like last year we went to a zip line park which was cool. So, hopefully, we can continue doing stuff like that."

When Easton takes a look back at his time travelling with the provincial team, he's made lots of great memories. But, there's one specifically that he'll never forget.

"I'll probably never forget about the goal I scored in Nashville last year," added Odut. "My friend was trying to deke out the guy but the defender stopped him but the puck ended up right on my stick. Then, I just put it in the back of the net and my whole team started jumping on me and all that. It was crazy."

So Easton has achieved a ton in the hockey world, and he's just 11-years-old. And now he's preparing as he looks to have success in his hometown this winter. 

"I'll just go outside and shoot two big buckets of hockey pucks," said Odut. "It's important to stay in shape and focused on the goal. I want to make it to the WHL when I'm older, and I have my eye on that goal."

It will go down as one of the most competitive Dauphin Kings training camps in recent years, and right in the middle of it all was Gilbert Plains Evan Gullet as he looks to make his home region team.

After graduating from Midget AAA this past season, Gullet made a new goal of making the team, and he's happy with how it's gone so far.

"You know I thought it was a really good camp," said Gullet. "The speed has been up quite a bit for sure. Just the level of hockey, in general, has picked up from Midget. Not that much, but it's definitely a bit faster and more physical."

Although Evan hasn't had the chance to play junior hockey full time yet being just 18-years-old. The Gilbert Plains native did get the opportunity to suit up for the team last season. And, as he tries to make the team this year, the hard-working defender feels that will help him.

"I think being an AP a couple games last year definitely helped," said Gullet. "But, it's obviously still quite a jump from Midget. I just have to give it my all, and we'll see how it goes."

Training Camp wrapped up on Sunday with the JoFo Cup in which Team Goring doubled up Team Trotz, 6-3. 

"I was definitely trying to show off my speed in that game," added Gullet. "I need to show that I can play with the type of players that play in this league. And, that was a fully veteran game so that allowed me to I think do that. Then, of course I went out there to try and get a couple big hits and really just make a difference."

As the Kings continue their preseason tonight in Swan River, Gullet doesn't know if he'll suit up but he knows that whenever he gets the call, he has to be ready for it.

"I just want to keep working on my speed so the organization knows I can keep up with everyone," said Gullet. "It's been a long grind since training camp started, but I'm definitely enjoying it. It's been a fun ride."

If Gullet does get the chance to wear a Kings jersey full time this season, he'll achieve something he's dreamed about for years, and that's playing for the Kings.

"I would consider that as an honour," said Gullet. "I've watched the Kings my whole life and I've seen so many of my friends and people I know go through the program. I really want to be a part of this program, so I'm going to do everything in my power so I can be."