The Parkland U-18 Rangers rolled over their competition in the preseason as they beat the Norman Northstars twice and the Yellowhead Chiefs once.
Ending off things nicely on home ice at Credit Union Place, the Rangers followed up a perfect preseason with two practices and now, it's time to get things going for real.
The Manitoba AAA U-18 Hockey League's season begins on Friday evening and the Rangers are heading up north for a pair of games on Saturday and Sunday against the same Northstars they beat twice on October 2 and 3. The Rangers and Northstars will square off at the C.A. Nesbitt Arena.
The last week has been all systems for the Rangers as they prepare to open up a truncated 36 game schedule in Thompson. A team with speed, size, and solid shooters, this year's U-18 Rangers squad is certainly on paper the most exciting in quite some time.
"We always say what we did yesterday is in the past, it's all about what we do today," said Tyler Carefoot who will coach the team alongside Rick Freese. "We want to be a team that is going to be hard to play against and we want to be a team that competes every shift. If we do that and have the energy, I believe good things will happen."
The Rangers have also announced its leadership group ahead of the 2020-2021 season and leading the group is Jayden Jubenvill of Gilbert Plains who has been named captain. A now three-year member of the team, Jayden has played in 88 games with the Club and he scored 12 goals and added 18 assists last season.
Steven Arp of Swan River will serve as one of the team's assistant captains. He had a very good rookie campaign last year with the team when he scored 27 goals and added 19 assists. His 27 goals were tied for the 13th most in the league -- and he was also second in Rangers scoring -- just behind Garrett Hrechka who is now playing with the Kings.
Brayden Kohlman is the second Rangers assistant captain. After two years with the U-15 Rangers from 2016-2018, he took a one year break from the Rangers program as he joined the McCreary high school hockey team. When he did return to the program last year, he scored 10 goals and added 28 assists and was one of the Rangers' hardest working players on and off the ice.
The final assistant captain is a man from Russell who had an outstanding year last year and was named to the second all-star team because of it and his name is Keaton Ziprick. Keaton is returning for his final AAA season and third with the U-18 team.
2020-2021 Rangers Leadership Group: Captain Jayden Jubenvill Assistant Brayden Kohlman Assistant Steven Arp Assistant Keaton Ziprick #WEnotMe— Parkland Rangers U18 AAA Hockey Club (@RangersU18MBAAA) October 16, 2020
Carefoot had this to say on the leadership group:
Jubenvill - "He's one of those players that doesn't take a shift off. In practice he takes battle drills personally," he said. "When he makes a mistake, he owns up to it and works that much harder to improve."
Arp - "He's a horse. He leads by example and you can always rely on him to play the right way," Carefoot said. "He's extremely gifted offensively and at the same time, he prides himself on play in the defensive zone as well."
Kohlman - He's a very smart individual and he was a leader last year," continued Carefoot. "It's really comfortable having a guy that knows the game and he's going to hold guys accountable."
Ziprick - He's a leader and he always has been," said Ziprick. "He's calm, he knows the game, and he can get the job done."
After this weekend, Parkland plays at the Shoal Lake Communiplex on Tuesday against Yellowhead. The team's home opener is set for next Friday at Credit Union Place against Yellowhead before they welcome Yellowhead to town again on Sunday.
Keep in mind, you can catch all Rangers action this season HockeyTV. Darnell Duff will broadcast seven games on that platform throughout the season.