The ice at Credit Union Place has been in for just more than two weeks and Dauphin Kings hockey is right around the corner. The team will hold their rookie camp next weekend, August 26 to 28.
Following a busy month at the rink which included the return of Nakodan Greyeyes and Grady Hobbs for a skills camp to start and the Kings hockey school, the team will now shift their focus to the 2022-23 Manitoba Junior Hockey League season which is slated to begin on September 16 against the Neepawa Titans.
Dauphin will enter this season as the defending champions after they beat the Steinbach Pistons in seven games last year. Rylan Gibbs had the opportunity to travel with the Kings to Estevan for the Centennial Cup last year and he said it was an incredible experience. Gibbs - who is coming off an incredible year with the U18 Rangers - also signed his letter of intent to join the Kings. From Dauphin, Rylan grew up watching the team and he will take part in rookie camp next week. Gibbs' main focus during the off-season was improving his speed because he knows as a smaller player, speed is the way to work around that, just like Riese Gaber is.
"I'm very excited to get started here, I've been itching to get going," said Gibbs. "It's going to be great to be back on the ice competing, it's what I love to do."
Rylan scored 21 times last year and he added 42 assists in the regular season. Then in the playoffs, Rylan scored twice as the Rangers advanced to the second round of the playoffs for the first time in more than 20 years and he had four assists. Known for his great speed and shot, Gibbs, says he is in the best shape of his life and he's looking forward to making an impact with the team he grew up watching.
"There's going to be some pressure for sure being the hometown guy but honestly, I'm pretty excited about that," said Gibbs. "It may be difficult at first to get used to that but once I get used to it, I'm just looking forward to enjoying it and taking it day by day."
A dream come true. That's what it would be for Rylan if he were able to crack the roster on a full-time basis but he knows nothing will be given to him.
"I have to push myself and give it everything I have," ended Gibbs. "I'm looking forward to this challenge, I've been working hard for many years for this opportunity and it's my turn to show what I have."
Following rookie camp next weekend, Dauphin will host their main camp the following weekend which includes the annual JoFo Cup.