The Parkland U-18 Rangers open their 2023-24 campaign on Friday, September 29 when they welcome the Yellowhead Chiefs to Credit Union Place.
It's the first of 48 games for Parkland as they look to return to the playoffs after coming up short last year. Two seasons ago, the team advanced to the second round for the first time in more than 20 years.
This year's roster will feature a good mix of veteran players and also players that will be new to the league whether they played with the U-15 Rangers last year or with a different team at a younger age group. Training camp began on Tuesday night at Credit Union Place with skill sessions and the organization was right back at it on Wednesday with scrimmages.
Tyler Carefoot has returned as the team's head coach this year. Chris Belhumeur, Colton Robak, and Alex Lytwyn will serve as the team's assistant coaches while Jason Gibbs is the team's manager.
"From what I see so far, I like our defence and our goaltenders, we're going to have some tough decisions," said Carefoot. "Our back end will be the focal point and what will drive us. Overall, we're pleased with the calibre at camp."
The Rangers will now hold an instrasquad game on Thursday night at Credit Union Place as their very busy week continues. After three days of training camp, Parkland is off to Souris this weekend for a preseason tournament. They will play one game on Friday and a pair of games on Saturday. This weekend will provide some players with their last chance to show why they should make the opening day roster.
Up front, two players that will be relied heavily upon are Hayden Seib and Cash Clarkson. Clarkson -- who won a national championship with Team Manitoba earlier this year -- returns to the program after a 30 point season last year. 16 of his points were goals and he also had 32 penalty minutes. Recently in the Parkland Summer Hockey League, Cash scored 35 times and had 52 points to finish second in league scoring.
Calling his home Russell, Hayden also has one more year of junior eligibility and just like Cash, Seib is coming off a great season in which he posted 16 goals and 20 assists to go along with 12 penalty minutes.
One of the newcomers to the team is Quinten Fisk. From Dauphin, Fisk put up 40 points in the Parkland Summer League and he had 50 points last year in 39 games with the U-15 Rangers. On the back end, Sam Swanton will be one of the team's leaders. With a Western Hockey League rookie camp already under his belt along with a great performance at Dauphin Kings camp earlier this month, Swanton is primed for an outstanding year playing in his hometown. At this point; however, Sam is on the injured list and the Rangers are hoping he can return very soon.
In net; meanwhile, it will be Chase Glover who gets the reigns to open the season. Glover also won a national title alongside Cash at the National Aboriginal Hockey Championships and he saw some preseason action with Dauphin earlier this month in the team's rookie game against Swan Valley. Chase played 23 games between the pipes with the U-18 club last year, winning seven of them and all things lead to him taking his game to the next level this year.
"He's one of those goalies that doesn't get too high or too low, he has ice in his veins," ended Carefoot. "He's going to be our number one heading into the season, he's going to get an opportunity to be that guy. He works hard and never gives up and that's what being a Parkland Ranger is all about."
New this Year:
Darnell Duff will have the call of six regular season games this year. The first of which comes on Sunday, October 8 when the team welcomes Eastman to Credit Union Place.
Sunday, October 22 @ 1:30 p.m.
Tuesday, December 19 @ Yellowhead - 8:00 p.m.
Wednesday, January 03 @ Brandon - 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, January 30 vs Yellowhead @ 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, February 04 vs Interlake - 1:30 p.m.
All games will begin with a 15 minute pregame show followed by a post-game show to wrap it up.