Accessibility Tools


They were fresh off winning a league championship just months prior and that led to a run at the national championships that saw the club advance to the Final 4 where they came up short against the Pickering Panthers.

Eight players graduated and a few others decided to play elsewhere heading into the 2022-23 season. The Kings were champions of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League (MJHL) season in 2021-22 after a seven-game series win against Steinbach in the league final. They had hopes of defending their title the next season and Dauphin once again advanced to the playoffs as they won 32 games. It wasn't to be ultimately; however, as Dauphin lost in six games to Swan Valley.

Back this year with a group of returnees and several new players to the organization, the Kings were looking to get back on top in what has turned out to be quite a stacked leaderboard in Manitoba. As this current season has gone on, the Kings have shown signs of excellence and they have stumbled as well. Facing about as much adversity as possible from injuries to a coach's suspension to losing streaks and big winning streaks, the 2023-24 season has provided about everything in the hockey world for the Kings. 

While Dauphin was projected to finish near the bottom of the standings heading into the season, Doug Hedley and the remainder of the coaching staff put a solid roster in place, and through their 58-game schedule, the Kings finished with 38 wins, an increase of six from last year. The Kings won 41 games when they won the league title two seasons ago. Dauphin started their season with 13 wins in their first 15 games and then faced a rough patch which saw them lose 10 of their final 13 before the Christmas break.

Along came the trade deadline on January 10 and Dauphin made some sizeable moves as they sent Anthony Bax to the Flin Flon Bombers, Aidan Brook to the Portage Terriers, and Nolan Wickham to the Winkler Flyers. The Kings brought in Ashton Paul, Brett Magarrel, and Ty Pratte. 

Dauphin won their first seven games of 2024 and they finished the season with 22 wins in their final 30 games of the campaign. With a regular season record of 38-17-2-1, the Kings finished with 79 points which puts them in third place in the West Division, only behind the Blizzard and Virden Oil Capitals.

"The most satisfying aspect of the whole thing was the work ethic," said Doug Hedley. "I would say we exceeded our expectations in the second half and it has put us in a spot to go on what we believe can be a very good playoff run."

Returning from the Prince George Cougars of the Western Hockey League, Cayden Glover led the Kings offensively with 20 goals and 28 assists in 50 games while Jordan Bax, who played 56 games, finished with 21 goals and 26 assists. Naaman Hofer (45), Logan Walker (44), and Alex Senf (36) round out the team's top five scorers from the regular season.

Cole Sheffield, who was named a second-team all-star, finished the season with 28 wins which was the second-most in the league. He also had a .921 save percentage to go along with a 2.38 goals-against average. The 19-year-old from London was also a nominee for the league's top goaltender award.

The Road Leads Up North:

The last time the Kings and Blizzard met in the playoffs was in the 2013-14 season. Dauphin won 40 games in the regular season that year while the Blizzard won 21 and Dauphin dispatched the Blizzard in four games in their first-round matchup. 

While either team this year certainly has the capability of earning a sweep, hockey fans should certainly not expect one. Separated by three points in the standings, Dauphin and the Blizzard will match up in what is expected to be one of the more interesting series across the league. They split their six regular-season meetings and the Kings are coming off a 2-0 win. Dauphin also won their final four games of the regular season while the Blizzard, who recently had a 12-game winning streak snapped, won nine of their last 10 games.

Neither team has a perennial sniper or player that will take over the series; however, both teams boast incredible goaltending. Tomas Anderson was named the league's top goaltender after an incredible rookie season between the pipes. The 19-year-old from Minnesota boasted a .931 save percentage to go along with a 2.10 goals-against average as he won 25 games. 

Is Sheffield Ready?

He was given the reigns as the team's number-one goalie ahead of last season. Cole then won 15 games and had solid regular season numbers. However; his numbers did not translate to playoff success as Cole went 1-1-1 with a .898 save percentage to go along with a 3.57 goals-against average. 

It just did not seem that Cole could make a timely save. This year, Sheffield is playing much calmer, and with it, Doug Hedley is expecting a lot from his 19-year-old netminder.

"You have to live it and he went through it last year, he had all of the pressure on him," said Hedley. "It's about believing in yourself and knowing you're a very good goaltender and Cole is. He will carry us as far as we go."

Cole has stolen games and for the most part, he has been extremely consistent this year. If he can continue with his hot play, the Kings have a very good chance in their first round.

Seniors Aren't Ready to Say Good Bye:

They're young and inexperienced. Many players will look towards Alex Senf and Logan Walker for leadership starting on Friday. Senf and Walker are the only 20-year-old players on the Kings roster.

They both finished in the team's top five scorers and Hedley is grateful for their contributions.

"I can't say enough about Walker, he is a tremendous kid on and off the ice, he has a great future ahead of him and I can't thank him enough for the willingness to come to the rink to get better every day," offered Hedley. "Senf's work ethic has increased and he has been one of our better players as of late. We know he is ready for this and we are very proud of him for wearing our crest."

First to Four:

All regular season statistics are thrown out the window and it's a fresh start. Both teams lost in the first round last year, Dauphin to Swan Valley while the Blizzard came up short against Virden. As we near the beginning of this best-of-seven which could go down as a classic, let's take a look at how they faired against each other in the regular season.


There was not much to separate these two teams. They played each other very closely and as the action gets underway Friday night in The Pas, Doug Hedley knows it's all about coming out ready to fight and ready to get the job done.

"The biggest thing is matching their urgency, their stick battles, and everything that they do," ended Hedley. "We feel that there are some areas that we are better at. We need to get pucks towards the net and fight for rebounds. The guys are ready to go, it's an exciting moment."

You can catch all of the action with Darnell Duff. Here is a full series schedule.