Accessibility Tools

He gets up every morning nice and early and fuels himself with breakfast. 

After leaving his billet home through the front door, he starts his vehicle, following the same routine without fail. Every day, Owen Riffel heads to the rink for practice at 9:30 a.m. with the Sioux Lookout Bombers of the Superior International Junior Hockey League, engaging in a rigorous 90-minute session on the ice. Following practice, Owen takes a break to grab some lunch.

Later in the afternoon, he dedicates more time to the ice before hitting the weight room, conveniently located within the arena where he practices and competes. Returning for his second season with the Bombers, the Onanole sniper elevated his performance to new heights, netting 36 goals and providing 31 assists during the regular season. Riffel secured the third spot in league scoring, and for the first time in his career, he was honored as the league's top forward after the regular season concluded.

In his rookie season last year with the Bombers, Riffel posted 36 points, only to increase that by 31 this year.

"It means a lot to me, there is a ton of hard work that went into winning this award," said Riffel. "I also couldn't have achieved this without my teammates. I play with a great group of guys and we have great coaches, it's a great organization to be a part of."

Regular season success doesn't always guarantee playoff success, but for Owen, it's a different story. Throughout nine playoff games, Owen has made his mark with six goals and 13 points, emerging as the leading scorer for his team and tying for third place in league playoff scoring.

As a young boy, Owen harbored dreams of excelling at the elite level in junior hockey. Though his journey wasn't devoid of challenges, Owen's unwavering dedication and commitment to the game have enabled him to realize his aspirations.

"It's always nice to convert that success into the playoffs, it's all about winning now," offered Riffel. "I'm here to help this team win and I will do whatever I can to do just that. We have one common goal and that is to win a championship."

437897697 807146571475039 4799316913491416500 n

With the Manitoba Junior Hockey League and Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League finals looming just days away, the SIJHL championship series is set to kick off on Wednesday night. Owen finds himself just four victories away from securing a spot in the national tournament.

After sweeping Fort Frances in the opening round and swiftly dispatching the Thunder Bay North Stars in five games during the semifinals, the Bombers are now poised to face off against the Kam River Fighting Walleye in the league final. The Fighting Walleye, reigning champions from last year, boast a flawless 8-0 playoff record this season.

The stakes are high as the two top teams in the league vie for supremacy in a best-of-seven showdown. The winner will earn the opportunity to compete in the Centennial Cup from May 9 to 19 in Oakville. With the Fighting Walleye clinching the regular season's top spot with 79 points from a 39-win campaign, the Bombers closely trail behind with 74 points, secured through 35 wins.

The Fighting Walleye led the league with 269 goals, which Riffel knows is something the Bombers will have to key in on.

"They're extremely skilled, we know how important it is to play tight defensively," said Riffel. "They're just a very good hockey club, but we're confident in our abilities."

In the regular season series against the Bombers, Kam River held the upper hand, securing victories in five out of seven matchups. Notably, three of their wins were decided in extra time, with two requiring a shootout.

Acknowledging that his team may be perceived as underdogs entering the series, Owen remains confident in their abilities.

"We're feeling good, we plan to just do what we do," ended Riffel. "Two good teams are set to battle for a championship, this is what you play for, and we're excited to get down to business.

Game one and two of the series will take place at Kam River on Wednesday and Thursday. Sioux Lookout will then host games three and four on Saturday and Sunday. The following three games will rotate as follows: game five is scheduled for Tuesday, April 23, game six for Thursday, April 25, and if necessary, game seven will be on Saturday, April 27.