It's early, but the Dauphin Kings are ranked as one of the best teams in the country.

In their first Top 20 rankings, the CJHL has the 2-0 Kings in the fourth spot. That's behind the Nipawin Hawks (SJHL), Soo Thunderbirds (NOJHL), and Titan de Princeville (LHJAAAQ). 

The Kings busted out of the gates with two straight wins over the Virden Oil Capitals this past weekend. 

A few other MJHL teams have cracked the Top 20 as well this week. 

The Waywayseecappo Wolverines are the next highest at # 7. They beat the defending Anavet Cup Champion Steinbach Pistons to kick off their season. They then whooped Selkirk yesterday.

Coming in at # 9 is the Winkler Flyers who started their season with back to back wins against Neepawa. And at # 10 is the Swan Valley Stampeders. They beat the OCN Blizzard in a home and home.

Photo Credit - Dauphin Kings.

The Dauphin Kings are off to a perfect start this season, and Dauphin's Bradyn Smelski is right in the middle of it all.

The 19-year-old Is in his second full season of junior hockey with the Kings after he played 46 games last season.

"It feels really good to be back with the Kings for sure," said Smelski. "We're going to have a really strong team this year and we're really fast. All of the guys are getting together nicely and it's just really great to be back with the team. I'm looking forward to the rest of the season."

Smelski and the Kings kicked off their season with back to back wins over the Virden Oil Capitals over the weekend. 

Now the squad will have a few days of practice before their regular season continues. They'll be in Selkirk on Friday, Steinbach on Saturday, and Winnipeg on Sunday.

"We're a pretty confident group right now for sure," added Smelski. "We know the league is wide open this season. We just have to play a full 60 minutes every game and we're pretty confident we can make a deep playoff push if we do that."

"We'll work hard at practice here this week and we'll be ready to go on Friday," he added. "It's an exciting time to be a King."

Being a veteran on the team this year, Bradyn will be called upon to be one of the leaders. Especially with the Kings having many very skilled young players on their roster.

"It's just about being fast and not overthinking things," added Smelski. "Everyone just needs to play their own game because that's what got them here."

Bradyn has yet to hit the scoreboard in the team's two games, but he was oh so close on a few occasions. On Saturday, he had multiple golden chances and again last night was the same thing. 

So far in 50 games, the Dauphinite has eight points. 

Brennan Kitchen was a brick wall making 45 saves, the Dauphin Kings battled extremely hard and they were rewarded for it.

They beat the Virden Oil Capitals for the second straight night last night, this time 2-1 in a shootout.

After no goals were scored in the opening frame, Marc-Antoine Couture scored his first as a King at the 13:55 mark.

The Kings then held the lead until Kolten Kanaski tied the game up with just over eight minutes left in the third.

From there, it was the Brennan Kitchen show. The 20-year-old made at least 10 incredible saves in the final part of the third and in overtime.

After 65, the game was tied at one and was shootout bound. Rookie Nakodan Greyeyes scored the lone goal in the shootout to give the Kings a thrilling 2-1 win.

The Kings will now take their 2-0 record on the road. They start a three games in three days road trip on Friday in Selkirk.

Tune into the game beginning with the Parkland Source for Sports pregame show at 7:15.

Photo Credit - Dauphin Kings.

Roblin's Josh Brook has achieved something he's been working towards for a very long time.

Earlier this weekend, the defencemen signed a three year, entry-level contract with the Montreal Canadiens, that's through the 2020-21 season.

In 45 games last season, Brook recorded 32 points with the Moose Jaw Warriors (3 G).

He also chipped in six more points in 14 playoff games. Brook was drafted in the second round, 56th overall by the Canadiens in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft.

Over the weekend in action with the Moose Jaw Warriors, Brook dominated. He had two goals in the contest against Brandon.

The newest team in the league is the hottest team in the league.

And that was bad news for the Dauphin Clippers football team on Sunday afternoon as they played their home opener.

The Interlake Thunder who just entered the league in the off-season came to Dauphin and beat the Clippers 26-14 at the Clipper Dome. Interlake moved to 3-0 on the season.

The Clippers dropped to 1-1 with the loss. They'll return to the field this Friday when they take on Parkwest on the road. 

He's already a Provincial Champion and now he's hoping to bring his skill to the next level.

As a part of the Dauphin Peewee AA Kings last year, Kyan Grouette was one of the team leaders as they won the championship right here in Dauphin at Credit Union Place.

Now the 13-year-old Dauphinite is looking to crack the Parkland Bantam Rangers roster. And, what a season debut he had last weekend.

In the team's first game against the Interlake Lightning, Grouette notched three goals to lead the team to a 5-2 win.

"I think I had a great weekend over there in Portage," said Grouette. "I have to work on my shot for sure because it wasn't the best, but I'm pretty happy with how I performed."

Before this weekend, Kyan had seen minimal action in a AAA bantam game. But, he did experience the bantam pace of play last year when he travelled with the Bantam AA Kings to the Pas for provincials.

When he looks back at that experience, he'll be the first one to say it helped him transition to Bantam AAA.

"That really allowed me to learn the faster pace of the game and it's more physical," said Grouette. "I feel like, after that, I was just confident in myself that I could just jump in and make things happen."

With no pre-season games left on the schedule as of yet for the Rangers, Kyan has his sights set on the big goal. The regular season. That'll begin for the squad in early October.

"I think I can contribute to this team quite a bit this year," added Grouette. "But, I can't do it myself. My teammates and I have all played together for a long time. We have great chemistry and I honestly just love them all."

With no games until the regular season, it'll allow Kyan lots of time to prepare for what's always a tough schedule for the Rangers. When you combine the games the team plays with their travel schedule, it's always taxing. But, his hard work leading up to this season should allow him to fit in nicely.

"I worked out all summer with Doug Hedley," added Grouette. "I also played in the 4-on-4 league. And of course on my own time. I love stick handling in the basement and I worked out quite a bit. I had to make sure I was ready for the season and the grind."

Although he's already a big-time winner with the AA Kings last season, Kyan doesn't plan on stopping anytime soon and he wants winning to be a part of his future.

"My whole life I've wanted to win a championship," said Grouette. "We did that last year and it felt great so all of us including myself want more. I'm hoping I can pitch in like 20 to 30 points and I know the whole team is pushing for the grand prize at the end of the day."

Steven Arp's goal this season is to make the Bantam Parkland Rangers.

And, if this past weekend is any indication, the 14-year-old from Swan River will have no problem doing so.

In a pre-season tournament with the Rangers, Arp scored two goals as the team went 2-2.

"I'm pretty happy with the way I played," said Arp. "I was happy with my playmaking. Going forward though, I definitely have to work on my skating because I'm not the fastest out there and AAA is super high paced."

One of the things that were very promising over the weekend was the team's chemistry. For some teams bringing in players from all over a region, it could take time to find chemistry and play the way that's needed to have success. 

For Arp and the rest of the Rangers, that wasn't a problem.

"We all get along really well out there," said Arp. "We've all played together before quite a bit. We're just really good friends and we enjoy playing with each other."

At this time, the Rangers don't have any more games until the regular season starts up in October. When it does start, Steven has a good feeling the team has what it takes to make some noise.

"We're looking really good out there," said Arp. "We have some really good goaltenders and it's going to be tough to cut one. All of the teams were pretty close this past weekend and we stayed competitive. I think it's all set up to be a pretty exciting season."

Steven will continue to work hard on and off the ice to prepare for the season as he looks to make a difference on last year's Rural Provincial Championship AAA bronze medalists.

When NHL training camps opened up last season, Grandview's Ryan Pulock was doing everything in his power to make the New York Islanders.

He did that and ended up playing 68 games and picked up 32 points. When training camp opened up this season, Ryan knew he would be playing on the Islanders. 

Now it's just about building and improving as the pre-season has begun.

"Things have been going pretty good so far," said Pulock after practice yesterday. "Obviously we had some big changes in the summer with management and hiring Barry. Training camp has been different and guys are fighting for different opportunities."

"It's about learning right now because Barry's expectations are obviously different then what we had in the past," he added. "Couple pre-season games have been played now and it's just nice to be back."

Ryan and the Islanders will be looking to bounce back after a disappointing season last year. The team finished in seventh place in the Metropolitan division with a 35-37-10 record. In that attempt to bounce back, the Isles made a couple splashes in the offseason. They brought on Lou Lamoriello as the team's President of Hockey Operations. Then on June 21, the Islanders hired Stanley Cup Champion Barry Trotz as the team's new head coach.

"Coming in here Barry definitely set a standard and if we want to be successful, we need to follow it," said Pulock. "We need to work hard and be accountable to each other. I'd say we went to work from the start of camp and everyone's really excited with what's to come."

"I think around the league there are a lot of teams who are thinking we won't be very good this season," he added. "I think we have to take that and eat it. Our goal is to prove people wrong. We're not going to be an easy team to play against. If we outwork other teams which we know we can, we should be alright out there."

This year will also mark year one of the post John Tavares era. After nine seasons with the team and 661 points, John is now a Leaf. Despite losing a bonafide scorer, Ryan is confident in the Isles and their ability to find scoring elsewhere.

"I mean he's been a big part of the offence here in the past," said Pulock. "We still have a lot of elite skill. I mean Barzal, Bailey, Eberle, Lee are all here. It's just about us playing the right way. We have to play defensively sound and play a 200-foot game. We're still going to score goals and Barry will have us playing the right way for sure."

When Ryan got the chance to hit the ice last year after being a healthy scratch, he was near the bottom of the depth chart. He remained there for a good amount of time and then he began to prove he was better than a bottom pair guy. For him this year, he wants to be a lockdown guy with offensive upside.

"I want to establish that I can be a top pairing kind of guy," said Pulock. "Obviously it was a slow start last year but then I was getting chances to play against the other team's top players. It's important for myself to feel like I can be counted on in big situations whatever they are."

Pulock and the Islanders continue their pre-season tomorrow against New Jersey.

Moving forward, Ryan's having nothing but good thoughts.

"I think this year is especially exciting with all of the changes and bringing in Barry," added Pulock. "Barry's had a ton of success and he's the guy you're going to listen to."

"For myself, I have the confidence heading into this season based on how I performed last year," he added. "I'm looking forward to playing with that confidence for the entire season."

What are Ryan's goals for the season after recording a 32 point campaign and a five-point game against Chicago? They're pretty simple really.

"I think the big thing for me is just continuing to get better every year," said Pulock. "I look at my numbers from last season and my goal is to improve on those for sure."

The squad begins their regular season on October 4.

The Thursday afternoon senior 10-pin bowling league begins tomorrow at Parkway Lanes in Dauphin with a fun day.
 
The league itself is set to begin next Thursday, September 27. 
 
It begins at 1:00 p.m. and is open to any senior aged 55 & over.
 
For more information on the league, you can call Ralph at 638-7470.

If you're looking to hit the gym during the day and shoot some hoops or play some badminton, you could have another option.

The gym at Parkland Crossing is available to the public starting today for basketball, pickleball, badminton, and other equipment is also available.

And when you go to the gym, you'll notice a new look.

"This summer when we did our annual wax striping, we had our lines redone," said Jamie Harvey, Director of Parkland Crossing. "We also did a retouch of part of our legacy and history of Western Canadian Christian College. So we got the letters put back in place and the torch brightened up again."

The gym is open most days during office hours from 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. The cost is just $2.

"We can allow people to play in the gym for such a cheap price because the staff is here anyway," said Harvey. 

You can also rent the gym after hours. The cost is $60 for three hours and you can talk to the staff to set up the activity you'd like.

For more information or if you want to book the gym after hours, you can call Parkland Crossing at 638-3333, or check them out at Parkland Crossing.

Their 51st season in the MJHL is just about here for the Dauphin Kings.

They'll welcome the Virden Oil Capitals for the Dauphin Clinic Pharmacy Home Opener on Saturday evening.

For the first couple days of the week, the Kings have used their practice time to work on various aspects of the game.

"On Monday we brought in Next Level SP from Kenora and we did some testing and assessing on our guys," said Doug Hedley, Head Coach, and GM. "It was good to see what they have as far as energy and get on track. Things are all good."

At the time of Dauphin's last exhibition game against Wayway last week, Dauphin still had 30+ players on their roster. That has now changed.

"We have 26 skaters and three goaltenders right now," said Hedley. "This is what we'll carry for at least a couple weeks now. There are still some guys battling out there."

The Kings will be dealt somewhat of a blow for this weekend's contest. Grady Hobbs will miss the first two games of the season after being suspended last year. George King will miss the first four after being suspended last season at the end of the year as well.

"We definitely have to prepare differently without them in the lineup," said Hedley. "We still do have five lines without them. The guys who go hard at all times will be in the starting lineup, it's simple as that."

The Kings will have three more full practices before they go through a morning skate on Saturday as they prepare for the Oil Capitals. 

"I think we have some great speed up front and our back end is looking solid," said Hedley. "Everyone's excited to get things going."