The Waywayseecappo Wolverines have played three back-to-backs this season and they have split each one of them as they sit at 3-3. As the team now prepares for another home-and-home this weekend against the Swan Valley Stampeders, they have announced their leadership group for the season.
Leading the group as captain is a man that has played in 104 MJHL games and he currently has two goals and four assists in six games this season. Gerrik Ripley of Leduc, Alberta. All but nine of Ripley's 113 junior hockey games have come with Waywayseecappo.
After producing five goals and six assists in his first 38 games with the Wolverines, he scored 11 goals and added 22 assists in 60 games last season.
"Gerrik is a well-respected man in the locker room," said Taylor Harnett, Head Coach, and General Manager. "People rely on him and everyone is extremely comfortable around him. He will do a great job leading this team on the ice and off the ice as well."
Waywayseecappo has also announced that Conrad Phillips, Jaymes Knee, and Mackenzie Belinski will serve as assistant captains this season.
An offensive leader from Camrose, Phillips is in his third season with the Wolverines. He's added up 75 points and he led the club with 27 goals last season. He already is off to a hot start this year with six goals and two assists.
"He plays the game the right way and he prepares the right way," said Harnett. "He's earned a ton of respect from his teammates and that's impportant. People listen to what he's saying and he's been with this organization through a lot."
From Brandon, Jaymes Knee is in his third season with Waywayseecappo after he was acquired from the Dauphin Kings in October of 2018. He had 87 points in 106 games with the Wolverines over that time and he led the team with 58 points last season.
"He was one of our captains last year and we knew he would be in that role this year, we just didn't know whether it would be as a captain or assistant captain," Harnett offered. "He works extremely hard and his goal is to get better every single day. He pushes everyone to get better and that helps us as a team."
The final assistant captain is Belinski who calls Vista his home. Playing just 11 minutes away from where he grew up, Belinski played last year with the Portage Terriers. He had 47 points last year -- 17 of which were goals -- and Mackenzie already has scored three goals this year while adding four assists. Belinski played the first 112 games of his junior career with the Neepawa Natives after a great two seasons with the Yellowhead U-18 Chiefs.
"He's an exceptional kid and he comes from a hard-working family," said Harnett. "His work ethic is contagious and he's another player that everyone listens to. It really wasn't a tough decision for us, he's a great leader."
Waywayseecappo also named Rayman Bassi, Logan Wotton, and Reagan Rabbit as supplemental leaders for the season. All six will be in the lineup this weekend when Wayway looks to build its first two-game winning streak of the season.
The Wolverines find themselves in third place in the Northwest Division with their 3-3 record. They've scored 20 goals and have given up 25. In a loss to Swan Valley over the weekend, they recorded 56 shots; however, Mikael Foucher was the game-changer for the Stampeders.
"We've had a tough schedule to start the season and I know everyone in our division has," said Harnett. "If someone would have asked me a few months ago if being 3-3 would be a fair prediction, I would have to say yes. I think we have increased our compete level over the past six games and that's big for us moving forward."
After spending the past two seasons with Okanagan Academy, Tyson Zimmer is right back near home. He will look to make the Brandon Wheat Kings as a 16-year-old this year. Prior to that, he's with the Wolverines and he's played in all six games. He scored his first MJHL goal over the weekend and he also has three assists as he's racked up four points in his rookie season.
"He's an exceptional talent and he's an exceptional kid. He wants to learn and he wants to get to the next level," ended Harnett. "Although he wants to make Brandon this season, his focus is completely here right now. He's told us that and he's showing us that as well. He continues to get better every day."
Regarding future Wolverines home games, the team has also released the following after a positive case of COVID-19 was identified in the community.
In a meeting with local health authorities and Waywayseecappo Chief and Council, it was agreed upon that the hockey club would continue playing their upcoming scheduled games without interruption.
However, for the foreseeable future, the Wolverines will keep the doors to the public CLOSED. This means that no fans will be allowed in the Arena Complex during any Wolverine action until further notice.