Well it’s finally here. The OCN Blizzard kick off the 2016-17 season this weekend at the GLMC. First up is the Dauphin Kings tonight in the home opener, followed by Waywayseecappo and OCN tomorrow afternoon.
Tonight’s game will be the first of the season for the Blizzard as Head Coach and General Manager Doug Hedley makes his return to the MJHL. After the past couple seasons coaching Parkland AAA he knows a lot of the young players playing in the MJHL, and is eager to get things started. He brings a wealth of experience and knowledge back into the OCN organization, not to mention he's a previous MJHL coach of the year.
The Blizzard are looking to finish off a 3 year re-build by making a serious run at an MJHL title. OCN finished 6th place last year losing to Winkler in the first round but have returned all 6 Defensemen, both Goaltenders and 7 Forwards from that team. High expectations surround the most northern MJHL team and only time will tell how they respond.
For Dauphin, they’re in a similar spot as the OCN Blizzard, after a disappointing finish to last year the Kings lost out in the MJHL survivor series and return a lot of players. The 2016-17 Kings team will continue to be a young squad as they brought in some of the best AAA hockey players from across the province. They will still be a younger team then OCN but possess a lot of speed and will look to get some wins early, get into the playoffs, and be that young dark horse team when March hockey rolls around.
Tonight’s pre game festivities (weather pending) should be a lot of fun. The OCN Booster Club has been planning a great night that includes a parking lot party, free hot dogs, outside games, activities and prizes for youth. Inside the rink the Blizzard will get to show off a new style of play along with player introductions and a speech from an OCN Chief and Council representative.
OCN line combinations are still yet to be determined and will be available closer to puck drop but I can tell you who’s on this year’s squad.
Jeremy Dumont, Anthony Keeper, Daylon Campbell, Brayden Dale, Shane Roulette, Dawson Anderson, Rylan Bartley, Keevan Daniels Webb, Lantz Hiebert, Michael Markus, Justin Nachbaur, Jared Pederson, Curtis Scales, Brady Valiquette and Kyle Wiltshire.
On the back end….
Brady Keeper, Tavis Roch, Hayden Yaremko, Adam Heinemann, Taran Lacquette, Taylor Derynck, Branden Storey and Maverick Rafter.
Of course between the pipes this year…
Emilien Boily and Brett Epp.
For OCN it’s a mix of a lot of returning players, solid goaltending, youth, and an older back end(4-95’s).
Puck drops tonight at 7pm as OCN begins its 2016-17 season, Dauphin started last night in Swan Valley. Tickets can be bought at the door and you can catch the broadcast on 102.9 CJAR starting at 6:45pm. If you can't catch the broadcast, follow the team(@ocnblizzard) or me (@jaretschneider) on twitter for game updates.