Midgets on the rise

.

New season - Tristen Nixon carries the puck up the ice Saturday as his Stettler bantam A team opened its season with an exhibition game against Camrose.

JOHN MACNEIL

Independent editor

After struggling last season in the North Central Minor Hockey Association, the midget AA Stettler Legion Blues hope they’re poised for a turnaround.

Despite losing their top two scorers, twins Derek and Dylan Muhlbach to the junior B Stettler Lightning, the Blues believe they’re a more balanced team than last season.

“I definitely think we’re bigger,” said Blues coach Scott Schell. “We’re pretty close to the same speed. We’ve got more scoring going this year. I think we’re going to be a more well-rounded team, so I think it’s actually going to be a good season for us.”

The Blues, with a 3-16-1 record, finished in last place in the five-team league last season.

Stettler has seven returning players, including both goaltenders — Josh McCallum and Mack Schell. Also back are defenceman Steve Fletcher and forwards Kelly Coppock, Micah Croker, Logan Davidson and Michael Neumeier.

“Everyone else is new to the team,” said coach Schell.

“The new recruits that we got this year definitely increase our depth, so that makes a world of difference. So, really, the fact that we only have (seven) returning isn’t going to hurt us.”

“We have only one 15-year-old and that’s Jacob Hamel, and then the rest (of the newcomers) all moved up from either midget A or the midget B team.”

Hamel, a forward, played with the Stettler bantam AA last season.

He impressed the Blues during their tryouts.

“He’s got some good size to him, and he’s got a little bit of scoring touch,” Schell said.

The Blues begin their North Central league season Sunday when they host Ponoka in a 7 p.m. exhibition game at the Stettler Recreation Centre.

“Right now, I hate to boast, but I don’t see any reason why we can’t make a good run for the title this year — honestly,” Schell said. “As long as everyone shows up and gives it a good effort every game, I think we’re going to do just fine in the league.”

One of the biggest challenges for the Blues might be getting a consistent commitment from the players.

“That’s always the battle, especially at midget age, because they’ve got to battle between the job and school and girls,” Schell said with a chuckle.

“We’ll see. The season is still young.”

Just Posted

Puff, puff, pass: Cannabis is officially legal across Canada

Alberta readies itself for cannabis sales with 17 stores (for now) and a new provincial website

Wm. E. Hay hands out awards

High School students honoured

Clearview Public Schools requesting modular classrooms for Gus Wetter School

School’s capacity decreased to 305 students from 358

Mellow opening to B.C.’s only legal pot shop

About five people lined up early for the opening of the BC Cannabis Store in Kamloops.

Jagmeet Singh says marijuana pardons are not enough

Trudeau government will streamline pardon process for Canadians convicted of simple possession of marijuana in the past

Test case challenges a politician’s right to block people from Twitter account

3 people say Watson infringed their constitutional right to freedom of expression by blocking them

After 50 years, ‘Sesame Street’ Big Bird puppeteer retiring

The puppeteer who has played Big Bird on “Sesame Street” is retiring after nearly 50 years on the show.

Britain, EU decide to take some time in getting Brexit right

Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said “we need much time, much more time and we continue to work in the next weeks.”

Parole denied for convicted killer-rapist Paul Bernardo after 25 years in prison

Paul Bernardo plead for release on Wednesday by arguing he has done what he could to improve himself during his 25 years in prison.

B.C. Lions look to cement CFL playoff spot with victory over Eskimos

B.C. can cement a post-season berth in the wild West Division on Friday night with a home win over the Edmonton Eskimos

Canada ban on asbestos takes effect but mining residues are exempt

Environment Minister Catherine McKenna plans to announce the new regulations implementing the ban on Thursday in Ottawa

UPDATE: Aurora Rafer has been found unharmed

RCMP have a man in custody and continue to investigate

Most Read