Saints, Trojans prepare for hockey season
The high school hockey season is just around the corner.
The Portage Collegiate Institute (PCI) Saints girls varsity hockey team found out they’ll be starting in the Winnipeg Women’s High School Hockey League’s CTV or ‘A’ Division after going 2-1 at the divisional placement tournament over the weekend. The girls hammered Westwood 7-1 to open the tournament, dropped Sanford 2-0 in their second game, then lost 1-0 to Oak Park to close out the weekend.
“This year sees a 12 team ‘A’ division because of the calibre of the teams around the league this year,” says Saints’ head coach, Jo-Anne Clark-Gillespie. “Our new players will struggle a little with the speed at first and the girls that have played the last couple of years will definitely notice a speed increase.”
The Saints finished 18-4 last year in the Winnipeg Free Press Division to claim the top spot during the regular season. They suffered an unfortunate early exit from the playoffs when they were upset by the Garden City Gophers in the semis. The Saints lost a few key players to graduation including Bailey Grantham, Morgan Parynuik, and Hailee Morisseau but have still retained great talents like the Shwaluk trio of Paige, Maddie and eldest Kiera along with Cassidy George and goaltender Morgan Klassen.
“The young Grade 9’s we had last year have grown immensely from what they were at this time last year,” says Clark-Gillespie. “We’re excited about the new ones coming in and the vets we have in the line-up. The young ones are eager and have a great work ethic so I think they’ll develop quickly.”
The Saints open their CTV Division season on the road October 12 against Oak Park.
PCI’s boys hockey team is just about set for the Zone 4 Hockey League regular season. The Trojans went 9-14-1 last year and were eliminated by Carman in the first round of the playoffs. The Trojans lost a few key pieces on the back end including goalie Parker Page and the league’s Defensemen of the Year Lucas Neufeld, along with top scorer Sean Ballantyne.
“The team looks good this year,” says Trojans’ head coach, Brendan Schaan. “We have a couple of players still battling it out for spots with the club. We’ve also put a lot of new systems in place that are new to the entire team. We’ll be taking our preseason games to work on those systems and get everything sorted for the regular season.”
The Zone 4 Hockey season kicks off October 19 when the Trojans welcome Garden Valley to Stride Place. The boys opened their exhibition season last night against Prairie Mountain in Pilot Mound.