Sr. Stampeders hit the ice

Veteran forward Darren Caron fires a shot during practice Sept. 7 at the Meadow Lake Arena. The Stampeders team will be allowed one import this season.

Goaltending, defence expected to be strong

By Mac Christie

The Meadow Lake Senior Stampeders hockey team is gearing up for another season.

After a strong finish to last year, coach Ian Turberfield hopes to build off of that success, even though the team usually starts the year slowly.

“We’ve taken a lot of strides and have got better every year,” he said. “This year I expect a little more out of everybody.”

One thing that should help the team improve this year is it will be allowed to bring in one import player.

Previously, because of the population of Meadow Lake league officials said the team had to be composed solely of local players.

Turberfield noted the team had been fighting to be allowed imports for some time, but said he’s not sure who it will be yet.

“We’ve been throwing some feelers out there,” he said, adding though he’s not sure who it will be, the team will be looking for some scoring punch from that player.

“It seems like we always need the one guy who can put the puck in the net,” Turberfield said. “I think that’s going to be our weakness.”

The weakness has been exacerbated by the loss of Brandon Wasyliw, one of the Stampeders’ offensive threats, who won’t be in this year’s lineup becasue he’s attending school in Regina.

In his absence, Turberfield will be looking to the top line of Calvin Fiddler, Dustin Gorst and Darren Caron to pick up the slack.

However, the team has been good defensively in the past and Turberfield expects the back end and goaltending to be strong again this year.

“We’ve got three guys fighting for that position and it’s not going to be an easy decision,” he said of the battle for starting goaltender.

Adding to that competition is the return of Travis Harrington, who played for the team in the past.

“He’s very skilled and is going to be a key component of the team this year,” Turberfield noted.

the team will also be relying heavily on defensive stalwarts Darren Schwartz, Steven Spencer and Logan Gorst, added Turberfield.

“Our defensive corps should be strong,” he noted. “Those three guys carry a lot of ice time.”

But while the team will be relying on veterans, Turberfield is also trying to grow the program with younger players.

“Sooner or later you start losing some of your older players,” he said, “so I’ve been pushing to get some of these younger kids who are done Midget to come out.”

There’s still about a month until the season gets underway, and while question marks remain, Turberfield is optimistic about the team.

“It’s looking good for this year,” he said. “We should be stronger.”

Meadow Lake is one of eight teams who make up the North Saskatchewan River Hockey League. The others include Paradise Hill, Edam, Turtleford, Maidstone, St. Walburg, Wilkie and Spiritwood.

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