High Prairie Junior Red Wings’ camp opens Sept. 25

With Slave Lake no longer having a junior hockey team, there may be increased interest in the High Prairie Junior Red Wings. The following story appeared in the Sept. 6 High Prairie South Peace News.

Richard Froese

For the Lakeside Leader

The High Prairie Red Wings are gearing up for the first season in the new National Junior Hockey League.
The team has announced training camp opens on Sept. 25.

The Red Wings’ regular season starts on Oct. 6 in Edson against the Eagles; their home opener goes the next night against the Fox Creek Ice Kings, at 7:30 p.m.

Red Wings’ general manager and owner Kevin Hopfner is confident about another winning season, after the Red Wings won the Greater Metro Hockey League West Division championship the past three seasons.

“The team is shaping up very well,” Hopfner says. “We expect to be a very competitive team again this year.”

Half of the players are returning, and a lot of new players from western Canada have recently signed on, Hopfner says.

“We are also working on a couple of U.S. players and possibly a couple of players from overseas.”

Hopfner is also optimistic about games being more entertaining this season, with the Alberta teams in a new league. Other teams include the Gibbons Pioneers and the Northern Alberta Crush, in Thorsby. This team was formerly based in Enoch, and called Northern Alberta Tomahawks.

“Other teams will definitely be more competitive,” Hopfner says, “as the new coaches have had a full season to prepare for this year. Teams that are more competitive will definitely increase the fan base.”

During its inaugural season, the NJHL will play with Alberta teams only and not teams in British Columbia.
Local fans could also see the top players showcase their skills at a special game.

“We have been selected to host the all-star game if we wish to host it,” Hopfner says. “However, that depends on what type of support we get from the community – it is a big event.”

Each team will play 42 games in the regular season. The schedule was released August 31.

Hopfner and the Red Wings look forward to playing a new season in the new league in a modernized Sports Palace. The Town of High Prairie has installed a new refrigerated concrete pad and dasher boards at the aging arena.

Share this post

Post Comment