DEREK HOLTOM

DEREK HOLTOM

Wednesday, 17 August 2022 09:27

MJHL teams in trading mood as teams get busy

There are two teams that everyone will be focused on this winter in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League – outside their hometown favourite team that is.

The Portage Terriers will host the RBC Cup next spring, and coming off a shocking non-playoff season, the Terriers should be one of the most active teams in the league as they strive to turn their fortunes around and transition to a national championship contender.

The other team people will keep an eye on is the Niverville Nighthawks – the latest expansion team to join the MJHL family. What sort of team will Kelvin Cech ice this winter? That is a question on many people’s minds.

Feeding into all this was a busy summer of trades. Check this week's paper for all the details!

Wednesday, 17 August 2022 09:23

Johnson hits OCN Blizzard ground running

Typically junior hockey teams would like to have their head coach in place by early June at the latest, giving them time to take part in league AGMs and to assess and help recruit for the coming season.

The OCN Blizzard were handed a curveball this season when their potential new coach fell through, but they landed a top-notch replacement in Doug Johnson at the start of August.

The long-time Nipawin Hawks coach and former league champion doesn’t have a lot of time to prepare for the coming season. Yet Johnson is no rookie coach. Coupled with the knowledge of the Blizzard team already in place, Johnson is optimistic he can help take the first steps towards turning around a franchise that missed out on the playoff dance last season.

“Any new experience is going to be exciting, and I’m excited to get into The Pas and get know the community better than I already do,” says Johnson. “That includes getting to know the sponsors, and getting to work with the players – I really missed that the last half of last season.

Tuesday, 09 August 2022 12:36

New coach for Blizz

For the second time this summer, the OCN Blizzard have announced their new head coach for the coming season.

The Blizzard took to Twitter last week to announce that former long-time Nipawin Hawks coach Doug Johnson is the new head coach and assistant general manager.

The move became necessary after their previous choice for head coach - former Nanaimo Clippers head coach and general manager Darren Naylor – became unavailable.

But while it may be a late choice, Johnson is no runner up prize. The Blizzard have landed a coach with a regional ties and a championship pedigree.

Area hockey fans hoping to see OCN product Cheechoo Lathlin play junior A hockey this fall will have to travel north to see the talented defenseman.
Lathlin, who played six games for the Blizzard this past season as an AP (and two more for the junior B OCN Storm), has signed on with the SJHL’s Flin Flon Bombers.
The Bombers, who came within a win of winning the SJHL title last year, made the announcement on their website last week.
“Cheechoo was a player we kept a close eye on during the season - he had a great year offensively and was one of the top blueliners in the MU18HL,” said Bombers Assistant Coach and Assistant General Manager Cole McCaig in the press release. “We feel Cheechoo has a very high ceiling and is a player that probably could’ve played junior A last season. He’s got a great skill set along with a high compete level and he hates to lose.”
In fact Lathlin was one of the top