Yellowhead Chiefs off to a solid start
- Published on Tuesday, October 9, 2012
By: Lanny Stewart
So far, so good for the Yellowhead Chiefs this season.
After going 3-0 at the annual exhibition tournament in Souris late last month, the Manitoba Midget AAA Hockey League squad won its first three regular season contests and are currently sitting in first place in the West Division.
More than half the roster is filled with veteran players from a year ago and head coach Chad Facey -- who took over for longtime coach Garth Mitchell in the offseason -- is pleased with the make-up of his team, which has outscored opponents 10-4 thus far this year.
"It's a good nucleus of guys coming back," he said prior to Yellowhead's victories over Southwest, Central Plains and Interlake to start the season. "I think there's a lot of potential for some of the veterans to have a solid year scoring-wise as well as be leaders for our young guys."
Up front, the team's leading scorer from a year ago, Bradley Bowles has returned. The Elkhorn product netted 25 goals and 53 points in 44 games last year. Bradley's brother Shawn, who finished third on the club in points last season, will also be back.
Other forwards returning include Elkhorn's Josh Martin and Taylor Sanheim, Minnedosa's Logan Robinson and Neepawa's Nick Noonan-Robinson.
Meanwhile, on defence, Travis Sanheim, Taylor's brother, is back for another season. Sanheim finished as the team's top scoring blueliner with 15 goals and 39 points in 44 games. Birtle's Dylan Bonchuk, Elkhorn's Brett Orr and Tanner Kyle as well as Minnedosa's Nolan Speiss are also back this season.
In net, the Chiefs will have Shoal Lake's Matthew Short once again between the pipes. Short played in 17 games for Yellowhead a year ago.
New additions to the team this year include forwards Logan Young and Ashton Anderson, both of whom spent last year with the bantam AAA Chiefs.
Young is a Neepawa product, while Anderson, from Rivers, was the first overall bantam draft pick of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League's Neepawa Natives last April.
Overall, the Chiefs look like a team that could make some noise this year, but Facey understands it's a long season and that bumps in the road will surely happen.
"We have to make sure that they're all on board this year. We can't do it with just a few guys," he said. "We need everyone this season if we're going to win a lot of games."
The Chiefs' next game is this Saturday when they host the Eastman Selects in Shoal Lake at the Communiplex. Game time is 7:30 p.m.