Red Wings prepare for ‘stronger’ season

High Prairie Red Wing player Brandon McNabb, right, and Darian Alook from the Slave Lake Icedogs chase the puck in Greater Metro Hockey League action in the West Division in High Prairie on Jan. 5.

Richard Froese
South Peace News

The High Prairie Red Wings are gearing up for their second season in the West Division of the Greater Metro Junior Hockey League.

Training camps for the teams are set to start in September, says Derek Prue, division expansion director.

“High Prairie has re-signed several players from last season,” Prue says.

“They’ve got a really good core of players and new players who want to join the team.”

The Red Wings welcome the Fox Creek Ice Kings as the fourth team in the division.

Prue says the team released its name and logo recently and plans to officially announce the head coach in the coming weeks.

“Their new coach has some close ties to the NHL,” Prue says.

Fox Creek is the second team in the division with the Ice in its name.

The Slave Slave Icedogs and the Enoch Northern Alberta Tomahawks are the other two teams in the West Division.

Prue expects the teams will raise the bar when the season is scheduled to start the first week of October.

“Our level of play in the division will be higher from the get-go,” Prue says. “We should have a strong division.”

The division may have one or two more teams before the season starts.

Four teams from Alberta may be interested in joining the GMHL after the Western States Hockey League ceased operation recently.

The Barrhead Bombers, Edson Aeros, Hinton Timberwolves and Cold Lake Hornets were in the Provincial Division that played two seasons.

“We talked to a couple of teams,” Prue says.

“We want to make sure teams in our division are strong.”

He suggests two viable teams that would provide good competition.

“Edson and Hinton are the stronger hockey markets of the four teams,” Prue says.

“They had two successful seasons, so I’m sure they want to keep that going.”

Players on those Alberta teams are also available for the GMHL teams in the West Division, he says.

Prue says he expects the season will start under continued restrictions and risks related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We may have to cap the number of fans at our games to start the season at about 125,” Prue says.

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