Following three days of tryouts Aug. 23-25 at the C.A. Nesbitt Arena, the Manitoba AAA U-18 Norman Northstars coaching staff named the team’s 2019-20 preseason roster.
The current team comprises 14 rookies and 10 veterans from Thompson, Flin Flon, Norway House, Cross Lake, Easterville, Split Lake and The Pas.
Some of the most decorated returning players from last season include goaltender Rylan Potkonjak (the Northstars 2018-19 Rookie of the Year), forward Ryan Monias (last season’s Barry Patterson Most Popular Player award winner) and defenceman Jordan Pfoh (the MacIntyre Defensive Player of the Game award-winner for 2018-19).
However, this year’s team will be without veterans including their top scorer Henry Muchikekwanape , Hunter Rambow (Cliff Duchesne Hardest Worker award winner) and goaltender MVP Braedin Melsted.
Coach Murray Nychyporuk said they had a broader talent pool to pick from this year, since 58 people showed up at the beginning the selection camp on Friday, significantly up from the 40 or so athletes who tried out last year.
This number was whittled down to 34 players for Sunday’s inter-squad match, and the coaching staff eventually made the final 10 cuts later that afternoon.
The Northstars finished last regular season with a pair of wins over the Interlake Lightning to lift themselves out of last place in the league.
Nychyporuk is hoping to ride that momentum into this upcoming season and help this new group of athletes establish a much more consistent playing style.
“Our goal is to try to make the playoffs and that means we have to win off the bat,” he said Sunday. “Traditionally the Northstars have started, for the last eight years, poorly and go 0-10 or 1-10. We need it to be a .500 club in the first 10 games and that’s hard to do.”
After the preseason wraps up, the Northstars will begin their 2019-20 regular season on the road against the Winnipeg Wild Sept. 27.
The Northstars’ first home game of the season will be at the C.A. Nesbitt Arena Oct. 5 against the Central Plains Capitals.
Norman Northstars 2019-20 preseason roster
· Ryan Monias (Thompson)
· Morgan Daneliuk (Flin Flon)
· Blake Lahonen (Flin Flon)
· Morgan Beauchamp(Flin Flon)
· Ian Snooks (Thompson)
· Derek Koivisto (Flin Flon)
· Dreydyn Robinson (Cross Lake)
· Conroy Halcrow (Thompson)
· Curtis Shymanski (Thompson)
· Treyton Monias (Cross Lake)
· Albert Sinclair (Split Lake)
· Roger Houle Jr. (Easterville)
· Brady Krentz(Thompson)
· Clark Scaddan (Thompson)
· Jordan Pfoh (Flin Flon)
· Branden Hill (The Pas)
· Lance Bobesko (Thompson)
· Sam MacDonald (Thompson)
· Cheechoo Lathlin (The Pas)
· Christopher Pynn (Thompson)
· Allan Matechuk (Thompson)
· Lavery Melsted (Thompson)
· Rylan Potkonjak (Flin Flon)
· Linden Gamblin (Norway House)