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Sundre’s U18 Huskies head coach anticipates competitive season

Jason Martyn confident about Sundre team’s chances at another Central Alberta Hockey League playoff final run
MVT stock hockey skates
Over the past weekend, the Huskies hosted their annual home tournament fundraiser, which helps to cover expenses such as refereeing and ice time. File photo

SUNDRE – Coming out of tiering rounds with regular Central Alberta Hockey League play getting started this weekend, the head coach of the U18 Huskies is confident about the squad’s chances for another run at the playoff finals.

“We have a lot of the same kids as last year,” said Jason Martyn, in response to a question about how the squad is shaping up.

Although the team lost some experienced veterans who aged out following the end of last season, the Huskies welcomed to their ranks new players from the Sundre Rec Hockey Association as well as a few who returned after taking a year off, and things are coming together, said Martyn.

“We seem to be a very strong offensive team (and) we still have some good solid D,” he said. “I think we’ll have a very good chance of going as far as we did last year into the finals . . . it’s going to be an exciting year.”

The Huskies made it to the 2021-22 playoff final against the Olds Grizzlies, who last March ended up winning the championship banner.

Even with the absence of the veteran players, the Huskies’ roster is essentially right where the coach wants it.

“We have a pretty good, solid core this year,” he said.

As for where coaches are focused during practice, he said they’re drilling the basics.

“We’re working on some different breakouts,” he said.

Additionally, the coach expects the competition to have some talented goaltenders who will prove to be a challenge.

“The goalies seem to be a strong point in the teams that we’re playing this year. So, we’re trying to get in on those rebounds and in-close, quick shots,” he said, emphasizing the need to “capitalize on all our chances, especially when we’re in close to the goal.”

Asked how the pre-season went, he said, “Tiering’s always kind of a mismatch; nobody really knows where they’re sitting or how it’s going to be.”

Nevertheless, the Huskies played six games, of which they won four and lost only two.

“We’re in tier 3 strong,” he said.

While regular league play is getting started this weekend, the schedule had not yet been finalized when Martyn spoke with the Albertan late last week.

Over the past weekend, which was a tiering break with no regular games scheduled, the Huskies hosted their annual home tournament fundraiser, which helps to cover expenses such as refereeing and ice time.

Eight teams including the hosts faced off for some competitive tier 3 hockey.

“It’s a CAHL-sanctioned tournament, but it has nothing to do with the league,” he said.

During a follow-up interview on Monday morning, Martyn told the Albertan the tournament turned out well with plenty of fans coming out to enjoy some great hockey.

The Sundre Huskies hosted Grande Prairie, Indus, Chestermere, Sylvan Lake, Coaldale, Edmonton, as well as an all 16-year-old team that came out from Cochrane.

“Our team had the misfortune of losing our first game to Coaldale by one goal,” the coach said. “Come down to the last 30 seconds, we pulled the goalie and made a big rush trying to tie that game up; we just didn’t come out with that win.”

Indus ended up facing off against Chestermere in the A final, with Indus coming out on top. Undaunted, the indefatigable Huskies played against Sylvan Lake in the B division final to win bronze, he said.

“The boys battled back,” he said. “(They) never turned down on themselves and won the B side.”

Simon Ducatel

About the Author: Simon Ducatel

Simon Ducatel joined Mountain View Publishing in 2015 after working for the Vulcan Advocate since 2007, and graduated among the top of his class from the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology's journalism program in 2006.
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