Junior Selects Prepare for Playoff Push


The Eastman Junior Selects, of the AAA Midget City League, are getting ready for a big playoff push. With a record of 23–12–1, the team is currently tied for second place.

The Selects boast a roster of 19 players, including two former Niverville Clippers, Micah Funk and Denis Gagnon. Other players hail from Île-des-Chênes, Lorette, Dominion City, Steinbach, Grunthal, Oakbank, Ste. Anne, Ste. Agathe, and Lac du Bonnet. All players were born in either 2001 or 2002.

The Midget City League consists of six teams, four of which are from Winnipeg. The only other rural squad is the Interlake Lightning.

The team is led by head coach Jon Lawrence and assistant coaches Ben Townsend and Hub Blanchette, all from Steinbach, which also serves as home ice. They practice twice a week in addition to dryland training.

For the playoffs, all games will shift to the Iceplex throughout the month of March.

On January 15, seven players were selected for the Midget AAA All-Star Game, held at the Winnipeg Iceplex. These include Cole St. Laurent, Denis Gagnon, Ethan McColm, Maddux Mateychuk, Kade Runke, Drayden Kurbatoff, and Riley Plett.

In addition to the all-star game honour, these seven players have all been drafted or are currently on a team’s protected list in the WHL (Western Hockey League) or the MJHL (Manitoba Junior Hockey League).

Once playoffs are done, the next step for these players will be getting ready for those teams’ spring camps. From there, they’ll be notified whether they’ve received an invitation to attend the main camp come fall.

If players aren’t invited to the fall training camp, they’ll be assigned back to their AAA regional team for further seasoning. Lots of commitment is needed from these kids while still maintaining good grades at school.

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