Advertisement

Nighthawks Beginning to Take Shape

Share:

Nighthawks Crop2
Players put on Nighthawks jerseys for last month's Junior ID Camp. Scott Stroh

Over the last month, a lot has been happening with the Niverville Nighthawks.

The Nighthawks held their first-ever Junior ID Camp from April 20–22, an event which featured many players who are going to be vying for a spot in the line-up when training camp begins in the fall.

Signed players who attended the camp include Devin Benson, Carter Spirig, Eric Martin, and Jack Lambert.

“The first camp we had was kind of unique,” says Nighthawks head coach and general manager Kelvin Cech. “We called it a Junior ID camp for our players that we committed to already and older players as well. It was just a tight camp to see these guys in action, so that was super cool and something you don’t do every season. But it was a big success, and it was amazing to see our team in its colours for the first time on the ice.”

The Nighthawks then hosted a Spring ID Camp from May 5–8. This event was composed of primarily local Manitoba players who were born between 2004 and 2007.

“The second camp was more of a traditional Junior A spring camp, with more younger Manitoba players, and a small army of scouts and coaches,” says Cech. “This was a way for the organization to start to build a database of younger Manitobans for the future.”

In building its inaugural team, the Nighthawks staff has had to search far and wide to fill out its roster for the upcoming 2022–23 season, as most of the top-end talent in Manitoba has already been claimed by other MJHL teams.

One new addition to the team is recently signed forward Taylor Haggerty. The six-foot 18-year-old Haggerty has spent the last two seasons developing with the OHA Edmonton U18 Prep team and is excited at the prospect of coming to Manitoba to play Junior A hockey.

“With the list system in Manitoba, each team has a 50-man protected list, so a lot of the top-end talent has already been claimed for,” explains Cech. “But there’s still lots of talent out there for sure. Our strategy has been to go out of province and find some older guys who are done with minor hockey and done with the U18 level to help make us competitive from the start. Players like Taylor Haggerty and those 2004-born players will get a good opportunity to compete for a spot in the lineup. We really believe in them and think they can chip in right away on our team.”

Cech and his staff have been working hard over the past few months to find players who will fit into the Nighthawks mould.

“My assistant GM Mike McAulay and I from day one want the best players possible, of course,” he adds. “But more importantly than that, we want the best people. We’ve been looking for character first and foremost and compete. All of these guys that we’ve committed to, that’s what they’ve got, because if it were easy, every team would be in the Centennial Cup like the Dauphin Kings right now. But it’s not easy! So we need guys that can chip away and be resilient when things don’t totally go our way.”

The next big step for the Nighthawks organization is the upcoming 2022 MJHL Draft, which will be held on June 4. The draft will take place online, and all selections will be made known to the public in real-time.

As previously announced in 2021, the MJHL Draft has moved from a U16 draft (formerly the Bantam Draft) to a U17 draft, highlighting players who are going into their 16-year-old season. Players who will be eligible for the MJHL Draft are those who are registered to play hockey in Manitoba according to Hockey Manitoba regulations and are in their sixteenth year, meaning they were born in 2006.

“The MJHL Draft is like Christmas for our Mike McAulay,” says Cech. “For our franchise, it’s the first time that we can stake our claim and make sure we can get good 2006-born prospects.”

The exciting thing for the Nighthawks is that these future draft picks can potentially step in and play next year.

“Traditionally, the draft has been a year earlier, so they wouldn’t be able to play,” he adds. “So the 2006-born players can now step into the lineup next season, which is super awesome. We’ve set up a bit of a war room for the draft, and the day goes by really quickly. It’s intense. You want to make the right picks, but we’ve got a list, and as long as we trust and stick by that list, then we should do fine.”

Advertisement
More SPORTS & RECREATION

IDC Sisters Pursuing Lacrosse Dream for Team Manitoba

In August, two sisters from Île-des-Chênes will represent Manitoba at the Canada Summer Games, competing for the province’s female box lacrosse team. It will be the sport’s first-ever...

Read more

In August, two sisters from Île-des-Chênes will represent Manitoba at the Canada Summer Games, competing for the province’s female box lacrosse team. It will be the sport’s first-ever...

Read more

Don Dulder Named to Volleyball Manitoba Hall of Fame

On June 12, Volleyball Manitoba recognized the lifetime achievements of Don Dulder, head coach of the Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) Blazers volleyball team and former Phys Ed teacher and...

Read more

On June 12, Volleyball Manitoba recognized the lifetime achievements of Don Dulder, head coach of the Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) Blazers volleyball team and former Phys Ed teacher and...

Read more
Advertisement

Undefeated Eastman U15 Wildcats Win Big in Regina

In the midst of perfect season, the U15AAA Eastman Wildcats softball team recently attended the President’s Tournament in Saskatoon and came away from the event as champions with four wins and...

Read more

In the midst of perfect season, the U15AAA Eastman Wildcats softball team recently attended the President’s Tournament in Saskatoon and came away from the event as champions with four wins and...

Read more

Nighthawks Add Ten Players at 2022 MJHL Draft

Last weekend, the expansion Niverville Nighthawks added ten new players to their organization at the 2022 MJHL Draft. Holding the fourth overall pick, Niverville selected defenceman Avery...

Read more

Last weekend, the expansion Niverville Nighthawks added ten new players to their organization at the 2022 MJHL Draft. Holding the fourth overall pick, Niverville selected defenceman Avery...

Read more
Advertisement

Niverville Rec Announces Youth and Adult Summer Programs

Adults and youth of Niverville will have no excuse to sit on their backsides during the lazy months of summer. The town’s recreation department has made sure of this by preparing a full line-up of...

Read more

Adults and youth of Niverville will have no excuse to sit on their backsides during the lazy months of summer. The town’s recreation department has made sure of this by preparing a full line-up of...

Read more

Niverville Force Move to Higher Division for Second Season

Soccer season is here again and the Niverville Force are ready to hit the pitch. The Force, formed just last year, played their inaugural season in the Manitoba Major Soccer League’s third...

Read more

Soccer season is here again and the Niverville Force are ready to hit the pitch. The Force, formed just last year, played their inaugural season in the Manitoba Major Soccer League’s third...

Read more
Advertisement

Kids Programming to Run Nonstop in Niverville this Summer

The summer break is almost here and kids are excited for the two-month recess. For parents, though, it may be a different story. They may dread hearing the phrase “I’m bored,” a familiar...

Read more

The summer break is almost here and kids are excited for the two-month recess. For parents, though, it may be a different story. They may dread hearing the phrase “I’m bored,” a familiar...

Read more
Time until next issue
Citizen Poll

Are you concerned that the new rules for paramedic accreditation could negatively impact service at the local level?

For related article, see link below.
https://nivervillecitizen.com/...