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Please be advised there will be no further ice times scheduled for the Rangers. Please check your emails and the website because we may try and arrange a couple of ice times the last week in March.



Future looks bright for Rangers as they look to next season

By Doug Zywina

Herald Reporter

The Manitoba AAA Midget Hockey League season is over for the Parkland Rangers.

The season came to an end with three losses on home ice, a 7-4 setback to the Central Plains Capitals, Wednesday, a 6-4 loss to the Yellowhead Chiefs, Friday, and a 4-2 loss to the Pembina Valley Hawks, Saturday.

The Rangers end the season with an 11-29-2-2 record and finished 16 points out of the playoffs.

Rangers coach Doug Hedley noted the Rangers had eight of their 11 wins on the road.

“We may be trying to do too much at home. It was just one of those things where we maybe didn’t have all three components of our game going at home. But at the same time, I don’t think our work ethic was ever doubted. A lot of the times, we worked hard,” he said.

The commitment to the AAA program was there throughout the season, Hedley noted.

“As tough as it is to have that many losses, it’s been an unbelievable year as far as the group getting along, as far as the work ethic in practice. They loved to be Rangers, they want to be Rangers and the commitment is here now,” he said.

If there is one word that can describe Parkland’s season, it would be frustration. Of the 33 losses, 13 were by one goal.

With the team’s work ethic, Hedley feels the Rangers are as good as almost any team in the league.

“We outworked Interlake three times and lost by a goal. Outworked and outchanced. And didn’t get a goal at the right time,” he said.

“And there’s no other team in the league that is carrying nine 15-year-olds. And four of them are on the backend. So it makes a big difference. It’s a learning process. It’s a work in progress.”

Almost the entire defensive corps is eligible to return next season, as well as goalie Brett Evans. Depending on what happens at junior camps in the fall, the Rangers could have most of their top two lines back, as well.

It was not all doom and gloom for Parkland. Perhaps the biggest highlight of the season came, Nov. 30, when the Rangers beat the Winnipeg Wild for the first time ever, a 2-1 decision in Winnipeg.

“Not many teams have done that this year. Our goaltender stood on his head. (Connor) Shaw was outstanding. But it was a team effort and we deserved what we got,” Hedley said.

Hedley has enjoyed his three years with the Rangers, but as far as returning next year, he was non-committal.

“It’s hard to say right now. I’ve really enjoyed my time with the Rangers,” he said.

“I think the commitment to the crest is there, the pride in wearing the sweater. The guys want to be here. There wasn’t a player in this region that we didn’t have this year that could have been here. We had the best talent that was here. There’s other guys that, hopefully, can step in next year as 17-year-olds that worked hard this year. But for the most part, we had guys here that bought in, that wanted to play. And the 15-year-olds are going to get nothing but better.”

With that in mind, Hedley feels the AAA program has a bright future, whether he is back or not. But for the program to continue its success, it needs to start earlier, Hedley said.

“The program wants to get started a lot earlier next year. They want to get started at a point where it’s early August or the middle of August at the latest. Get some teaching in early, playing a lot of exhibition games, maybe out of province in Saskatchewan,” he said.

“If you go 10-2 right off the hop, you’re in the playoffs. The earlier you can get started, the sooner you can get those AAA (bantams) coming up and learning how to play within a team structure. We get some bantams that come up and they’re used to just chasing the puck. So the structure we need is there, the hard work is there, now it’s got to be smart. And it shouldn’t take three months for that to happen. So we want to get started a lot earlier. With the young guys coming up and the talent and the skill level that is there, it’s going to be an exciting year next year.”

The Rangers lose seven players to graduation from the midget ranks – goalie Connor Shaw, defenceman Taran Lacquette and forwards Cody Ellingson, Kyle Doak, Ian Ferguson, Chandler Ashcroft and Shaquille Houle.


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Friday, November 22
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Thursday, December 12
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