Borrowing a page out of the playbook of the Philadelphia Flyers and Boston Bruins from the 1970’s, the Rez Kings last year used a combination of toughness (Jon Mirasty, Derek Parker) and skill (Darren Reid, Ryan Pilon, Dustin Perillat) to capture the Men’s Senior Division at the Dakota Nation Winterfest’s annual hockey tournament. This year they are returning in 2018 in hopes of repeating their championship run and capturing the $15,000 first place prize money.
In preparation for this years tournament Leighton Axelson tells bdnmb.ca “this year, we had alot more time to get this team together and everyone is looking forward to coming back.” Their final roster is still pending however they will be coming back with the same core, give or take a few guys. According to Axelson they will be looking at adding a few new guys as well prior to the tournament getting underway. “With work, families and other commitments its always been a challenge to get all the guys together for this particular tournament” he added. This same core of players also enters a team annually in the Oskana Cup tournament held each summer in Regina.
Axelson believes that “this a great tournament and every team is capable of winning any given game so we expect an even tougher competition this year.” When asked what he felt it would take to repeat as champions in 2018 he replied “I would say we need to come into the first game with the same humble attitude and work ethic we had last year and go from there”.
The tournament get underway on Friday, January the 26th. Others team competing include the Norway House Bruins, Fisher River Terriers, Peguis Mohawks, Ochapowce Thunder and a team from Animozeebeeng.