The U18 Westman Wildcats had a very successful campaign in 2021/22 capturing the U18 Provincial AAA Female Hockey League title. The team recently completed their training camp for the coming season and head coach Guy Williams told bdnmb.ca that he is really looking forward to seeing what this team can accomplish. “Our team expectations don’t change from year to year. We expect a ‘First Place Effort’ each and every day we step on the ice.” said Williams. “We expect a team-first approach with a consistent effort and repeatable style of play. If we play the right way every day we will give ourselves a chance to win.”
The team graduated three skaters from last year’s squad (2 defensemen – Makenna Beard and Kelsey Page – and 1 forward – Emma Ramsey) and all 3 were character individuals who formed the team’s leadership group. “They were tremendous leaders by example with a team first mentality and strong work ethic. They played in all situations for us and set a great example for our young team.” Williams noted.
According to Williams, the strengths this season will be their depth up front and their tenacity on the puck everywhere on the ice. The Wildcats will rely on a solid core of returning forwards led by their 4 grade 12 forwards (Hayley Kolosky, Paige Kozak, Brooklyn Franklin, Sophia Anderson) and their playoff MVP goaltender, Grace Glover. Williams added that Grace was invited to the Team Canada u18 Summer Development Camp and will suit up for the second straight year with Team Manitoba. They also return 4 defensemen from last season’s team as well.
Billie Baranyk (05) returns to the team for her final year after a year absence from the program. “We have some exciting newcomers as well led by Paige Crossley (07) and Reese Shutte (08) up front as well as the Blaine twins (Madison-Forward and Haley-Defense, (07’s).”
Prior to the kickoff of the regular season on October 2, the team will play a number of exhibition games in Brandon and then participate in a tournament in Calgary.