The Cold Lake Wings took to the ice for the first time at Imperial Oil Place over the weekend in exhibition action. The newly formed team faced off against the Edson Aeros on Friday evening, falling 11-1 and the Hinton Wildcats on Sunday, falling 7-4.
Head Coach for the club, Jonathan Aitken says the weekend served as a first opportunity for many of the players to play with one another.
“We threw a couple guys in the fire. They haven’t skated with us at all in the previous week or so. We have a lot of work ahead of us,” coach Aitken explained.
The Wings are part of the Western States Tier II Hockey League (WSHL). The league, which has been around for 25 seasons, expanded into Alberta and Saskatchewan this year, with eight teams.
“We’re building something from scratch, in a short period of time.” The club began signing players at the beginning of August.
Training camp officially kicked off on September 14th, giving the Wings just over a week to prepare for the exhibition season.
“We had a limited number of players, not as many as we’d like.” Coach Aitken said one of the biggest hurdles for the team is securing players, “at the same time, we’re attracting a high caliber of players. Ones that we are being patient to wait for.”
The coach anticipates that a few more players will be added to the roster for this week.
There are some elements that the team will be focusing on going into this upcoming weekend. The coach said cleaning up the play with be a big focus at practice. “We need to work on not giving up the puck too easily, we were sloppy in our own end.”
To help with the process, coach said there are some team building exercises planned for the upcoming weeks. “Once guys get to know each other off the rink, things will come.”
“It’s a long season, we just have to make sure we nip the mistakes quick as they come.” The goal for the season will be to compete said the coach.
The Wings will take on the Meadow Lake Mustangs Friday evening at Imperial Oil Place. Puck drops at 7:30 pm.