The Cold Lake Wings are ready to play at Imperial Oil Place for their first regular season game tonight.
The four team expansion league Western Provinces Hockey Association season began last weekend and the Wings split those matches for a record of 1-1.
Tonight, they play the Meadow Lake Mustangs who they haven’t seen yet in the regular season.
The roster is slight. Only three full forward lines and six defencemen. However, the net is shored up with the regular tandem of Brendan Culbertson-Bond and Max Gaudet.
The Wings just pulled a trade with the Bellingham Blazers for forwards Danny McLean and Kieran White, who both skated with the team for the first time yesterday.
“They give us some depth on our four forward lines. They’ll be good penalty-killers, chip in for some offence, being tough to play against,” said Coach Jonathan Aitken.
Aitken asked his team after the 4-3 comeback victory against Hinton what they wanted the Wings identity to be.
Their answer: hard-working and physical.
“Our practices are a lot harder than the games, and that’s how we want them to measure up for the practices. If I’m not doing my job pushing the pace, being physical, speed through the neutral zone, shots on net, if we’re creating opportunities we’re moving our feet,” he said.
Czech defenceman Pavel Simak is still finding his way, but he does have that “European flair” to his game that could draw some attention.
“He’s still feeling his way around things and getting some familiarity with the guys. He’s had two games and all the d-corps there’s stuff to work on and we’ve paid attention to those details in the last four days of practice,” Aitken said.
The team is still getting acquainted with each other, but with practices almost every day and weekend games Aitken thinks the team coming together will not be an issue.
The Meadow Lake Mustangs are 0-2 to start the season. They are coming off a 28-1 – that’s right – to the Edson Aeros.
Puck drop is at 7:30pm.
“I think it’s going to be another opportunity for these guys to show the fans that come out, they’re here to work hard…I just want to make sure these guys are prepared.”