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Retreaded Mustangs set for 2015/16 season

A lot happened with the Mustangs during the offseason. Long before a single jersey was donned in a game, the Whitehorse rep hockey club changed hands, a new team was created and another dropped.

A lot happened with the Mustangs during the offseason.

Long before a single jersey was donned in a game, the Whitehorse rep hockey club changed hands, a new team was created and another dropped.

Hockey Yukon took stewardship the Mustangs organization from the Whitehorse Minor Hockey Association, during the offseason.

“We agreed to that because everything was on Whitehorse Minor’s plate in years gone by, so they did house league as well as Mustangs and basically everything,” said Hockey Yukon president Russ Smoler. “Being a sport governing body, we felt it was best that any of the teams representing Yukon would come under Hockey Yukon.”

As a result, the Atom Jr. Mustangs program has been dropped since the team does not represent Yukon at the B.C. Hockey Provincials, which do not offer an atom division.

“It’s not going to be a Mustangs team per se because (Hockey Yukon) only does the teams that go to provincials and there’s no atom provincials,” said Smoler.

With the creation of a U-16 Mustangs team for elite 15-year-olds, the Mustangs club still has five teams going this season.

The minor midget team was created during the offseason to prevent the exodus of top young hockey players the territory sees each season. Last season a dozen midget-age players left Yukon to play on Tier 1 and 2 teams or hockey academies down south instead of playing for the Tier 3 Mustangs.

The new elite team is being worked like dogs. They have practice every weekday morning, three sessions of dry-land training a week, a Sunday systems practice and Monday evening exhibition games.

“It’s an effort to give the kids an experience similar to what they would receive at one of the prep schools,” said head coach Martin Lawrie. “We’re not in it to make money like the prep schools. It’s a cost-recovery things, so it’s significantly more affordable than having your kid at Pursuit of Excellence or Okanagan Hockey Academy.”

The team was opened to elite players from Canada’s three territories, northern B.C. and Alaska, and Hockey Yukon has gotten a few bites so far. Three B.C. players have moved to Whitehorse for the team with forwards Dion Fowler and Anthony Louie from Smithers and Goalie Tyler Lindstrom from Prince George.

The team currently has eight forwards, four defence and two goalies.

“I’d probably like to grab one more D and one more forward,” said Lawrie. “We’ve got to January, ultimately. We’ve got some local kids out of town that may come back. We have kids ranging from Quesnel to Vanderhoof to Prince George who have expressed interest in our program ... Another five or six families have been in touch with me and haven’t ruled this out by any means.”


Female Mustangs building a goalie

The Female Mustangs will have a new goalie in net this season - a new new goalie.

The Female Mustangs’ two goalies from last year have moved on, and the team, which has just eight returning players, is developing a new player for between the pipes.

“We’re starting anew, meaning that we’ve lost a lot of our older players,” said head coach Louis Bouchard. “And we have no goalie, so we’re building a goalie this year ... We’re working with Ashton Clooten, who is originally from Haines Junction. And actually this week a player came forward and said she was hoping to try - Georgia Musil from Whitehorse.”

As is often the case, the midget squad contains good representation from Yukon communities. The roster includes three from Haines Junction, one from Dawson City, one from Burwash Landing, two from Teslin and, for the first time since 2007, a player from Watson Lake with winger Anna Lund.


Burgeoning bantams ready to roll

The Bantam Mustangs will have youth on their side this season.

“We’re younger this year for sure,” said head coach Kirk Gale. “Our goalie is Dawson Smith and he’s actually a peewee ... And four of our defence are all first-years and we have four forwards who are first-years. So we have eight first-years and one peewee.”

The U-16 team is not playing in the Whitehorse rec league this year, but the bantam team doesn’t have a blank schedule. The squad has more tournaments scheduled than any of the other Mustang teams. They will play a tourney in Osoyoos, B.C. at the end of the month and Kelowna, B.C. the end of November. The Bantam Mustangs will then be hometown favourites at the Whitehorse Minor Hockey Association’s third annual International Showdown at the start of December.

“The team is selected for the most part,” said Gale, who coached the Peewee Mustangs last year. “There are some kids who will be on the Bantam Mustangs team that are playing on the (elite) U-16 team they’ve made. I think there are four of them who are not playing with us at present, but will be whether we go to the Arctic (Winter Games) or the provincial (championships in March).”


Midget Mustangs back from the dead

With a dozen midget-age Whitehorse players leaving the territory for other teams last year, there was no Midget Mustangs team last season. As a result, Whitehorse was forced to forfeit hosting duties of the B.C. Tier 3 midget hockey championships.

But not only was there a good turnout for September’s tryouts, head coach Kerry Pettitt is pleased with the talent the group showed.

“We had a pretty good turnout. I think we had close to 30 guys, actually,” said Pettitt. “It’s kind of interesting walking into the group. I think it’s a fairly deep, talented team and probably one of the better teams I’ve coached with respect to depth.”

While the Midget Mustangs are back on the ice after missing a season, the head coach is back after missing two. Pettitt last coached with the Mustangs organization in the 2012/13 season - also with the midgets.


Peewees with wins already

The Peewee Mustangs already have tournament wins under their belt. The Tier 3 rep hockey team opened the season playing Tier 2 in the 13th annual Seafair International Ice Breaker Rep Tournament in Richmond, B.C., over the weekend.

The Mustangs produced a pair of wins to place fourth out of eight teams.

“Being Tier 3 going into a Tier 2 tournament, you’re not sure what to expect,” said head coach Trevor Matthews. “You know you’re going to meet some really, really strong teams. But we were going with the expectation that we could compete with them and we definitely did.”

Contact Tom Patrick at


Peewee Mustangs

Sawyer Adams (F)

Ty Beacon (F)

Hugo Burgess (F)

Connor Cooper (D)

Cole Cowan (D)

Connor Cozens (D)

Orion Cruikshank (F)

Mason Driscoll (G)

Errol Eckholm (F)

Quinn Howard (G)

Sasha Jirousek (D)

Nolan Matthews (D)

Landon Marsh (F)

Joshua Schenk (F)

Joey Schultz (F)

Ryder Twardochleb (D)

Ashton Underhill (F)

Joshua Wallness (G)

Bantam Mustangs

Bryce Anderson (F)

Josh Austin (F)

Aimery Barrault (D)

Oscar Burgess (D)

Kyron Crosby (F)

Saul Gale (F)

Marco Harwood (D)

Liam Hudson (D)

Wyatt Peterson (F)

Eric Potvin (F)

Oscar Sawicki (F)

Kyle Schwantz (D)

Dawson Smith (G)

Brett Walchuk (D)

Isaac Williamson (F)

Josh Zaccerelli (F)


U16 Mustangs

Mackenzie Benn-Wipp (F)

Oscar Burgess (F)

Kyron Crosby (F)

Johnny Elias (F)

Dion Fowler (F)

Cameron Gingell (D)

Dylan Kindervater (F)

Niall Lawrie (D)

Kailem Letto (D)

Tyler Lindstrom (G)

Anthony Louie (F)

Ethan Vanderkley (G)

Brett Walchuk (D)

Female Mustangs

Ashton Clooten (G)

Gracie Ekholm (F)

Kathleen Fordham (F)

Emily Grantham (F)

Shania Hogan (D)

Monica Johnson (D)

Ecko Kirk (F)

Anna Lund (F)

Haley McConnell (D)

Samantha McLeod (D)

Emma Morin (F)

Joy Morin (F)

Georgia Musil (AP)

Maddie Nicholson (F)

Hannah Nordlund (F)

Cayman Oestreich (D)

Isabelle Oestreich (F)

Destiny Taylor (F)


Midget Mustangs

Jack Blisner (D)

Matthew Braga (F)

Matthew Butler (F)

Mathew Cooper (F)

Nick Dobush (F)

Ryan Edwards (D)

Tynan Hope (F)

Haiden Kremer (D)

Spencer Lessard (F)

Sam Logan (D)

Ryan MacDonald (D)

Caleb Marsh (F)

Mark McGrath (D)

Jarrett Peterson (F)

Roy Sinclair-Eckert (G)

Devon Troke (G)

Ryan Troke (F)