The Nipawin Hawks are in the Pas, Manitoba tonight to face the OCN Blizzard in their second exhibition game. The game will not be broadcast but all 3 of this weekends games will be, stay tuned for the link!
Here is the Nipawin Hawks season preview as done by my friend Branden Crowe!
2011 was a year to remember for the Nipawin Hawks that included a 10-1 start to the season, a top ten CJHL Ranking, their first playoff birth in three years and an unbelievable seven game battle with the Battlefords North Stars in the Bauer Conference semi-final.
What could top that you ask? How about an SJHL Championship?
Some fans may chuckle at that idea but the Hawks are in a legitimate position to make some noise in the Bauer Conference and take a run at the Canalta Cup.
With 17 players eligible to return including the SJHL’s top netminder from last season, the 34 win team from one year ago virtually remains in tact.
Up front the Hawks return eleven forwards including Wheaton King, Jesse Bernard and Taylor Balog. Those three are expected to carry most of the offensive workload but when you sprinkle in a healthy Tad Kozun, a heavier Mitch Doell and the always dangerous Justin Waskewich the Hawks have several bodies that know how to score.
Defensively, Captain Jeff Datoff will anchor a veteran core that includes Grant Jensen, Keenan Martens and Eric Bollefer. Big man on campus Jesse Williamson appears to have fully recovered from a shoulder injury and will once again be relied on to log big minutes on the back end.
In net it will once again be the Davis Jones show. The reigning SJHL Goaltender of the Year is back for more and based on his playoff performance against the Stars, he is desperate for an SJ title. If Jones can mirror his performance from last season he will certainly be in the running to defend his goalie of the year honors.
His backup is quite possibly the biggest question in Nipawin. With Taran Kozun cracking the Kamloops Blazers roster and goalie prospect Austin Rediron getting dealt to Weyburn for Taylor Balog the cupboard is looking pretty bare.
Several goalies came to camp trying to earn their way onto the team and it appears the former Beardy’s Blackhawk Regan Santoro may have the slight edge at this point but at this point, your guess is as good as mine.
The Hawks will play 8 pre-season games before kicking off their season on Friday, September 21st in La Ronge. Every single Hawks road game can be heard on CK750 this season.