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White Busy Despite Hockey Season’s End

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It doesn’t take long to turn the page for coaches when it comes to putting the previous season behind them. Swan Valley Stampeders head coach and general manager Taurean White is already hard at work for next season, even while the 2017-18 MJHL playoffs continue on.
“Right now we’re going to focus on our spring camp,” said White a few days after the Stampeders were swept out of the playoffs by the Steinbach Pistons. “We’re going to make sure we put a lot of time into this camp which is in Brandon April 27-29.
“We want to get some quality players out for that.”
There’s also plenty of hockey to take in for White and the scouting staff, headed up by assistant Darren Webster. Bantam playoffs and provincials, as well as program of excellence spring teams, will provide fertile grounds for draft-eligible players. As well, midget AAA playoffs will give the Stampeders a chance to see their currently-drafted prospects in action.
“We want to make sure we have another great draft - and I felt Darren did an excellent job last year,” noted White. “With me being here, and working on my second season, I want to make sure we put a lot of effort into the draft, which is important for a town like Swan River.”
While looking ahead, White also took another opportunity to look back at the year that was. There will be eight graduating players from last year’s team, and White had something positive to say about each of them.
Shane Roulette – He was one of our best players for the second half of the season. He dropped some weight over the holidays and I was really happy to see him have some success.
Trevor Mann – He was another key member of our team and had a lot of points this year. His goal production really broke out for him. We’re going to miss him.
Keaton Jameson – I can’t say enough good things about him – he’s a special young man. He’s very driven and was committed to this program.
Derek Frater – We got him around Dec. 1, and he fit right in. It felt like we had him all season. He played hard every game and wouldn’t back down from anybody. He was a great energy guy.
Connor Navrot – He was part of our top line, and what made him so special was that he was an unselfish player with the puck on his stick. If guys were open, he’d find them. He just wanted to make sure the goal was scored.
Daniel Chartrand – Came over in the trade deadline, and he was good for us. Brought in some energy, and played with a lot of pride in front of his family. A passionate, intense player, with great confidence.
Taylor Dernyck – He was a very passionate young man, and very positive with his teammates, and always looked at things on the brighter side. He was also very respectful – I always enjoyed talking to him.
Daylin Smallchild – He manned our back end, moved the puck around so well, and quarterbacked our power play.
Losing the top line and a couple of strong defencemen will be tough pieces to replace. But the Stampeders have two capable MJHL goalies eligible to return, several defenseman, and potentially a top point man in the MJHL next year in Josh Tripp. There is real potential for the Stampeders to move from battling for their playoff lives to battling for home ice advantage, but that is going to take a lot of work.
And that work is already under way.

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Derek Holtom
REPORTER
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