This Week’s Warriors:
Senior players in the spotlight!
Coach Austen Hoey - Warriors Boys Hockey Team
This year, the Sioux North Boys Warriors had six grade 12 players on the roster. Myself and the coaching staff would like to highlight what they meant to the team and to the community in a little write up on each of them.
Marcus Bighead: What more can you say about a guy everyone calls “OG”, a leader in the dressing room, pumping up teammates, leading by example, and always having a smile on his face, and a leader on the ice, racking up big minutes on the back end, playing both the Penalty Kill and Power Play. OG was paired with all number of rookies during the season, lending a helping hand in the defensive zone, and keeping the presence calm even when things were getting heated. One of the biggest compliments you can give a defensemen is that if they’re doing their job, you really shouldn’t ever have to think about them, they make a good outlet pass, and the puck is out of danger, and that really is how OG plays. Calm and collected, never worried. We were proud to have him wear an “A” for our club this season. He truly exemplified the heart and spirit of a Warrior. Marcus plans to suit up for the Green, White and Black again next year, and work towards bringing another Championship to Sioux North High School and we couldn’t be happier.
Ben Ropek: The guy we all call “Ropes” isn’t one for a lot of words, unless it’s the occasional awkward dad joke. We loved having Ropes on the squad, another guy who lended a calming presence to a back end that was full of fresh faces. Continually knowing we could throw Ropes and “insert rookie defensemen” out there and be relatively safe defensively is something that you take for granted sometimes, but is the lifeline of a hockey team. Not known for his offensive capabilities, Ropes’ true talents come in his foot speed and his ability to make great outlet passes even when he’s being pressured. A fixture on the penalty kill, Ropes is the type of guy you can always look to for a smile, regardless of the score, and regardless of the situation. We were proud to have him represent us this season with an “A” on his jersey, and are even more proud to have him commit to one final season next year for the Sioux North Warriors.
Ben Lavoie: The boys bought him a hat that read “Captain Clutch” and I don’t think a better phrase encapsulates Benny on the ice. Coming into this rebuilding year, we needed a presence that everyone could look towards, a strong leader that didn’t necessarily need to say very much, but work hard and show the younger guys what a winner looked like. And who better to do that than back to back OT Gold Medal winning goal scorer Ben Lavoie? With one of the best shots I’ve ever seen, and an unbelievable hockey sense, Benny was a guy that I could consistently go to shift after shift, knowing that any time he touched the puck, there was a chance we would score a goal. Line combinations were juggled all season, but one of the few constants was number 7, starting left winger. Always an easy guy to play for, the boys in the room all had an undying respect for the guy in stall number 7, and when he spoke, everyone knew to listen. Myself and the coaching staff could not have picked a better Captain to help work us towards a rebuild and Benny excelled in every area we asked him to: playing injured, double shifting, penalty-kill, power-play, all of it. We’re sad to see you go, but proud of the memories you created wearing number 7. Ben will be going to school next year in Thunder Bay.
Jabez Kakepetum: Definitely the quietest member of our seniors this year. But another guy with championship pedigree that worked his hardest every time he got on the ice. Maybe in his own head a little too much sometimes, Jabez was a guy I could slot in on almost any line whatever the situation called for. He played on all three lines at some point this season, as well as some penalty kill time and some power play time as well. We look forward to having him back next year, and believe he will be a huge asset moving forward for our group.
Malachi Quequish: Mal is a player that maybe thinks the game better than anyone I have ever seen at the High School level, always knows where to be, always asking myself and the coaching staff questions about strategies and tactics, always trying to get better. Normally played the right side on the first line with Ben Lavoie, Mal was a guy I looked to regularly for special team assignments and as a great player to have out late in games due to his defensive responsibility. Many of the younger guys on the team looked up to Mal and were always looking for advice and hanging around number 15’s stall. During our end of year one on one interviews, almost every rookie expressed to me that Mal had taught them at least one new thing for them to work on or some piece of strategy that made them a better player and that is something that is invaluable. We’re really sad to see him go, but this is his last year wearing the Green, White and Black, but I look forward to seeing great things from him in the future and thanks for everything.
Brett Mckay: While not being the biggest or strongest guy, nobody likes to throw their weight around more than number 3. An anchor on our 2nd line between Aiden Chikane and Matt Mckoop, Brett Mckay worked with those guys to develop one of, in my opinion, the most consistent line in the league. One that would on any night, vs any team, compete, get scoring chances and limit defensive zone time. Brett was my number one face off guy, routinely taking defensive zone face offs, and never being afraid to go into the tough areas on the ice. Offensively, nothing seemed to go right for Brett early in the season, but in the second half his hard work and defensive poise led to a few big goals, one of which was scoring a huge goal vs Beaver Brae at a tournament in Fort Frances. We are delighted to have Brett back for a fifth year, and look forward to him going after the biggest guy on every opposing team on his first shift, and setting the tone for the rest of the guys.
Thank you to all of our fans and sponsors that came out to support us this season, and we look forward to succeeding even more in 2020/2021, Go Warriors!