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Regina rookies help Oil Caps succeed

The Queen City has been very good to the Virden Oil Capitals this season.

Three rookies from the Regina Pat Canadians U18 AAA program are contributing while learning the ropes of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League. Noel Englot and Rhett Platt help the Oil Caps up front while Wyatt Homeniuk contributes on the blueline.

“The three kids we brought in from Regina have had an immediate positive impact on our team in a number of different ways,” Virden head coach Tyson Ramsey said. “Most importantly, they brought a tremendous work ethic and energy to our practices and games. They have been very well coached in the past and understand the game very well. They are great kids off the ice, and we are very fortunate to have all three of them here with us. They are going to be a very big part of the success we have this season and beyond.”

As of Monday, Englot was ninth on the Oil Caps in scoring. The 6-foot, 180-pound forward has four goals and 11 points in 17 games. The 6-foot-1, 178-pound Platt has collected an assist in five games. On defence, Homeniuk has four assists in eight appearances. He recorded three helpers in a win over the Winnipeg Blues in October. Moving to the junior level from U18 AAA is definitely a step up.

“I would say some things that are different from AAA is that the players in the league are bigger, faster, stronger and I don’t have as much time and space as before,” Platt said.

Growing up, Homeniuk and Platt played against each other in spring hockey and later were teammates at various levels in the winter. Englot grew up on a farm about 45 minutes from Weyburn and played high-level hockey in that community. He competed against Regina teams before moving to that city in 2020. The trio were all teammates last season. The former Pat Canadians are happy to be reunited as junior rookies in Virden.

“I think the best thing is just knowing some people before coming here and having some familiar faces and also playing on a new team with them learning about junior hockey together,” Englot said.

Homeniuk and Englot billet in the Hargrave area with Greg and Cathy Tough. Platt lives with Matthew and Carrie Tapp. They appreciate the support of their billets and the rest of the community.

“I’ve enjoyed how much the community of Virden supports us by coming out to every game and cheering loud and if you go out in town and someone recognizes you, they love to know how you’re doing and what’s going on so that’s really sweet,” Homeniuk said. “Also, the group of guys we have are super good. Everyone’s close so it makes coming to the rink everyday even better.”

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