The Virden Oil Capitals banquet brought the community together to celebrate the fun and achievements of the town’s MJHL team on Tuesday, Feb. 25.
Goaltending coach Ryan Potter emceed the evening. Twelve awards were bestowed upon the players, and five graduating players were honoured following the awards.
With a show of support, the players and their parents, billet families, fans, supporters and Oil Caps staff filled the Sunrise Banquet Hall in TOGP.
Head coach Tyson Ramsey spoke of the strong community of helpers, the coaching staff, trainers and office staff, right up to the ownership group and board of governors who work to make the Caps a very successful Manitoba Junior Hockey League team.
The coach thanked the marketing partners, mentioning oil and agriculture. He also acknowledged the fans. “Consistently we are in the top three average attendance. You have no idea what it means to our players to play in front of a rink that has people in it every night. Certainly that’s not the case in some of the arenas in the league.”
Ramsey praised the billet families, “You give [our boys] the absolute best chance to succeed on the ice.”
To the parents, he said, “Thank you for raising such respectful boys.”
Ramsey pointed out that it’s a more hectic schedule for players now than when he played junior hockey. “We practised twice a week and that was about it. Now, many of the players are working or going to school, plus volunteering in the community while keeping up their work-outs and practices.”
He said thank you to the team “for giving me some of the proudest moments in my short coaching career. …I feel like the best is yet to come.”
Ramsey applauded their skills and play but said, “yes we’re going to strive to win championships every year, but I think if we churn out great people who are going to be successful, that’s what we’re looking for.”
Team captain Kolten Kanaski says goodbye
The team captain, #29 Kolen Kanaski spent his junior career playing for the Oil Caps. He’s now on the homestretch with the Caps, looking for success in the playoffs.
He said, “Four years of my life have just flown by. It seems surreal to think that my junior hockey career is coming to an end. Time flies when you’re having fun and I’ve had a ton of fun playing in this town, becoming part of the community and playing in front of some of the best fans in the MJHL.”
He recounted the glory of playoff season 2018 and the energy on the ice and in the stands.
“I will never forget the run to the finals in 2018 when this place was packed wall to wall. I just wish we could have brought home a championship in that season, because our fans in this community deserve it.
“But I do have one more chance.”
He thanked his coaches, team mates, billets and his family and the people of Virden, who “have had a profound effect on my life.”