Area players are looking to help the female U18 AAA Westman Wildcats and Yellowhead Chiefs achieve success this season.
The high-level regional squads compete in the Manitoba Female Hockey League. The eight-team loop started regular season play on Oct. 2.
The Wildcats have 13 players back from last season. When asked the team’s strengths, head coach Guy Williams said:
“We have very good team speed. More team size than in previous years. Experience. Leadership.”
Virden’s Emma Ramsey is a versatile forward who can play both centre and on the wing. She had an assist in the Wildcats’ season-opening victory. Williams said that “Emma is a very competitive, intelligent and selfless hockey player.”
The Chiefs return 11 players. Assistant coach Rachel Charles said the team’s strengths early on are “lots of speed throughout the entire team, great passes from the defensive zone all the way into the offensive zone. Our forecheck is strong and we have hard shots coming from our defence and forwards.”
Kasey Fouillard is a centre from Miniota. Charles said that she has “great hands and a hard shot. She battles in the corners helping out the D and brings speed back into the offensive zone. She makes good passes and has good decision making.” Fouillard had a goal through two games this season.
Elkhorn’s Kassidy Johnson is a defensive blue liner for the Chiefs. Charles praised her decision making.
“She has a great first pass coming out of the defensive zone with good positioning,” the assistant coach said. “Kassidy always keeps her head up knowing where the play is and she knows where to put the puck to make that play.”
Up front, Darbi Poole of McAuley plays left wing. She scored a goal on the weekend. Charles said:
“(She) has great hands and control of the puck, making defenders second guess. She is smart with her decisions and knows where to put the puck. Darbi has a hard shot and she is a very hard worker, never giving up on the play.”
Virden’s Dara Thompson also plays on the left wing for the Chiefs. The rookie scored in her first game this season.
“(She) brings a ton of speed with her in a 200-foot game,” Charles said. “She has a great shot and great hands allowing her to beat defenders. Dara is an extremely hard worker never giving up on the play and she is always willing to learn.”