After years of cheering for the Virden Oil Capitals, Dexter Whittle has earned the opportunity to play for his hometown junior hockey team.
Last week the son of Alana George Whittle and Clifford Whittle signed a letter of intent to suit up for the Oil Caps for the 2021-2022 season. The 16-year-old defenceman was a 2019 auto-protect pick for the Manitoba Junior Hockey League club.
“Signing with the Oil Caps has always been a dream of mine so getting the opportunity to sign was exciting,” Whittle said. “Not often do you get the opportunity to play junior hockey in your home town.”
The Oil Caps are pleased to add the 5-foot-9, 175-pounder.
“Not only is he a hometown guy, he is developing into a very, very good player,” Virden head coach Tyson Ramsey said on the team’s website. “He brings so many things to the table as a player. He defends well, he has the ability to make plays and he plays a grinding, in your face kind of game that wears the other team down. Dex brings excellent character and work ethic and he will be a welcome addition to our back end. We can’t wait to get him in an Oil Caps jersey.”
In eight games this winter Whittle had two goals and six points for the U18 AAA Southwest Cougars, whose season is currently paused. He served as an assistant captain for the team. He was a late cut from the Oil Caps in the fall.
“In the preseason games that I played the game felt quicker and there was less time and space with the puck,” Whittle said of his impression of play in the MJHL. “I look forward to playing in front of a hometown crowd and experience what it is like playing junior hockey.”
Whittle lives on his family’s farm seven miles west of Virden. He has watched the Oil Capitals since they moved from Winnipeg to the Virden when he was in Grade 2.
“I have looked up to many Oil Caps over the years and I was lucky to have a few live with us as billets,” Whittle said.
Oil Caps add Buydens
The Virden junior team has also inked 16-year-old Carson Buydens from Gladstone. In the 2019 MJHL Draft, the Oil Caps traded up to grab Buydens second overall. Ramsey said the team is excited to have the 6-foot-1, 175-pound forward commit for next season.
“We believe Carson will be a great player in this league and I am very eager to work with him every day,” the Virden bench boss said on the team’s website. “He has tremendous character and has a real passion for the game. He is a big strong guy that has the ability to play in all situations. He makes plays, and his hockey IQ is very high. Carson will develop into a leader on this team and we are very proud to have him become an Oil Cap.”
This season Buydens had two goals and four points in five games for the U18 AAA Central Plains Capitals before the pause.