When Keagan Morrison and Brett Paddock joined the Virden Oil Capitals, they knew that there would be at least one familiar face.
The two 18-year-old Brandon products have been hockey teammates for 11 years. Their families are good friends. For much of their hockey careers, they competed against fellow Wheat City player Dylan Halliday. The trio played together the past couple of seasons and are now rookie teammates in Virden.
“Being on the Oil Caps with past teammates Brett and Dylan is great. … We have good chemistry built in, we know each other well, and we have lots of fun together,” Morrison said.
A 6-foot, 182-pound forward, Paddock helps the Oil Capitals in various ways up front. As of Sunday, he has seven goals and 23 points in 33 games.
“He is just a good hockey player period,” Virden head coach Troy Leslie said. “200 feet. Works hard. Kills penalties. Can be on the power play.”
The Oil Caps bench boss also said that Paddock sees the ice well, thinks the game, and works hard away from the rink. Leslie can see him being a leader down the road.
Morrison is “kind of a shutdown guy” on the backend, Leslie said. The 6-foot-1, 180-pound defenceman has four assists in 36 games. He also had an assist while playing two games for Dauphin before being traded to Virden early this season.
“He makes a good first pass and he is good at getting pucks on net,” said Leslie, who emphasized that Morrison has shown a lot of improvement since coming to the team.
Moving from midget AAA to the Junior A ranks has required adjustments on and off the ice for Morrison and Paddock.
“Moving away from home into someone else’s house was probably the biggest change between midget AAA and junior hockey,” Morrison said. “I’ve adjusted my game to bring it up to the faster and stronger junior level of play. I’ve had to become more independent and take care of myself more whether that’s getting more sleep or going to the gym.”
He billets with Ian and Elaine Glendinning. Paddock lives with Ryan, Kelly and Lily Potter. Both players are having fun in Virden.
“My time with the Oil Capitals has been great so far,” Paddock said. “We are such a tight-knit group, which makes going to the rink every day so much fun. Also, being involved with the community and giving back to our fans is a really special feeling.”