EDMUNDSTON, N.B. – After a perfect training camp in six exhibition games, will the Edmundston Blizzard be able to extend its series of victories in the opening games to five when they face the Miramichi Timberwolves on Thursday evening (7 p.m.) at the Miramichi Civic Center?
One thing is certain, confidence reigns at the start of the campaign for both Edmundston hockey fans and the players of coach Emery Olauson. All the Maritime Junior A Hockey League (MHL) teams are keeping their fingers crossed to ensure that the pandemic conditions do not worsen as they did at the end of the 2019-2020 season (playoffs canceled) and during the last year punctuated by many interruptions and forcing almost all teams to close the books before and during the playoffs.
“I am certain that our players have high expectations of the success of the team continuing,” said Emery Olauson. “I love what I see so far with their work ethic and commitment to development. The sky is the limit for our team. With that being said I think our whole division is going to be tough each night, and whoever gets better every day is going to be successful this year.”
The fact that the Blizzard played six pre-season games compared to just two for the Timberwolves could be a bit of an advantage for the Edmundston team in terms of preparation for the game.
Due to the standings turmoil last season, the Blizzard finished second in the section with a 10-7-0-2 record. The Timberwolves were fourth with a 12-12-2-0 record.
The Blizzard will count on the return of five forwards (Ethan Johnson, Mitchell McLeod, Dylan Lang, Alex Savoie and Jérémy Duguay) and six defensemen (Ben Lightbody, Jérémie Thibodeau, Jesse Chamberlain, Jacob Long, Brendan Sibley, and Vincent Bujold).
Newcomers are forwards Tristan Therrien, Mathieu Pelletier, Peter Amanatidis, Noah Gibbs, Drake Flynn, Blake Richardson, Austin Paul and Tristan Fortin, as well as defenseman Jake Measel and goalkeepers Raphaël Audet and Nicholas Sheehan.
Despite counting on an explosive offense and veteran rearguards, Emery Olauson is taking nothing for granted in this long 52-game season. Some teams will certainly battle at every game.
“It is very early to speculate (on the strength of the other teams), and I in no way want to sell anyone short. Summerside having won the bid to host the Fred Page Cup will certainly be invested in winning. They always do a great job recruiting, developing, and are never going to be easy to play against. As I said our division will be extremely competitive this year,” mentioned Emery Olauson.
The Blizzard will play its first home game on Saturday, October 2nd at 7:30 p.m. hosting the Summerside Western Capitals. Spectators are asked to arrive early due to health checks (presentation of complete immunization document and government ID card) and mask wear. The doors of the Jean-Daigle Centre will open at 6 p.m.
– 30 –
Celebration after the last goal in the Blizzard preseason games, on September 18. The MHL kicks off its new campaign Thursday night with two games including the one between the Blizzard and the Miramichi Timberwolves. Photo Percy Picard
– 30 –
Source: Hugues Chiasson, vice-president communications – The Edmundston Blizzard; (506) 740-0623 – cell phone