Wolves to open season in Kincardine

Ripley signs Hamilton, Scheel and Lang

By Josh Howald

The new-look Ripley Wolves will open the 2017-18 WOAA Senior AA regular season in Kincardine Oct. 7.

Jason Hamilton last season playing against the Wolves in Ripley. (Independent file photo/Howald)

The Wolves will take on the rival Saugeen Shores Winterhawks at 5:15 p.m. at the Davidson Centre as part of the Hockey Day in Kincardine festivities.

"We have a lot of new local faces," said Ripley coach Dustin Catto. "We have added more youth, and we have a lot of ex-Bulldogs and other players from the (Provincial Junior Hockey League's Pollock Division)."

Ripley has been working out for several weeks, and have certainly signed some good young talent. Making their senior hockey debuts this season will be former Bulldogs standouts Gerrit Satosek and Mike Osadca, as well as big forward Pat Looby, a former Mitchell Hawk and Stratford Culliton. Andrew Welsh, Wendel Cameron and Nick Seiler have all also signed with the Wolves.

Catto said there are a handful of other players that the Wolves hope to add, but have yet to sign cards.

Ben Scheel and Jordan Lang are thought to be two players in that group, as well as potential players who just came available last week with the Mapleton-Minto 81's being granted a one-year leave of absence from the league.

Catto said that Jordan Turcotte is now committed to playing on a full-time basis, and as of Nov. 1, defenceman Matt Mah will also be a regular in the line-up.

Helping Catto on the bench is former professional Brent Walton. Walton, who retired due to knee problems, has been skating with the Wolves and could end up playing with the team depending on his health.

With no players leaving or retiring, it is going to make some tough choices down the road for the Wolves.

As mentioned, Oct. 7 is Hockey Day in Kincardine. A full schedule of games is on deck between Kincardine and Saugeen Shores, with minor hockey games between the two centres beginning at 9 a.m. and continuing until the Wolves season opener at 5:15 p.m.

Following the Wolves and Winterhawks, the Nicol Insurance Kincardine Bulldogs will host the Penetang Kings in Provincial Junior Hockey League action.

"Overall it should be a great day for minor hockey, the Bulldogs and the Wolves," said Catto.

"The senior league is attracting better players every year. We are young, fast and I think we are right there. This will be a good chance for people who don't usually make it out to our games to see our brand of hockey."

The Wolves were slated to play a 20-game regular season schedule, but that was drawn up before Mapleton-Minto folded last week. A new schedule has yet to be released.


*Update: Catto told the Independent Wednesday that the Wolves just signed several key players, including goaltender Jason Hamilton.

Hamilton was the starting goaltender for Minto-Mapleton the last two seasons, and instantly makes Ripley a contender.

The Wolves also signed Ben Scheel and Jordan Lang. Scheel is a Kincardine native who spent the last two seasons with the dominant Trenton Hawks of the Ontario Junior Hockey League.

Ben Scheel last season with Trenton of the OJHL. (Independent file photo/Howald)

Lang, meanwhile, is one of the slickest skaters in southwestern Ontario. He last played senior for the Saugeen Shores Winterhawks.