Wolves gear up for another season

Section: 
Sports

By Josh Howald

A trio of players signed last week give the Ripley Wolves as much, if not more, depth than the WOAA Senior AA hockey team has ever had before.

The Wolves added goaltender Jason Hamilton and forwards Ben Scheel and Jordan Lang, coach Dustin Catto confirmed last Wednesday.

Hamilton, a Listowel native, was the starting goaltender for the Mapleton-Minto 81's the past three seasons. After playing junior for Wingham, Hamilton joined the senior ranks in 2009 with the Walkerton Capitals and has widely been regarded as one of the league's best goaltenders ever since. He may stand only 5'7", but he is a workhorse. His acquisition will likely leave a good goaltender without a job, but that is a nice problem for the Wolves to have.

Ben Scheel, meanwhile, is coming off a junior career which saw him win a pair of Buckland Cups (OJHL) and Dudley Cups (Central Canadian) with the Trenton Golden Hawks. Last season he had 15 goals and 22 assists in 51 games for the Golden Hawks as well as four points in 15 playoff games.

Finally, Jordan Lang is a former Kincardine Bulldog who has played for a number of teams in the WOAA. He spent the last two seasons in Palmerston with Mapleton-Minto. He scored 12 times and added another seven assists last year in 21 regular season games and had 18 points in 18 playoff games with the 81's.

Both Lang and Hamilton come to the Wolves from the 81's, who were granted a one-year leave of absence from the league. Scheel, meanwhile, has wrapped up his junior career.

As mentioned in last week's edition, the Wolves had already made some significant moves prior to this trio of signings last week. Also new this year are Gerrit Satosek and Mike Osadca, both former Bulldogs and Pat Looby, Andrew Welsh, Wendel Cameron and Nick Seiler.

The season kicks off this weekend in Kincardine. The Wolves will open the regular season against the Saugeen Shores Winterhawks Saturday at 5:15 p.m. at the Davidson Centre in Kincardine. The game is being played in Kincardine as part of the Hockey Day in Kincardine schedule.

Ripley's first game in the village is Oct. 21 against Huron East. The Wolves have moved home games to 7 p.m. this season, and most will be played Saturday night. A full schedule can be found online.

Other highlights on the schedule include the Justin Hammond Memorial Game against Shallow Lake Nov. 3 at 8:30 p.m. in Chesley, a rematch of last year's opening round playoff series against Petrolia Nov. 25, trips to Lucknow Dec. 9 and Dec. 23 and a holiday game against the Winterhawks Dec. 29. The regular season concludes Jan. 27 at home against Lucknow.

Ripley should improve over last season's sixth place finish.

The team is also planning on getting more involved in the community this season. The Wolves will host a Quiz Night at the Ripley Curling Club the second Friday of each month beginning Oct. 13. For $20 per person, everyone is invited to bring their friends for a night of team trivia and fun. Teams can have up to eight players and winners will split the entry fees with the team. Quiz nights will be age of majority, bring your own refreshments. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. with the trivia beginning at 8 p.m.

The Wolves will also host a Christmas dinner and Yuk Yuk's night Nov. 24 at the arena. It will feature a full Christmas dinner catered by Burke's and feature three comedians. Age of majority only.

Finally, don't be surprised to see a Wolves player knocking on your door collecting for the food bank during the holiday season. Keep an eye on www.ripleywolves.com for more information on that and other fundraising events.

The Wolves executive committee is also actively looking for new members, so anyone interested should contact team president Kevin Taylor at ktaylor@hurontel.on.ca or vice-president Dwight Irwin at dwightirwin15@hotmail.com.

-with files from Dwight Irwin