It’s an exciting day for the Senior Flyers. Today, the Flyers open their ‘AAA’ exhibition season, with a matchup in Stony Plain against the Eagles.
The team just sat down for lunch, and there was plenty to talk about. For one thing, a couple of new faces dot the room. Former Spirit River Ranger Donny Lloyd hopped on the bus yesterday in Grande Prairie. Someone asked him at lunch why he joined the Flyers instead of the Athletics – which certainly would have been more convenient. He didn’t have to think long. “The Allan Cup” he replied. He certainly helps.
There are more guys arriving this afternoon. Tyler Brough is here, and Ryan Carter is on his way. It sounds like Carter has also talked his buddy Ryan Manitowich into joining, and Rob Larson says ‘Manny ‘ is on his way up as well. The addition of Manitowich not only improves the Flyers but it hurts the Bentley Generals, Manitowich was arguably Bentley’s most dangerous player during last year’s McKenzie Cup.
Some former Flyers have returned to the fold this year hoping to get their hands on an Allan Cup. Nathan Waberski and Darren Peebles should both be in the lineup tonight against the Eagles. A couple of former Huskies have joined the ranks as well, so we should see Adam Horst and Bryce Novak at some point this weekend. Last year when the Flyers visited Stony, Coach Brash gave all kinds of ice time to his youngsters (at that time, Jeff Shipton, Brett Loney, etc.). We are expecting more of the same this time around, as the coaches try to see how these guys hold up.
The Flyers look like they’ll be a little short on D this weekend. Kip Noble couldn’t make the trip, and nor could Brett Loney or Bryan Lewis. That leaves Tyler Loney, Luke Middleton, Arlo Hadland, Mike Shipton, and Donny Lloyd on D. It sounds like Aaron Scheppers will jump back to help out too. I’m not sure being short-staffed back there is a bad thing at this point. You don’t want to be short-benched for the McKenzie Cup, but Stony Plain will likely be missing guys this weekend too, and this gives Adam Brash a chance to test out his guys. We’re also expecting Donny Lloyd to get a ton of ice-time this weekend, and we’re pretty excited about watching him.
So there are all kinds of new and returning faces to the Flyers roster this year and there may be more that we have forgotten, don’t know about yet, or can’t talk about yet. Of course, this weekend is all about laying a foundation for the season to come. The Flyers are going to be playing a different system this year and that system will take some getting used to. That means you can expect some mistakes this weekend, and that’s the whole point. Get those mistakes out of the system now, so that by the time the Allan Cup rolls around this team will be primed to make a run at a National Championship.