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Dinos men’s hockey primed for success

Johny Faul, September 3 2015 —

The Dinos men’s hockey team is gearing up for a superb 2015–16 season as fall arrives.

The team found plenty of success last season, posting a 20–8 record and finishing second in the Canada West division. The club’s sharp goaltending played a crucial role in their success. The Dinos finished tied with the University of Alberta for second in the Canada West division with only 56 goals-against.

Unfortunately, it was U of A who eventually ousted the Dinos in the Canada West final, ending their rival’s 2015 postseason bid. But the Dinos still finished as the fourth-best team in CIS men’s hockey by the end of 2014–15.

While last season had some great moments, Dinos head coach Mark Howell knows the team has more to give.

“Nothing changes for us,” Howell said. “We want to win the league and win a championship.”

It’s crucial that the team grows each day in practice, in games and off the ice. The Dinos players seem to have taken that message to heart, and are well on their way in their preparations.

“The players are definitely staying active and preparing for the upcoming season,” Howell said. “Most have attended conditioning camps and have been skating individually throughout the summer.”

With the players gearing up for the season, the team’s coaching staff is also putting in the necessary preparation. Howell, who posted an impressive 103–65 regular season record over the last six years, is entering his seventh season as the Dinos’ head coach.

He’s joined by Dinos alumni Sean Robertson, who serves as one of the assistant coaches and brings a much-needed on-ice perspective. Robertson was a member of the Dinos men’s hockey team from 2000–2004 and led the team in scoring in his final season. Assistant coach Don Campbell and goaltending coach Brad Kirkwood will also return this season — the latter of the two has been instrumental in guiding the team’s netminders to become one of the top units in the CIS.

While the Dinos lost some key leaders this summer, the club has many of their core players returning and a few new faces are joining the squad as well. Goaltending prospect Steven Stanford is among the new recruits joining the Dinos this year, after spending three seasons with the University of British Columbia. This addition is a key one, considering how different the Dinos goaltending corps will look this season due to their departing players.

The Dinos will begin their 2015–16 season with a preseason match-up against the local rival Mount Royal Cougars on Sept. 11 at Max Bell Arena. On Sept. 16, the Dinos face off against the Calgary Flames prospects at Canada Olympic Park’s Markin MacPhail Centre. The event figures to be an exciting one — last year’s match-up included prospects like Josh Jooris, David Wolf, and Morgan Klimchuk. The Dinos will be hungry to get back in the win column after falling to the Flames prospects 3–1 last year.

Howell and his team will also travel to Colorado in October to face Colorado College, the University of Denver and the Air Force Academy. Immediately after, the Dinos begin their official Canada West season when they take on the University of Saskatchewan Huskies on October 9 at Max Bell Arena.

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