After weeks of anticipation, four members of the Prince Albert Mintos will finally get the chance to represent Saskatchewan at the 2019 Canada Winter Games.
Local products Ashton Ferster, Logan Cox, Gabe Klassen and Marek Schneider will take to the ice Saturday night in Red Deer as they’ll battle Alberta in their first game of Pool B play in the men’s hockey event.
“We’re all pretty excited for it,” Cox said last week.
“You dream about being getting the chance to play on a big stage like this and it’s a real honour to play for our province.”
For Ferster, the opportunity to be at the Canada Winter Games with his close friends is something that he’s been looking forward to.
“I’m sure there’s going to be some nerves for us, but we’re all really looking forward to getting things started in Red Deer,” Ferster said.
“To have three teammates there is going to be nice. Obviously it’s a small province so we know a lot of the guys already, but the bond that we have with being from Prince Albert is a huge advantage as we’ve been playing together for a long time now.”
Team Saskatchewan, which also features a pair of Prince Albert Raiders prospects in defenceman Nolan Allen and forward Logan Linklater, are placed in Pool B for the tournament.
After facing the hosts from Alberta in their opening game, they will play British Columbia on Sunday and Manitoba on Monday.
“I feel like our defence is one of our biggest strengths,” Cox said. “We have a hard working group, but we also have a number of players that can score goals.”
The Raiders will also be represented by Alberta forward Tyson Laventure and Manitoba blueliner Tayem Gisalson.
Two of the biggest names at the tournament are Alberta forward Matthew Savoie and Ontario forward Shane Wright.
They have both applied for exceptional player status with Hockey Canada and could enter the Western Hockey League and the Ontario Hockey League as early as next season.
The playoffs in the men’s hockey tournament begin Tuesday with the gold medal game slated for next Friday night.
The women’s hockey event, which will feature Kate Ball, Miranda Heidt, Jadyn Kushniruk and Abby Soyko of the Prince Albert Northern Bears, gets underway next Sunday.