FLIN FLON — Flin Flon Bomber fans have some reasons to pay attention to this year’s Telus Cup Midget tournament.
The western Canadian region representatives at this year’s edition of Canada’s national midget AAA championships are the Tisdale Trojans, one of the top midget AAA teams in Saskatchewan. After bowing out in a best-of-five series against the Saskatoon Blazers in the league semi-final, the Trojans knocked out the Thunder Bay Kings, Notre Dame Hounds and Brandon Wheat Kings, then beat Thunder Bay again to punch their ticket to nationals.
Two players on the Trojans, forwards Mackenzie Carson and Jayden Wiens, are bantam draft picks of the Bombers. Wiens, a 5-foot-8, 146-pound forward, was selected by Flin Flon in the first round, fourth overall, of last year’s SJHL bantam draft. The 15-year-old rookie forward ended the season with 34 points in 44 games before going on a tear in the postseason, scoring nine points in seven games before collecting three goals in four games at Western Regionals.
In a profile about the team written by Hockey Canada, Wiens is described as an “offensive catalyst… sees the ice very well… knows how to make plays… excels in all situations… strong on his skates.”
Carson was a fifth-round selection by the Bombers in the 2017 draft. In his first full season with the Trojans, Carson, 17, played a depth role in the regular season while adding 18 points in 44 games. In the playoffs, Carson took off, averaging a point per game through seven games.
The ties between the Bombers and Trojans don’t stop on the ice. One of the team’s assistant coaches is former Bomber defenceman Dennis Kubat. An offensive defenceman during his three seasons with the Bombers, Kubat moved into coaching with the regional North East Wolfpack bantam club before joining the Trojans this year. Kubat coached both Carson and Wiens with the Wolfpack last season.
“He [Wiens] is the hardest worker around. He has a hate-to-lose attitude. I have never met a person who hates to lose more than him,” Kubat said to The Reminder after last year’s SJHL bantam draft.
Tisdale joins the Toronto Young Nationals, Magog Cantonniers, Halifax Macs, Thunder Bay Kings and Calgary Buffaloes in this year’s tournament. The Cantonniers have a connection to the Bombers as well, courtesy of goaltender Jacob Delorme. Delorme suited up with Magog, coached by former Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Felix Potvin, for 25 games over two seasons before joining the Bombers last year.
The Trojans have not made it to the national midget AAA championship since 2002, when the Trojans defeated a Dartmouth Subways squad with a young Sidney Crosby in the national gold medal game.
The tournament started April 22 in Thunder Bay and will continue until April 28. Preliminary round games and semi-finals will be streamed online at hockeycanada.ca, while the gold medal game will be broadcast nationally on TSN.