TISDALE — Kalen Ukrainetz takes a lot of pride in wearing the captain’s “C” for the Tisdale Trojans.
“It means absolutely everything to me to get the chance to lead these guys every time we’re together and it’s a complete honour to wear it on your jersey,” he said.
With a young team stocked with new faces, the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League team counts on the third-year forward from Wynyard and the handful of other players returning from last season’s successful squad. This past week the Trojans went 0-3. As of Sunday, the Tisdale team had a 2-4-0-1 record.
“Championships are not won in September, October,” Trojans head coach Dennis Kubat said. “We are just laying the foundation of what is expected to be a Trojan. Hopefully, we can get buy-in from everybody.”
When asked about what is being emphasized, Kubat said:
“Compete, being mentally tough, being resilient are kind of the words we are trying to use. Obviously, we want to get better every single day.”
Kubat said that Ukrainetz is a leader for this team for several reasons.
“He is definitely an offensive catalyst,” the coach said. “He’s really good in the dressing room. He’s got two years of experience. He’s vocal in the dressing room, which is good for our young guys, and he leads by example on the ice.”
When asked how he helps lead this team, Ukrainetz said:
“I think that I’m good leader in the dressing room – preparing all the guys for battle every night we play, and I think that I’ve proven myself as a good role model in the community as I think that’s very important to the team.”
The 5-foot-10, 160-pound forward is a key player on the ice for the Trojans. As of Sunday, he paced the team with six goals and 12 points in seven games. Ukrainetz sat second in the league scoring race.
“He creates a lot of offence and he’s got a heck of a shot,” Kubat said. “He’s fast. He’s usually hard on the forecheck. Just a threat anytime he’s on the ice.”
Ukrainetz came in as part of a young group of players two seasons ago. Last season, in the second year together for many of them, the Trojans won the Telus Cup Western Regional tournament at home and went on to claim the bronze medals at the Telus Cup national midget AAA tournament. Ukrainetz, who billets with Leanne Kehrig and Matt Bray, has greatly enjoyed his time with the Trojans.
“My favourite part about playing in Tisdale is that I know every time I walk in the RECplex doors for game day that there is going to be amazing fan support and I love playing in front of all of Tisdale,” he said.
The Trojans Last Week
Wednesday, Oct. 2 in Tisdale
Saskatoon Contacts 4, Tisdale 2
Trojans Scorers: Trenton Curtis (2)
Contacts Scorers: Ty Albrecht, Matthew Hodson, Alex Bernauer, Riley Heidt
Goalies: Hunter Lolacher, Tisdale, 36 saves on 39 shots; Chase Hamm, Saskatoon, 25 on 27
Notes: Tisdale led 1-0 at the first intermission. The Contacts took a 2-1 lead in the second period.
Saturday, Oct. 5 in Wilcox
Notre Dame Hounds 4, Tisdale 2
Trojans Scorers: Kalen Ukrainetz, Keagon Little
Hounds Scorers: Josselin Dufey (2), Dominick Campione, Kevin Anderson
Goalies: Hunter Lolacher, Tisdale, 33 saves on 36 shots; Marcus Bjorn, Notre Dame, 18 on 20
Notes: Ukrainetz scored on the powerplay to put Tisdale up 1-0 in the third period. The game was knotted at 2-2 at the second intermission. “Hunter gave us a chance to win on Saturday,” Trojans head coach Dennis Kubat said.
Sunday, Oct. 6 in Regina
Regina 7, Tisdale 2
Trojans Scorers: Kalen Ukrainetz, Mario Fortier
Pat Canadians Scorers: Carson Whyte (2), Cal Caragata, Kyren Gronick, Brayden Barnett, Tyler Digney, Noah Kuntz
Goalies: Hunter Lolacher, Tisdale, 19 saves on 26 shots; Dryden Ramage, Regina, 14 on 16
Notes: Regina led 1-0 and 4-1 at the intermissions.
All of the Trojans’ next three opponents were in the top three of the league standings, as of Sunday. Tisdale hosts the Regina Pat Canadians on Friday night. On Sunday, the Tisdale team is Prince Albert to take on the Mintos. On Oct. 16, the Trojans host the Contacts. “It will be a good measuring stick to see where we are,” Kubat said.