Top Row (L-R) Kjell Reid (Assistan Equipment Manager), Malcolm Heaven (Equipment Manager), Dawson Bruneski, Matt Gervais, Josh Bishop, Jamieson Ree, Stephen Wack, Jaedon Leslie, Frederic Letourneau, Ryan Grant, Hubert Delisle, Kelly Shears (Billett Coordinator), Stacy Crossland (Marketing Manager)
Middle Row (L-R) Josh Dechaine, Joseph Nardi, Erik Pedersen, Brody Valette, Eric Krienke, Bryson Traptow, Justin Young, Cory Santoro, Elliott Peterson, Nathalie Beaudoin (Office Manager), Troy Ryan (Trainer)
Front Row (L-R) Tanner McCorriston, Kellan Cornelis, Brad Granley (Assistant Coach), Brent Stark (Owner/President), Linden Penner, Joey Bouchard (Head Coach/General Manager), Marcus Ryan (Associate Coach), Mitchell Brennan, Kevin Domingue, Garrett Mason
2015-2016 Season Recap
The 2015-2016 version of the Whitecourt Wolverines featured a team that quickly turned from a rebuilding squad to a North Division contender as the Wolverines set a franchise record for wins in a season with 42.
The team featured one of the deepest forward lineups in the entire Alberta Junior Hockey League. The continued development of Justin Young and Joseph Nardi lead them to become point-a-game players on a line together. Nardi’s strong sophomore performance lead to him being selected to represent his country at the 2015 World Junior ‘A’ Challenge where he would help Canada West win the gold medal playing on the top line with future NHL first round draft pick Tyson Jost. Young was a model of consistency throughout the season and ended up tied for 17th in league scoring and first on the Wolverines in goal scoring after finding the back of the net 26 times. The left side of the line was a revolving door of auditions for most of the season but was finally locked down by Western Hockey League veteran Elliott Peterson.
A breakout season by second year forward Bryson Traptow saw him center the team’s top line along with Erik Pedersen and Eric Krienke, an early season acquisition from the Okotoks Oilers. Pedersen was the team’s offensive catalyst all year and at one point appeared to be running away with the league scoring title until an injury in January caused him to miss 12 games. Despite only playing in 47 games, Pedersen finished tied for 7th in league scoring with 68 points. After playing in five games with the Oilers to start the season and recording one point, Krienke found himself in Whitecourt after an October trade and it was a deal that worked gangbusters for both the player and the team as Krienke developed a quick reputation for having one the most lethal shots in the league scoring 24 times in just 46 games.
The “third line” featured just as much offence as the top two lines as head coach and general manager Joey Bouchard looked to the province of Quebec to bolster his lineup. Kevin Domingue, Frederic Letourneau and Hubert Delisle quickly became known as the AJHL’s Flying Frenchmen. Domingue forewent his over-age year in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League to head west and join the Wolverines. Letourneau came to the team after a successful prep school career and Delisle was recruited out of a Quebec high school hockey program. The line combined for over 50 goals on the season and often were tasked with matching up against the opposition’s top line.
The team was lead by captain Linden Penner who moved up and down the lineup playing several key roles throughout the season. Penner returned to the team after spending two years in the Western Hockey League following his first year in junior hockey as a seventeen-year-old in Whitecourt back during the team's inaugural season.
A youthful backend turned in a franchise best 172 goals against. The defence was anchored by veterans Kellan Cornelis and Brody Valette. At season’s end, Cornelis was named the team MVP while Valette recorded a franchise best 13 goals by a defenceman. Matt Gervais and Ryan Grant established themselves as top four defenceman throughout their rookie campaigns. Gervais’s 23 points was the most by a rookie defenceman in team history.
Tanner McCorriston endured a heavy workload between the pipes for the Wolverines picking up 24 wins in 39 appearances.
After winning just two of the first six games of the season, the Wolverines rattled off 40 wins in the final 54 games of the season, finishing second in the North Division.
For a second time in four years the Wolverines faced off against the Fort McMurray Oil Barons in the first round of the AJHL playoffs and for the first time in team history the Wolverines swept a post-season opponent taking the series against a young MOB team 3-0. For a third consecutive year the Wolverines found themselves in a series against the Lloydminster Bobcats. After game one was won in overtime by the Bobcats, the Wolverines couldn’t find their barring’s in the series falling 4-0 to the future RBC Cup finalists from the boarder city.
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