Top (L-R)Ken Roncin (Assistan Equipment Manager) Landon Hall, Zach Paterson, Clay Spencer, Linden Penner, Steven Alldridge, Conner Dea, Trace Elson, Malcolm Heaven (Equipment Manager) Kellly Shears (Billet Coordinator)
Middle Row (L-R) Troy Ryan (Trainer) Colten Meaver, Jared Jerome, Sean Davies, Ryan Berlin, Evan Warmington, Michael Claffey, Dale Deon.
Front (L-R) Anthony Terenzio, Joel Herbert, Ryan Whelen (Associate Coach), Matthew Abt, Larry Moberg (Associate Coach) Jerome Raymond, Joey Bouchard (Head Coach/General Manager) Tyler Stubbs (Associate Coach), Dalton Olsen, Mathieu Guertin, Tanner Kovacs
First Game - Sept 14th 2012- 4-2 Loss@ Canmore Eagles
First Win - Sept 15th 2012 4-3 OT @ Okotokes Oilers
First Home Game - Sept 21st 2012 4-3 OT Loss to Spruce Grove - 1283 fans
First Goal - Colten Meaver - Sept- 14th 2012
First Hat Trick - Ryan Berlin - Sept 15th 2012
First Shutout - Tanner Kovacs - 40 Saves Sept 27th
First CJHL Rankings apperance - October 30th 2012 - #14
2012-2013 Season Recap
The Whitecourt Wolverines name was founded in the Summer of 2007 as the Wolverines would join the NWJHL (North West Junior Hockey League). The “Junior B Wolverines” would stand tall for 2007-2012 before folding in their “Claws” for something bigger.
The Whitecourt Wolverines (Junior A franchise) started to be established on March 29th 2012which would have the St. Albert Steel relocate to Whitecourt.
When Whitecourt Wolverines General Manager / Head Coach Joey Bouchard set out revamping the last-place Steel roster in the summer, he knew he couldn’t simply stick with scouting traditional AJHL hot-spots.
Instead, Bouchard looked east and recruited Mathieu Guertin and Jerome Raymond, two 20-year-old Quebecois players looking for a change of scenery from the QMJHL.
“They wanted to experience living in the west and learn the English language. It was a good fit.” Joey Bouchard
The Wolverines put together a remarkable and memorable inaugural year finishing the season with a 31-21-8 record which was good enough for 3rd place in the North Division, It was by far an improvement from the St. Albert Steel team the year before who finished the season with a 9-48-3 record.
The 2012/13 seen Raymond and Guertin be named to the All Star steam in the North Division as well as Guertin capturing the Ernie Love Trophy for leading the AJHL in scoring.
The season also included players moving onto the Canadian Hockey League including:
Jared Rathjen – Vancouver Giants
Jason Trott – Vancouver Giants
Zach Paterson – Portland Winterhawks
Steven Alldridge – Portland Winterhawks
Brandon Ralph – Edmonton Oil Kings
Mathieu Gagnon – Shawinigan Cataractes
At seasons end Linden Penner after coming off a remarkable rookie campaign received an invite to the Calgary Flames rookie camp.
Players advancing to the CIS level were:
Mathieu Guertin – University of Ottawa
Anthony Terenzio – St. Mary’s University &
Charles Inglis – University of Saskatchewan.
2012-2013 North Standings
|Spruce Grove Saints||60||35||19||9||79|
|Grande Prairie Storm||60||35||21||4||74|
|Ft. McMurray Oil Barons||60||31||22||7||69|
|Drayton Valley Thunder||60||30||23||7||67|
|Sherwood Park Crusaders||60||28||25||7||63|
Top Row (L-R) Joel Kocur, Joseph Leonidas, Connor McCallum, Jordan Davies, Tyson Helgesen, James Vermeulen, Kellan Cornelis, Ben Fonteyne, Brandon Switzer.
Middle Row (L-R) Troy Ryan (Trainer), Devin Rideout (Off ice Operations), Jacob Schofield, Trace Elson, Sam Lawson, Ryan Berlin, Mitch Deacon, Brodyn Nielsen, Zach Paterson, Gianni Mangone, Nathalie Beaudoin (Office Manager) Kelly Shears (Billet Coordinator)
Front Row (L-R) Mac Engel, Evan Warmington, Joel Herbert, Joey Bouchard (Head Coach/General Manager) Colten Mayor, Darcy Charrois (Associate Coach/Associate General Manager) Matthew Abt, Riley Corbin.
Missing from Photo: Malcolm Heaven (Equipment Manager), Jason Bouchard & Tim Smith (Skill Development Coaches), Meghan McNalley & Natillie Quaife (Academic Advisors)
2013-2014 North Standings
|Spruce Grove Saints||60||47||10||3||97|
|Ft. McMurray Oil Barons||60||45||11||4||94|
|Sherwood Park Crusaders||60||29||28||3||61|
|Drayton Valley Thunder||60||22||33||5||49|
|Grande Prairie Storm||60||21||36||3||45|
Top Row (L-R) Kelly Shears (Billett Coordinator), Katie Bahm (Marketing Manager) Romano Morrison, Jordan Davies, Taden Rattie, Bryson Traptow, Gordie Ballhorn, Justin Young, Erik Pedersen, Malcolm Heaven (Equipment Manager)
Front Row (L-R) Tanner McCorriston, John Mullally, Marcus Ryan (Associate Coach), Brent Stark (Owner/President), James Vermeulen, Joey Bouchard (Head Coach/General Manager), Kellan Cornelis, Trace Elson, Jared Rathjen
Middle Row (L-R) Andrew Peard (team broadcaster), Troy Ryan (trainer), Lance Yaremchuk, Joseph Nardi, Dylan Thudium, Carson Pickett, Ben Fonteyne, Morgan Messenger, Jared Freadrich, Ryan McKinnon, Nathan Bizeau, Nathalie Beaudoin (Office Manager)
2014-2015 Season Recap
The Whitecourt Wolverines entered into a youth movement during the 2014-2015 coming off a first-round playoff loss in the season previous.
This years version of the Wolverines featured the rookie seasons of a number of players who would go on to become stars of the Alberta Junior Hockey League and lead the team to be a consistent contender in the AJHL's North Division.
Forward Joseph Nardi and defenceman Gordie Ballhorn were named to the AJHL’s North Division All-Rookie team following successful individual campaigns. Nardi’s 12 goals and 21 assists placed him third in team scoring. Another strong rookie performance came from Justin Young who finished the season picking up 20 points in his final 34 games of the season.
The Wolverines weren’t just powered by their first-year players as a pair of veterans in defenceman James Vermeulen and John Mullally were also recognized by the league being named to the North Division All-League team.
The 2014-2015 season also had the Wolverines receive a lot of recognition from NCAA scouts as by season’s end, six different players on the roster had division one commitments; James Vermeulen (Northern Michigan University), Gordie Ballhorn (Rochester Institute of Technology), Taden Rattie (Western Michigan University), Joseph Nardi (Northern Michigan University), John Mullally (University of Alaska-Fairbanks) and Justin Young (University of Alaska-Fairbanks).
On the ice, it was a slow start which was to be expected with nine true rookies on the roster. The season began to turn around on November 22nd up in Fort McMurray. Riding an eight game losing streak the Wolverines turned to affiliate goaltender Josh Dechaine with their starter, Tanner McCorriston on the shelf with injury. Dechaine turned in a sparkling 38 save performance and thanks to a third period goal from Bryson Traptow, the streak was ended and the winning became more frequent and coming out of the Christmas break, it was much more frequent. After starting the season 7-17-4 they would go 17-11-4 the rest of the way, galvanized by an 8-1-1 run coming out of the Christmas break.
For a third straight year, the Wolverines once again found themselves in the post-season and for a second straight time, they had a first-round matchup against the Lloydminster Bobcats. After a thrilling overtime win in game one of the series in Lloydminster, thanks to the OT heroics of Justin Young, the team would drop three straight hard-fought games to the Bobcats and see their season come to an end.
2014-2015 North Standings
|Spruce Grove Saints||60||48||7||5||101|
|Ft. McMurray Oil Barons||60||31||23||6||68|
|Sherwood Park Crusaders||60||28||25||7||63|
|Drayton Valley Thunder||60||24||24||12||60|
|Grande Prairie Storm||60||15||41||4||34|
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.
2015-2016 North Standings
|Spruce Grove Saints||60||49||7||4||102|
|Sherwood Park Crusaders||60||39||19||2||80|
|Drayton Valley Thunder||60||23||33||4||50|
|Ft. McMurray Oil Barons||60||10||40||10||30|
|Grande Prairie Storm||60||11||45||4||26|
Top Row (L-R) Carson Romeril, Cody Laskosky, Evan Tschumi, Liam Motley, Estian Coetzee, Jaedon Leslie, Ryan Grant, Stevie Bryant
Middle Row (L-R) Troy Ryan (Trainer), Nathalie Beaudoin (Office Manager), Spencer Augot, Aidan Steinke, Dawson Bruneski, Noah Tooke, Ben Evanish, Justin Young, Tanner Foster, Kelly Shears (Billett Coordinator), Stacy Crossland (Marketing Manager), Malcolm Heaven (Equipment Manager)
Front Row (L-R) Sam-Jaxon Visscher, Colton Meekhof, Morgan Messenger, Eric Krienke, Joseph Nardi, Gord Thibodeau (Head Coach/General Manager), Mike Mueller (Associate Coach), Kellan Cornelis, Mitch Lipon, Nick Quillan, Pierce Diamond
2016-2017 Season Recap
Coming off their best statistical season in franchise history the Whitecourt Wolverines would go on to have their most successful season in franchise history in 2016-17 which was capped with a North Division Championship.
There is an old saying, “if you can’t beat them, join them”, the Wolverines had their own version, “if you can’t beat him, hire him” and that’s exactly what the team did. After losing in back-to-back years to the Gord Thibodeau lead Lloydminster Bobcats, the Wolverines hired Thibodeau in June to become the team’s new head coach and general manager after the departure of former bench boss Joey Bouchard to the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
Thibodeau inherited a solid core group of players that included newly named captain Joseph Nardi, Justin Young, Eric Krienke, Bryson Traptow, Jaedon Leslie, Dawson Bruneski, Kellan Cornelis and Ryan Grant but there were still many holes to fill in the lineup. Just prior to the new coach’s arrival, the team swung a deal to bring back Morgan Messenger who was traded away in the previous offseason to Thibodeau’s team in Lloydminster and that would be an early theme for the initial roster building… familiarity. The first move Thibodeau pulled the trigger on was to shore up his goaltending and defence as he was able to acquire goaltender Pierce Diamond and defenceman Nick Quillan from his old team. Diamond would go on to set franchise goaltending records for most shutouts in a season and career as well as wins in a season while recording the lowest goals against average of any previous Wolverine netminder. Quillan meanwhile chewed up big minutes on the back end being very productive in both ends of the ice.
Just prior to the start of training camp another move was made and this one was to add some fire power. Mitch Lipon was acquired from the Merrit Centennials (BCHL) and he would go on to lead the team in scoring with 73 points, the fourth most point total by a player in franchise history. He was complimented by linemates Morgan Messenger and Eric Krienke. Messenger continued to prove to be one of the league’s premier two-way centermen while also recording a career high 28 goals. Krienke meanwhile was able to fire in 23 goals in just 38 games of action due to an early season injury that cost him nearly two months of playing time.
For a second straight year Joseph Nardi would represent his country at the World Jr ‘A’ Challenge while also setting career highs in goals, assists and points. His long time running mate Justin Young entrenched his name in the team’s record books over the course of the season as he became the franchises all-time leader in goals, assists (tied with Nardi) and points among several other records. The line was completed after an early season blockbuster trade brought in Liam Motley from the Camrose Kodiaks along with Estian Coetzee in exchange for Byrson Traptow and Matt Gervais. Motley quickly adjusted to his new linemates and went on to score 23 goals in 39 games with the Wolverines. For his efforts, he received a commitment from Cornell University (NCAA, Div. I).
The Wolverines got production all throughout their lineup which saw the emergence of rookie Cody Laskosky who put up 37 points. Jaedon Leslie, a second year forward, proved to be a sort of Swiss Army knife as he played in several different roles and lines throughout the season finding consistent success.
A pair of first year AJHL’ers joined the team from south of the boarder as Washington State natives Stevie Bryant and Colton Meekhof made their way to our side of the 49th parallel. Meekhof brought a heavy shot to the blueline and was a great power play weapon scoring seven of his 12 goals on the man-advantage. Bryant settled in nicely as the team’s third line centremen and was able to contribute 31 points.
The team overall took sometime to get into gear with new players and new coaches adjusting to one another and it would be in the month of October where the team took off and reverted back into it’s contending ways. From October 22nd until November 10th the team went undefeated setting a new franchise mark with a nine-game winning streak. That streak vaulted the Wolverines into a race for first place in the division that would last all season long between the Wolverines, Fort McMurray Oil Barons and Spruce Grove Saints. The race was so tight it came down to the final day of the AJHL’s regular season where a showdown at the Scott Safety Centre between the Wolverines and Oil Barons would decide first place. The Barons would prevail in that game, but it would the Wolverines who would get the last laugh once the post-season begun.
Prior to the playoffs, a historic day took place in not just Wolverine history, but league history. On February 3rd, the Wolverines defeated the Oil Barons in Fort McMurray by a score of 2-1 in overtime on a goal from Eric Krienke. The win was Wolverine head coach Gord Thibodeau’s 833rd of his career which surpassed Don Phelps for the most in league history doing it in the place that Thibodeau had coached for 11 years.
Despite not taking home the regular season divisional crown the Wolverines still found themselves in a good spot heading to the playoffs with their second consecutive second place finish. The team made quick work of their first-round opponent, the Grande Prairie Storm, dispatching them in a three-game sweep. In game two of the series Justin Young scored his second career playoff overtime goal.
The second-round matchup saw the Wolverines take on their bitter rival, the Spruce Grove Saints. The series was far and away the most entertaining of the 2017 AJHL playoffs as the teams came in separated by just one win during the regular season. After dropping game one the series at home, the Wolverines found themselves in overtime of game two looking to salvage a home-ice split and once again it would be Justin Young providing the OT heroics. The Wolverines then did the unthinkable taking both games three and four from the Saints at the Grant Fuhr Arena, a place that had once been a house of horrors for the Wolverines. The Saints did not quit and were able to rally from their 3-1 series deficit to setup a winner take all game seven back in Whitecourt. Despite seeing their series stranglehold get away, the Wolverines looked as confident as ever as they convincingly took game seven by a final score of 4-1 to punch their ticket back to the North Division Final for the first time since 2013.
Waiting for the Wolverines in the divisional final were the Fort McMurray Oil Barons. For a second straight series, the Wolverines dropped game one and for a second straight series, the team bounced back with a game two win. The Wolverines would actually go on to win four of the final five games of the series with all four wins coming fairly decisive including a series and division championship clinching game six win on home ice 6-3.
In the league final, the Wolverines ran into the countries number one ranked team, the Brooks Bandits. A valiant fight was put up by the Wolverines, but the fresh and rested Bandits were too much for the battle weary Wolverines as they were able to secure their second straight league title with a series win in four games.
2016-2017 North Standings
|FT. McMurray Oil Barons||60||44||13||3||91|
|Spruce Grove Saints||60||40||18||2||82|
|Sherwood Park Crusaders||60||32||25||3||67|
|Drayton Valley Thunder||60||17||39||4||38|
|Grande Prairie Storm||60||15||38||7||37|
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