Rangers prepare for upcoming season

August 12, 2022, 2:48 pm
by Kevin Weedmark

The Rangers in action last season

The Moosomin Rangers are gearing up for the 2022-2023 season.

Mike Schwean, president of the Rangers Alumni, says having the alumni as a fundraising arm should help a lot.

“We started the alumni group about a year ago so we have a year under our belt and we’ve done the first wave of fundraisers and we’ve started again. We’re hoping to run a senior hockey tournament in the fall. Then on Friday, December 23 we’re going to do our Alumni weekend again where we do our Parks and Rec Awards and we’re going to do our Ranger Hall of Fame nominations again. Then we’ll have maybe one more thing in the spring and our NHL draft. That went over really well again, so we’ve taken that over. We started with no money last April and we’ve managed to put together a nice account where we’re looking to help cover some players.”

He said he thought last season went well for the Rangers.

“You can get people to the rink for the first game and the second game of the season, but it’s whether you can keep people coming for the long haul,” he says.

“I thought that everyone really, really enjoyed the games and we had good crowds all year. It was good hockey. Every team that came here had some good players. Every team was good and everybody in the league was competitive. Moosomin had so many good players, but everybody also liked watching Redvers players, and Carnduff players. I think people were loving the games and excited to come to the next, and as alumni, we are excited to help the team bring a few more players in and take another step towards winning the league—that’s what we both want to do. That is where we are at and we are excited for next year. We were in a really tough league, and I think we iced a great team last year. Our team did very well, finishing in the top half of the league and winning a playoff round. If not for injuries, we could have won another round or even the league. The base of the team is fantastic.”

Lyndon Jacobs, president of the Rangers, said it’s hard to tell how the team will be impacted by the formation of a new team at Wapella.

“We don’t know how it will affect us for sure,” he said. “I am sure it will impact us a certain amount, but time will tell what happens there. We had a great year last year, and now with the Alumni it makes things a lot better. The executive just have to work at the games and the Alumni has taken over the fundraising part. That really helped us a lot. We had a strong team last year and it has generated more interest and there was a lot more talk around town about the games. We had great crowds and we’re really happy
about that, and we’re excited about this year.”

Jacobs said the Rangers will remain with the Big Six League this year.

“We’re tied into this league for three years,” he said. “Our feeling is we will stay here. This was the direction we wanted to go. Of course, we left Manitoba because of Covid, we weren’t sure if we could go back and forth. We’d started in that league, but there were a few issues there that we were concerned about, while the Big Six is an older established league.”

Schwean agreed. “The team obviously makes that decision, but from an alumni point of view, we view this as the superior league, but not just in talent, but the longevity and history. I know there was some interest in those teams to the north moving into this league, and as alumni it was always our hope that they would go south to the Big Six. Moosomin has quite the history in the Big Six league as well. Moosomin won that league twice back in the early days of the Communiplex.

“We were in the North Central in Manitoba, but this just seemed like a more established league. From the alumni’s perspective, not to disrespect the league, but this league, talent-wise, team for team is probably superior.”

Schwean said he thinks the minor hockey program has done a good job of developing hockey talent in Moosomin.

“This league, talent-wise, team for team, is probably superior, and minor hockey has done a great job. There are a lot of kids playing junior, a lot of kids playing university that we hope will help us in the coming years. We feel well placed and well suited to have success in this league with our own hometown kids and a few additions for years to come. I think these kids look to emulate what our Rangers are doing now which is kind of a two way street where it helps both Minor Hockey and helps our Rangers.”

Jacobs said he believes the Rangers will ice a very competitive team this season. “I’m pretty sure we will be as competitive if not more,” he said. “It depends on players, we had a couple guys that were working at the mine, but living in town, and we aren’t sure what is happening with them. Other than that, we are hoping we are as competitive as last year, if not better.”

Schwean said the alumni can help with attracting players. “We are fortunate because the alumni gives us a little leeway to help the players. It has almost become a 12-month activity for us. So we have talked to probably 20 guys this offseason. The team makes a decision on who they want, but we try to help find players and say we can help fund some of them.

“We are going to focus on four or five guys we want and those are the guys that we will help fund. I think we will have the base of the guys back and then some fantastic new players who will join the team.”

Jacobs thinks having a new team in Wapella will help generate interest in senior hockey in the area.

“I think it just gets interest going,” he said. “After Covid I think people are looking for a reason to get out and do stuff. I remember back when there were more close teams. I think it gets interest being in two different leagues and people will be interested to see what is in the other league too.”

“Bud (Holloway) was here last year, and Bud was our best player,” said Schwean. “We tried our hardest to involve and engage Wapella and we were lucky enough to have fans coming here from Wapella. Them having a team I understand. I was fortunate enough to play against George Holloway and Dave Young and all those guys. They have a proud hockey tradition just like we do. So I’ve had probably 20 people ask me how mad I am about Wapella having a team and I just think ‘good for them!’ I wish them all the best and I hope it works out, and if it doesn’t we would welcome them back. Obviously, the more teams there are the fewer players there are to choose from, but I don’t think that will hurt us. There might be one player or two players we both want and obviously one team is going get them, but in the long run I think it is good for both communities. I think there is a lot of players that maybe Rocanville, Whitewood and Wapella are going to have to work out. For us, I don’t think there will be too much effect on us.”

Schwean says the Rangers have a long history.

“The rink opened in 78/79 so we would be 46 consecutive years. We are one of the longest running senior teams in Saskatchewan. So when we talk about continuity and pride, I don’t think you’d find a rink anywhere with more tradition than Moosomin. This rink has never seen a year with no team, not many rinks can say that.”

Jacobs says he sees a bright future for the Rangers.

“I think it looks pretty good, there is lots of talent. If we can get a few of those hometown guys coming back, that helps the crowds. People are very interested to watch the guys that come back to play.”

“We need to raise funds because it is important for these kids that are going to school or working away from town,” said Schwean.

“It is expensive for them to come out and they are young and getting started and they need to be financially helped out, so with the executive and the alumni working together, I think it ensures we will have a team for years to come. Our goal is to win championships and that’s what our players want too. We aren’t just here to ice a team. We see big crowds, great teams and ultimately a championship.”