If everything goes according to coach Michael Tuton’s plan this weekend, the Nuway Crushing Whitehorse Huskies will be on their way to the Coy Cup with a winning record.
The Huskies are set to host the Kainai Braves for a series of two exhibition games this weekend.
“This is a pretty crucial series for us,” said Tuton. “It leaves us on the up and up for the Coy (Cup).”
The Braves, which play in southern Alberta’s senior AA Ranchlands Hockey League and the Huskies have yet to meet in action.
The Braves are currently third in their league. Based out of Stand Off, southwest of Lethbridge, the team is made up of skaters from the Blood Reserve who have been playing together off and on since their minor hockey days.
Braves assistant manager and self-described utility player Jeremy Weasel Moccasin said the team plays a physical game.
“We play a little more of a rougher game,” he said. “We love the crash and bang.”
He said the team has some skilled players as well, but that they like to hit a lot. “That’s just the style down here,” he said.
Moccasin first met Tuton during the Yukon Indian Hockey Association’s annual Yukon Native Hockey Tournament a few years back. They kept in touch and earlier this season Moccasin inquired about bringing his team up to test themselves against Tuton’s Huskies.
With B.C. Hockey’s minimum six-game Jan. 10 deadline staring them down, the Huskies took them up on the offer, bringing the team up this weekend.
While the two games will count towards the Huskies’ mandatory six needed to compete in the Coy Cup, they won’t affect the Braves’ league standings. Instead, the team will gain more experience against a team they have yet to face.
“We just like to see how our team compares to other leagues,” said Moccasin.
He said their first line will be one to watch this weekend.
The Braves won their last game on Dec. 17 against the Pilkani Regulators.
The Huskies will be down a few more players this weekend as Jared Tuton remains on the injured reserves list while J.J. Gainsforth and Kale Dawe are out of town for school.
Jon Olthuis will be back between the pipes for the Huskies. The goalie will fly up from his home in Canmore for the weekend series.
The team will likely rely on their speed and puck handling, but coach Tuton said they have a proven track record of adjusting their style to whatever is being thrown at them on the ice.
“When it comes to crash and bang my boys are ready to respond,” he said.
The Huskies won their first series against Alberta’s Bonnyville Senior Pontiacs 2-0 in October and split their series against B.C’s new Kelowna Sparta in November.
Both games will take place at Takhini Arena. Saturday’s puck drop is at 3:30 p.m. while Sunday’s game begins at 5 p.m.
Kids wearing minor hockey jerseys get in for free.