The Cochrane Generals are ready for the regular season. After dropping a 5-4 overtime decision to the Airdrie Thunder on Sept. 16, the Generals have their roster set and are primed to kick off the regular season on the road against the Okotoks Bisons on Sept. 23.
The team also announced recently that defenceman Austin Keller has been named team captain, which is not surprising considering this is Keller’s sixth season with the Gens, and he’s the team’s all-time leader in games played. He also led all defencemen in scoring last season with 11 goals and 41 assists for 52 points.
Keller has played in 174 games, tallying 36 goals and 115 assists in those contests, while also adding 213 penalty minutes, Keller was the obvious choice to lead the team.
“It’s a really big honour and responsibility. I’m very excited and grateful for the opportunity to be the captain for the team I’ve been with for six years now, and I’m extremely excited to get the season started with what is shaping up to be a great team,” Keller said.
After back-to-back trips to the HJHL Finals, the Generals still have the pieces in place to make another run at the league title, with the likes of Keller, Slater Ransom and Talus Hume all returning for their final season of junior hockey, while younger players such as Colton Wong, Chris Sambrook and Brett Hamer will also be leaned on heavily to produce.
One question that will need to be answered is who will take the reins in the Generals’ goal crease. With Ty Robinson aging out, and Ryan Simpson asking for his release, the Gens will roll with three new netminders in Jared Kaine, Eric Garber and Benny Dalmer. Whoever takes the ball and runs with it, will likely be the Generals go to guy in net.
The team will play their first three games on the road before returning home on Sept. 30 to take on the Ponoka Stampeders, to start a six game home stand for Cochrane.
“Six games at home is big, especially early in the year,” Keller said.
Those points going down the road are so important, so if we can get some wins on the road to start the season, I think we’re going to be in a good position.”