South Peace News
The High Prairie Red Wings have a new bench boss with local hockey roots as the team enters its third season in the Greater Metro Junior A Hockey League.
Trent Meyaard was named the new head coach Sept. 8.
He replaces Kevin Hopfner, who became the coach and general manager Sept. 8, 2020 and then bought the team Aug. 4.
“I feel very honoured to be asked by Kevin to coach the Red Wings after a championship winning season last year,” says Meyaard, who is grateful for the opportunity.
“I was shocked at first to be asked and it took me by surprise.”
Meyaard comes with about 10 year’s experience of coaching hockey. He has coached numerous teams from the U-18s in High Prairie to numerous U-18 Native provincial teams.
He was an assistant coach for the High Prairie Regals in the North Peace Hockey League in the 2018-19 season.
“My goals for the Red Wings are for the team to become a solidified contender every year, to win the West Division and the national championship and to develop our players for future hockey advancements,” Meyaard says.
“I’d love to send our Red Wing players on to pro and semi-pro scholarships as much as we can.”
As training camp was scheduled to start Sept. 20, he is eager to continue on the victory path after the Red Wings captured the crown on a 24-game winning streak.
High Prairie is scheduled to open the season Oct. 1 in Slave Lake. The first home game is scheduled for Oct. 3 when the Red Wings face the Fox Creek Ice Kings at 2 p.m.
“I predict we will have another great season and end up at the top of our division and go on a deep playoff run,” Meyaard says.
“It will take a little time to get everything rolling in the right direction but once we do, I see great things happening.”
Hopfner stepped away from the bench with more responsibilities as owner.
“I want to get more local people involved in the team,” Hopfner says.
“It’s a full-time job to be a head coach and this gives me more flexibility to work with the community and promote the team.”
He says Meyaard has a solid hockey foundation in the community.
“Trent has been involved as a coach for many years and he knows most of the players in the area,” Hopfner says.
“Players have a lot of respect for him and he knows the game.”
Spectators at home games are reminded of new COVID-19 restrictions that were announced Sept. 15 and took effect Sept. 16.
Recreational facilities are restricted to one third of the fire code occupancy. It would limit the Sports Palace to around 300 spectators.
Attendees must be with household members only or two close contacts if they live alone.
Masks and physical distancing of two metres are required.
Masks are also available at the hand sanitizer station.
No spectators will be allowed in front of the office and dressing room areas.
A limited number of people are allowed in the lobby at one time.
The GMHL announced Aug. 31 that all players, coaches, trainers and team staff must be fully-vaccinated from COVID-19 before being allowed to participate in any team activities.
The 42-game regular schedule is published on page 15. High Prairie plays eight home games on Saturdays, seven on Fridays, six on Sundays.