By Carly Benson
With another year through, the Dinos men’s hockey team bids farewell to its graduating players. This team loses eight of its veteran players.
Bracken Kearns, a left-winger who just finished his fourth season with the Dinos was also the team’s captain. Looking back, his most memorable moment was after try-outs, four years ago.
“I was a walk-on for the team, and I was in a different dressing room from the rest of the team. When they moved my bag into the dressing room with the team, I think that was my most memorable moment,” he recalled. After playing with the Dinos, Kearns has only one regret.
“I wish we had done better, because this was our big year. Three teams from our conference went to nationals, and I just want another shot at the University of Alberta or the University of Manitoba for that chance to go to nationals,” he said.
Adam Loncan is also graduating this year, after playing right wing with the Dinos for four years.
“Back to back hat tricks last year against Regina,” he recalled as the most lasting memory that he will take with him from his experience as a Dino. His only regret was not being able to play his first season with the team, as he attended Mount Royal College before transferring to the University of Calgary.
For goaltender Donald Choukalos, his favourite experience came this season, when the Dinos finally ended the cursed streak against the University of Alberta. Though Choukalos has the option to play next year, he has also started his own business, and would have to juggle a pretty busy working schedule along with his obligations to the team. As of right now, Choukalos does not think he could make that work, and therefore has to say goodbye to his teammates, which will be difficult.
“This was the best time playing hockey I’ve had. There was a great coach, and a great group of guys,” he said.
Craig Strain agreed with Choukalos about his most memorable moment. “Getting that win against the U of A, I’m glad it happened. I would have hated to have gone my whole career without beating that hockey club.” Strain also really enjoyed the road trips that the team went on, including Denver in his first year, and Minnesota and Montreal last season.
Looking back, Strain figures that the busyness of the hockey schedule was his only regret. “I’m happy with everything that I accomplished. I just regret not getting to know some of the athletes [in other sports] as well as I might have liked. With hockey going all year, there was no opportunity to make it out to any other games,” he commented.
Matt Jenkins is applying for an MBA this year and therefore might be able to return next season. But looking back on his stint as a Dinos so far, his favourite moment was scoring two goals in a game against the University of Saskatchewan, as well as all of the road trips that the team has undertaken, especially one. “My least favourite moment was in 2003, when the team went to Thunderbay. Within five days, the entire team had caught a virus,” he reminsced.
Also graduating are defenseman Shawn Landry, center Josh Woitas and center Jordan Walker, all of whom could not be reached for comments. The Dinos say goodbye to these eight veterans and hope that any newcomers next year will be able to fill the holes these players have left.