The 2021-22 season arrives filled with optimism. The last two years ended in disappointment as they were halted early due to COVID-19. The Turnbull Cup hasn’t been handed out since 2019 which means the Terriers are still the reigning champions.
The recap from last season will be quite short. Portage played 8 games in the month of October, four against Virden and four with Neepawa. The Dogs finished with a record of 4-3-0-1 good for second place in the Interior division.
Portage came into the season with only a handful of returning players from their championship roster in 2019. They had a strong core of 20-year-old veterans including Layne Toder, Reece Henry, Jacob Piller, Peyton Gorski and Tyler Van Deynze. The Terriers made a couple of trades early in the season, most notably acquiring Cole Dekoninck, Austin Wagner and Dylan Winsor from the Dauphin Kings for Layne Toder and Future considerations. The Terriers won their final game 3-1 against the Neepawa Natives on Oct. 31.
Final Roster from 2020-21
Ryan Hofer Reese Belton Rhys Raeside
Johnny Carmichael Noah Wagner Jacob Piller
Ryan Botterill Logan Calder Parker Johnson
Reece Henry Tyson McLean Dylan Winsor
Jack Oleksiuk Cody Blight Aiden Shumka
Cole Dekoninck Peyton Gorski
Kian Calder Tyler Van Deynze
Tyler Dodgson Brady Grasdal
*The Players stroked out are not returning
The Terriers have six 20-year-old players who are graduating from junior hockey: Cole Dekoninck, Peyton Gorski, Reece Henry, Tyson McLean, Jacob Piller and Tyler Van Deynze.
Parker Johnson – The Portage Terriers traded Parker Johnson (2001) and the MJHL List Rights to Nicholas Cullen (2005) to the Waywayseecappo Wolverines in exchange for Colby Joseph (2002) and Brandon McCartney (2002).
Naaman Hofer – Hofer along with the list rights to Peter Magnus (2005) were sent to the Winnipeg Freeze in exchange for Brandt Young (2003) and Future Considerations.
Aiden Shumka and Jack Oleksiuk – The Portage Terriers traded both forwards and Future Considerations to the OCN Blizzard in exchange for Jaden Pashe (2001) and Jordan Boyechko (2002).
Ryan Botterill – A multi-sport athlete, Botterill has decided to leave the team to pursue baseball in Okotoks, AB.
Noah Wagner – Johnstown Tomahawks (NAHL)
Cody Blight – Philadelphia Hockey Club (NCDC)
Ryan Hofer – Everett Silvertips (WHL)
Reese Belton – Kamloops Blazers (WHL)
Cole Johnston – Nipawin Hawks (SJHL)
The Terriers come into the season with only eight returning players and only two 20-year-olds. “We have to play a few games to get a good handle on what we have,” says Terrier head coach and GM Blake Spiller. “We are going to be younger than we normally are. There is a lot of uncertainty due to the fact no one has been on the ice in so long.” The Terriers will start the regular season on the road in Winkler on Saturday Sept. 18 and will play them again at home on the 19th.
The MJHL will be playing a 54-game schedule in a two-division format. The Terriers will play Selkirk, Steinbach, Winkler, Winnipeg Blues and Winnipeg Freeze eight times each and the six teams in the West Division twice. Portage will also play two games at the MJHL showcase in November. The showcase schedule will be determined by the standings.
Players to Watch
Brandon McCartney (02, 6’3”, 190) – “He’s played some games in Alberta and has always been a top guy in Midget,” says Spiller. “We’ve liked what we’ve seen so far. He’s going to eat up big minutes on the blueline.” McCartney had 47 points in 45 games two seasons ago with the Winnipeg Wild (U18 AAA). He was drafted 26th overall in the third round by the Neepawa Natives in 2017.
Darien Schaan (04, 6’2”, 181) – A local Portage defenceman, Schaan played two games last year for the Central Plains Capitals (U18 AAA). “He just came back from the WHL(Moose Jaw Warriors),” says Spiller. “He’s going to be in the mix on the backend. Time will tell how he fits in.” Schaan was auto protected by the Terriers in 2019 and was selected 214th overall in the 10th round of the WHL Bantam by the Moose Jaw Warriors.
Jaden Pashe (01, 5’11”, 181) – Acquired in the off season from the OCN Blizzard, “He’s been really good in camp,” says Spiller. “It’s exciting for him to be back here in the area in front of family and friends. We are hoping for big things out of him this season. We expect him to bring some leadership to the team.” Pashe had 37 points in 91 games with the Blizzard over parts of three seasons.
Logan Calder (01, 5’11”, 175 lbs) – A local Portage player, Calder is entering his 4th year with the team. He has posted 64 points in 121 games with the Terriers. “He’s a veteran that’s been around the longest. We will expect him to be a part of the leadership of the team,” says Spiller.