The UPEI men’s hockey team begins their regular season on Friday, October 12, when they host rival Université de Moncton at 7:00 pm at MacLauchlan Arena. Members of the AUS championship winning UPEI women’s hockey team will be on hand to drop the ceremonial puck at 6:55 pm.
Although the Panthers have lost AUS all-star forwards Jared Gomes and Matt Carter who graduated this spring, they have retained most of their core players. Last weekend’s pre-season exhibition game in Grand Falls, New Brunswick, saw UPEI defeat Université de Moncton 3-1, so the team will look to continue its recent success in the ultra-competitive AUS men’s hockey conference.
“There is no question that we lost some great players due to graduation,” said Head Coach Forbes MacPherson. “Those players had been with me since day one, and they are to be credited with being part of the solution that has taken our program to the next level. The goal this summer was not to re-build, but to re-load, and we are excited about our new group going into the season.”
Continuing the trend from last year, the Panthers’ line up will be filled once again with local talent—nine Islanders have committed to the program. New to the Panthers this season is Cole MacMillan, a rare dual athlete at UPEI, who played last season with the Chicoutimi Saguenéens, and the Amherst Ramblers, and will join the hockey Panthers following the soccer season. Also new are Colin Beck (Truro Bearcats), Mason Wilgosh (Tri-City Americans), Tyler Brown (Kingston Frontenacs and Sarnia Sting), and Jordan Mayer (Mississauga Majors and Belleville Bulls).
Dylan Quaile, in his second year as captain, alongside Jordan Knox, Chris Desousa, Harrison McIver, Matt Maione, and Matt Boyle will round out the leadership group. Desousa, an AUS All-rookie forward is attending an AHL camp for the Chicago Blackhawks. Goaltending will be a strength for the Panthers this season with all-star Mavric Parks, and former team MVP Wayne Savage returning.
“We will be a very hard working team that will offer an exciting brand of hockey,” added MacPherson. “There has been a tremendous amount of interest in our program recently and I believe that we will be a team the community will enjoy watching.”
The men will host St. Thomas University next on Saturday, October 13 at 7:00 pm at MacLauchlan Arena.
Season seats are still available but are selling quickly. Visit gopanthersgo.ca to purchase tickets. The Box Office will open at 6:00 pm on October 12.