Wolves poised for a great 2014/15 season

Posted: October 3, 2014 in News and notes

Although the first puck has yet to be dropped, the Ripley Wolves are already creating a buzz in the WOAA Senior A hockey league.

The Wolves, who kick off their season on Friday, Oct. 10, in Shallow Lake and host Lucknow on Oct. 11, at 7:30 p.m., have made a huge splash this off-season, signing some of the top talent to graduate from the Western Junior C Hockey League in years, as well as some experienced veterans.

Brett Catto, last year’s captain of the Kincardine Bulldogs, was the first to sign with the Wolves. Catto, a Kincardine native who played 51 games with the Jr. A Belleville Bulls in 2009/10, was second in Bulldogs scoring last year with 26 goals and 34 assists for 60 points in 33 games. Not afraid of the dirty areas, Catto also racked up 50 penalty minutes while leading the Bulldogs to the playoffs.

Catto’s former linemate, Cody Britton, led the Bulldogs in scoring last year and will be featured prominently on Ripley’s offence. The diminutive but speedy forward led the Dogs in scoring last year with 22 goals and 45 assists for 67 points in 35 games. He also had three shorthanded goals, showing he can play both sides of the puck.

Walkerton resident Drew Davidson will add even more firepower to Ripley’s offence, as the five-year Junior C veteran (who also played one year in Junior B) scored 24 goals and added 34 assists for 58 points in only 29 games with last year’s Walkerton Hawks. Davidson is no stranger multi-point games, as he hung an incredibe 101 points (44 goals, 57 assists) in only 35 games for the 2012/13 Hawks.

Joining Davidson in Ripley is another Walkerton native, Jordan Turcotte, who enters his first year in the Senior A league after five years in Junior C and one in Junior B. The puck-moving defenceman will add a crisp first pass to the Wolves’ back end, and is a threat in the offensive zone after scoring eight goals and adding 11 assists for 19 points in 20 games with Walkerton last season. Although attending school in Ottawa, Turcotte plans to be in the line-up full time by Christmas once his course ends.

With this influx of youth comes the need for increased veteran presence, and the Wolves have added to their defence after the retirements of mainstays Chad Colling and Kyle Gallant. Jeff Alcombrack, a Kincardine native and former coach of the Bulldogs, will make his Senior A debut after playing nine years of professional hockey in the Central Hockey League and Sweden. Alcombrack is another smart, puck-moving defenceman who should make the Wolves powerplay one of the most feared in the league.

Tyler McCarthy is the final signing on the Wolves’ defence this year. The Orangeville native, who lives with Britton at school, spent a year with the Erie Otters in the Ontario Hockey League, won a silver medal at the 2010 World Junior ‘A’ Challenge with Team Canada East and played a year for Ryerson University’s varsity team before joining the Wolves. The 6’3” d-man possesses a booming shot and an ability to neutralize the opposition with his size.

Adding players of this pedigree to a core that includes veteran snipers Jeremy McQuillin, Travis Vangaver and Nick Locking, as well as promising youngsters Paul and Shawn Stewart, Jarred Colling and Ryan Armstrong should make for an exciting season of Senior A hockey in Ripley. To mould this talent will be the responsibility of a new coaching staff led by Kincardine’s Paul Catto, who has assumed the reins from longtime coach and Wolves Wall of Famer Brent Armstrong, who cannot be thanked enough for his years of service to the team. Catto will be joined behind the bench by Dennis Schmidt and former Wolf defencemen Kent Liddle and Mark Smith.

As always, the Wolves can be followed online at ripleywolves.com, on Facebook and on Twitter @RipleyWolves. The team would like to thank all the local business owners and families who have already sponsored the 2014/15 team. If you would like to learn more about sponsorship opportunities, contact Wolves Executive member Jason Gibson at 519-395-0803.

The team has also joined forces with The Mudmen – a Celtic-rock band that stars at the annual Kincardine Scottish Festival – for a Halloween Dance at the Ripley Arena, on Friday, Oct. 31, from 9 p.m.-1 a.m. Tickets are $20 and are available at the Huron-Kinloss Township office, Ripley Variety and at Wolves home games. Prizes for best dressed will be awarded.

The Wolves home opener is Saturday, Oct. 11, at 7:30 p.m. vs our rivals from Lucknow. The full season schedule can be found on our website.

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