With a lot of change occurring over the summer, the Calgary Canucks were looking for a fresh start in the 2015-2016 season. To start the season, the Canucks welcomed a new coaching staff including Head Coach and GM Jay Pylypuik, Associate Coach and Assistant GM Adam Redmond, and Assistant Coach Jason Read. As the season started the main focus was on building up the team and finding the right combination of players that could help the organization meets its goals. With 14 rookies on the roster, the Canucks headed into the 2015-2016 season looking to make an impression.
Throughout September and October the Canucks added some key players to the lineup including acquiring defenseman Allan MacPherson and forwards Ryan McKinnon, Hunter Routheau and Mitchell Scott.
Things started to come together in December after the Canucks acquired Ben Assad from the Grande Prairie Storm and Josh Giacomin from the Lloydminster Bobcats in November. Throughout December the Canucks were able to win a number of games on home ice as the team was battling to stay in the playoff race.
Following the Christmas break, the Canucks hit their stride finishing the second half of the season strong. With the outstanding play of the Canucks’ two rookie goaltenders, Caiden Kreitz and Logan Drackett, and with the team coming together up front, the players were able to go 13-10-1 after the break moving their way up in the standings to finish 6th in the South Division. At the end of the season the Canucks had a record of 24-33-3 (51 points), which is the best finish the team has had since the 2011-2012 season, in which the Canucks also finished 6th, and the most winningest team in 6 years.
With a 6th place finish the Canucks advanced to the AJHL Gas Drive playoffs for the first time in 4 years. Although they were unable to defeat the Okotoks Oilers in the first round, the players had an amazing season! Making playoff was a huge accomplishment and is one of the first steps in rebuilding the Canucks organization and will set the foundations when the team returns to Max Bell Centre for the 2016-2017 season.
Over the course of the season the Canucks had a number of great accomplishments and season highlights that happened both on and off the ice:
- Both of the Canucks rookie goaltenders, Caiden Kreitz and Logan Drackett, were nominated for the Alberta Ford Dealers AJHL Goalie of the week after their stellar play.
- The Canucks hosted 2 Satellite games: On December 15th the Canucks hosted our first satellite game in Strathmore, AB against the Fort McMurray Oil Barons. Then on February 21st the Canucks headed out to Cochrane, AB to take on the Whitecourt Wolverines. The Canucks would once again like to thank everyone for making these games such a success.
- The Canucks were excited to have two players selected as finalists for the AJHL League awards. Ben Assad was nominated for the Don McNabb Memorial Trophy for the Most Dedicated player award and Logan Drackett was a finalist for the Friends of Alberta Junior Hockey League Trophy for the top goaltender award. While they did not win in their categories the Canucks are proud of Ben and Logan for what they have done over the course of the season.
- Logan Drackett won the 2016 Viterra Cup after being selected as the game star in 14 games over the course of the season.
- The Canucks partnered with Calgary Women’s Shelter and Brown Bagging for Calgary Kids to help support Calgarians in need.
Thank you to all the coaches and players for their hard work and dedication throughout the year. As a team you accomplished more than most expected from you. We couldn’t be prouder of the success you have had this season and we look forward to what lies ahead.
The Canucks would like also like to wish the graduating Canucks players, Tye Hand, Hunter Routheau, and captain Chandler Irvin, all the best in their future endeavors. You have been incredible leaders and will have success on whichever path life takes you.
Also a big thank you to all the parents, fans, alumni, and volunteers. You are the backbone of our organization and we succeed because of your support.
We look forward to seeing everyone in the 2016-2017 season!
GO CANUCKS GO!