Exhibition Season 2023 Recap
Recap by Mackenzie Grafton
The 2023-24 AJHL season is almost here and the Canucks had a strong showing in the exhibition season going 6-1.
Calgary opens the season on September 15th on the road with back-to-back nights in Lloydminster and Bonnyville before hosting their home opener vs. the Camrose Kodiaks on September 23rd.
“I am very excited with where the team is at going into the season,” says GM and Head Coach Brad Moran, “This is a much improved and motivated group and is easy to see how much work they have put in over during the off season. It was a busy summer and we’ve made some promising trades and signings that we hope will add a spark to our roster.”
The Canucks are also excited to introduce our 2023-2024 leadership group:
- Captain Bowden Singleton
- Assistant Captain Riley Hearn
- Assistant Captain Ty Hipkin
- Assistant Captain Ethan Casper
Ty Hipkin led his team with five goals and five assists in five games played, Hipkin was third in team points last season 40 points. The ’03-born forward is returning for his second season with the Canucks and had three multi-point games, including a four-point performance vs the Canmore Eagles on September 8th. Last season Hipkin was third in team points with 21 goals and 19 assists.
Exhibition Season Recap
August 26th @ Olds Grizzlys
The Canucks began their exhibition season on the road in Olds. They had a strong start, leading 2-0 in the first period with goals from Sam Dubchack and Jaxson Doyle. Olds managed to score a goal of their own in the second period, narrowing the gap. However, the Canucks took charge in the third period, with Miller Leckie, Quinn Keeler, and Ben Strokes each scoring a goal. The Grizzlys managed to score one more goal before the game ended, but the Canucks ultimately won with a final score of 5-2.
August 30th @ Drumheller Dragons
The Canucks played a tight game against the Dragons in Drumheller. After a scoreless first period, Billy Hooson put the Canucks on the board in the second with a goal. However, the Dragons quickly answered, tying the game 1-1. In the second period, the Dragons scored first, but the Canucks responded to tie it up again at 2-2. The game remained tied through overtime and into a shootout, where the Canucks were able to secure a 3-2 win.
September 1st vs. Okotoks Oilers
After two games on the road, the Canucks would return to Max Bell Centre to host the Okotoks Oilers at Perry Cavanagh Arena. The Oilers had a 1-0 lead going into the second period, but the Canucks quickly tied when Zephyr LaPlante scored just 37 seconds into the period. Oilers from Shayne Tibbles and Quinn Keeler for the Canucks both scored within a minute and 39 seconds of each other, giving us a tied game at 2-2. However, Okotoks took control in the third period, scoring three straight goals to secure a 5-2 win over the Canucks.
September 2nd @ Okotoks Oilers
The following night the Canucks found themselves in a tough spot, down 2-1 heading into the third period. However, they managed to tie the game thanks to a goal from Ty Hipkin. Unfortunately, the Oilers quickly responded to regain the lead. Down once again by a goal, Easton Inglis scored and the Canucks had a tie game with under nine to play. Moments after stepping out of the penalty box, Bowden Singleton found himself with the puck and went on to score the game-winning goal for the Canucks for the Canucks for a 4-3 victory.
September 6th vs. Drumheller Dragons
Inspired by some Labour Day classic football, the Canucks scored a touchdown on the visiting Drumheller Dragons. Calgary scored a pair of goals in the first period from Julien Gervais and Easton Heson. Easton Inglis would continue the scoring for his team before the Dragons could find the back of the net. Leading 3-1, Dylan Bidyk would make it a 4-1 game after 40. In the 3rd, the Dragons would score another but the Canucks would get right back to work. Sam Lozinski and Zephyr LaPlante would each pick up a goal with Easton Inglis scoring his second of the game, en route to a 7-2 game.
September 8th @ Canmore Eagles
With the exhibition season coming close to an end, the Canucks got set for a two-game series with the Canmore Eagles. The Eagles started the game strong, taking a 3-0 lead early into the second period. Led by their top line of Gavin Garland, Ty Hipkin and Bowden Singleton, the Canucks stormed back over the next two periods with four unanswered goals. Hipkin led his team to a 4-2 win, scoring two goals and adding two assists to help secure the Canucks victory.
September 9th vs. Canmore Eagles
In the second meeting with Canmore and the final game of the pre-season, the Canucks played host to the Eagles. The game got off to a good start for Canmore, with them getting the first goal. However, the Canucks quickly took control of the game, with Luke Davies, Ayden Peters, and Ty Hipkin scoring three goals in the first period. With a 3-1 lead going into the second period, the Canucks continued to dominate, adding another three goals to their tally. Gavin Schmidt, Bowden Singleton, and Ty Hipkin (with his second of the game) all found the back of the net. In the final frame, both teams scored, but it was the Canucks came out with a 7-3 win.
Key Signings and Trades
The ‘06 born from Florida is expected to make an immediate impact with his new squad after signing in the offseason. The 5’10” forward appeared in nine games last season with the Okotoks Oilers, scoring three goals and five points. Garland is committed to the University of Nebraska – Omaha.
The ’03-born center is coming over from GOJHL where he was top ten in scoring, and will add some offense for the Canucks. The 6’0” forward played in 48 games last season for the Chatham Maroons, putting up 23 goals and 65 points.
Molinaro, a ’03-born goalie was traded for future considerations from the National Championship runner-up, Collingwood Blues. Molinaro appeared in 20 games for the Blues, putting up 15 wins, a .908 SV%, 2.15 GAA, and one shutout.
Casper, a ’03-born defenceman who was acquired for future considerations from the Drumheller Dragons. Set to appear in his fourth AJHL season, he is expected to be a steady veteran on the blue line. The 6’1″ blueliner picked up five points in 31 games and scored one goal in seven playoff games last season with the Dragons.
Another trade for future considerations brings the ’04-born forward Ayden Peters from the Grande Prairie Storm. Peters, a native of Calgary scored 18 goals and 37 points in 51 games for the Storm last season.
Upcoming Home Games
The Canucks host two home games in September and will also be at home for the 2023 AJHL Showcase presented by Nutrien.
- Sat, Sep 23 vs. Camrose Kodiaks 5 PM Puckdrop – Home Opener
- Sun, Sep 24 vs. Canmore Eagles: 5 PM Puck drop – Sunday Funday
- Wed, Sep 27 vs. Canmore Eagles: 5 PM Puckdrop – AJHL Showcase
- *Fri, Sep 29 vs. Drayton Valley Thunder: 5 PM Puckdrop – AJHL Showcase
- *Drayton Valley is designated as the home team