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Exciting times ahead for hockey fans

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Big news from last week. Rogers Hometown Hockey is coming to the City of Sunshine.
Featuring hosts Ron MacLean and Tara Slone, Hometown Hockey will be in Dauphin, Nov. 16 and 17.
Details of the festivities have yet to be announced, but it will be a fun and busy two days for fans of all ages and will feature NHL alumni as part of the festivities.
As excited as I am about it, I have to wonder who selects the dates and games to feature for each community.
The feature game for Dauphin will be the Calgary Flames visiting the Vegas Golden Knights, Nov. 17. The first week of the Hometown Hockey series, from Halton Hills, Ont., Oct. 6, features the Winnipeg Jets against the New York Islanders from New York.
Gee, I wonder which game local fans would be more interested in?
Perhaps a little background research should have been done before any decisions were finalized.
It will still be an exciting day for local hockey fans, as we get to show off our great community to the rest of the country.
• • •
The Manitoba Junior Hockey League season begins in a few short days and it promises to be an exciting one for junior hockey fans across the province.
The parity throughout the league will be on display again, as it was last season. Just 10 points separated fourth place from seventh place and it promises to be just as close this year.
The Kings saw an increase in attendance last season and it would be great to see that trend continue this year. And there is no reason why it shouldn’t.
Local fans can expect the Kings to be right in the mix. The team is fast, skilled, competes hard and has some toughness, as well.
Coach and general manager Doug Hedley will have some tough decisions to make prior to Friday’s season opener in Swan River. All of the 32 players still in camp as of this past Friday’s preseason finale against Neepawa are capable of playing at the junior level. Deciding which players to keep and which to let go will not be easy.
With Portage hosting the National Junior A Championship this season, the whole league should be buzzing with excitement.
Are you ready?
• • •
Leafs fans are celebrating after the signing of one of the game’s top young stars in Mitch Marner over the weekend.
And, in the words of Forrest Gump, “That’s all I have to say about that.”
For those who may not be aware, I do NOT like the Leafs.
The Winnipeg Jets, meanwhile, are still trying to get Patrik Laine and Kyle Connor to sign on the dotted line.
They did get defenceman Josh Morrissey signed to an extension, but Connor and Laine, two key cogs in the Jets offensive scheme, have yet to come to an agreement, which is leaving some fans to wonder if either player will be on the ice at Bell MTS Place this season.
The absence of Connor and Laine will give others a chance to show what they can do in a bigger role. It will be interesting to see who gets that chance to shine.

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Doug Zywina
REPORTER