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Mountainview Colts coach counting on veteran forwards

Didsbury-based Alberta Heritage Junior B Hockey League team has exhibition game at home Sept. 9.
Head coach Dan Visser speaks with his players during a break last season. File photo/MVP Staff

DIDSBURY - The Mountainview Colts will be relying heavily on the play of veteran forwards returning to the team for the 2023-24 season, says second-year head coach Dan Visser.

The north division Alberta Heritage Junior B Hockey League team is based in the Memorial Complex arena in Didsbury.

Exhibition games are set to get underway this week, including home matches against the Airdrie Techmation Thunder on Sept. 9 and against Sylvan Lake on Sept. 15. 

Having several high-scoring veteran forwards back on the team this season bodes well for the squad, he said.

“We are deep on forwards,” said Visser. “I think we are fine on the forward end. The veteran forward leadership and play is going to be huge.

“I’m expecting big things from all of those guys. I believe we are very deep on our forward group.”

Forward Paton Rothenbusch will be the team captain again in 2023-24, he said.

Other veteran forwards returning this year include Steven Bell, Jay Heistad, Haiden Parks, Treydon Brien, Simon Leischner, and Jordan Saunders.

As well as forward success, the team will also be counting on a relatively new defence rising to the occasion, he said.

“We will really concentrate on our defence,” he said. “We’ve got a whole new look on our back end. I think we are going to be better on the back end than we were last year. I’ve recruited some good players and I’m excited to see what that brings.”

The retirement of first-string netminder Chance Griffith leaves the team’s number 1 goalie position up for grabs heading into the new season.

“We are sitting right now with six goalies in camp,” he said. “I’ve got a couple already in mind.”

Visser noted that the Colts will have a new coaching staff in place this season, filled with several alumni Colts.

“This year I’ve brought a young assistant coaching staff,” he said. “The first one is Laine Rothenbusch. He’s a couple years removed from playing with the Colts. I’ve got Jason Edwards. He quite a few more years removed from playing with the Colts. 

“And then I’ve got Mitch Visser. He’s going to help us out too. He is about three years removed from playing with the Colts.”  

For his part, head coach Visser says he is looking forward to his second year as bench boss.

“I feel way more comfortable going into this year,” he said. “I’ve got that year of experience under my belt and I feel confident and good about it.”

The Colts will open the 2023-24 regular season at home against the Cannex Cochrane Generals on Sept. 22.

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