The chill in the air doesn't just mean the end of fall, this time of year also brings hockey to Havre.
Second year head coach Tyler Boyce will try his hand at another Ice Hawks high school hockey season. Last year the Havre Ice Hawks hockey team finished the season 8-9-1 and finished fifth at the state tournament. But with a new season starting today, the Ice Hawks are ready to go.
Today through Sunday the Ice Hawks will host the Havre Border Bash tournament at the Havre Ice Dome. Joining Havre will be the Gull Lake Greyhounds (gull Lake, Canada), Golden Eagles (Idaho Falls, Idaho), Glacier Avalanche (Whitefish) and the South County Sabres (Warner, Canada).
Today the Ice Hawks will open their season against Warner at 2 p.m. And to follow, the Ice Hawks will take on Idah. And Saturday Havre will face Gull Lake at 12 p.m. and Glacier at 6 p.m.
Sunday the consolation game will be at 9 a.m. and the championship game will be at 11:15 a.m.
"We are totally jacked about this," Boyce said. "This is a guaranteed four-game, possibly five-game weekend for us and that is a lot of games. We will learn a whole lot and this will be interesting to see who does what and what we need to work on."
And this is the perfect situation to do so. None of these games are league games and will not effect the Ice Hawks later when a division seed is on the line. The Ice Hawks can focus on getting better, and will do so against unfamiliar teams. Glacier is the only team the Ice Hawks have faced, facing them last season when both teams finished about equal in the standings.
"We just need to find the kinks we will have early," Boyce said.
This season the Ice Hawks enter with a sturdy core group. Forward Nate Welch, forward Tim Welch, right wing Ned Malone and right wing Ethan Hettinger highlight some of the returning talent on offense. And on defense, goalie Joey DeVries, Tony Morsette, Levi Wavrick and Chase Rolf headline the returning players.
"We are looking at them to be our leaders this year," Boyce said. "We are looking for them to play consistent. We have a good, all around team but we need them to bring good consistency and good net play especially."
But with the good talent coming in, the Ice Hawks also lost a few top names to moving and basketball.
Danny Roe moved and will be missed, and Justin Jensen and Brayden Grimson will be playing basketball for the Blue Ponies this winter. All three are very talented hockey players, and will leave big holes to fill this season.
"It is a wide open field right now," Boyce said. "We aren't necessarily trying to replace those guys, but we are looking for other kids to just step up. We have a lot of talent still this year and it will just depend on who wants it more."
Jon Stoner will be looked at to step up from the center position, as will Caleb McClain and Gavin Gunderson, two new defenders for the Ice Hawks. They will give the team a huge boost if the can perform, and should help the Ice Hawks in their goal of just playing well and getting better as the season progresses.
"We have a lot of younger talented guys and a lot of leadership coming back," Boyce said. "I am just looking for an all around team effort this season, just for everybody to step up so we can just roll lines and not have anybody sitting out. The main goal for me is to just develop these guys. It was my first year coaching last year, so we all learned a lot together, but it would nice to keep developing as a team so we can all play hard all day and beat each other up. I am not looking for a specific record or anything at this point, just a lot of player development and we will see where that takes us."
The Ice Hawks open their season today at 2 p.m. when they host Warner. They will also face Idaho at 8 p.m. and Gull Lake at 12 p.m. Saturday and Glacier at 6 p.m. on Saturday.
Border Bash Tournament
at Havre Ice Dome
2 p.m. — Havre vs Warner (Canada)
4 p.m. — Glacier vs Gull Lake
8 p.m. — Havre vs Idaho
8 a.m. — Gull Lake vs Idaho
10 a.m. — Warner vs Glacier
12 p.m. — Havre vs Gull Lake
2 p.m. — Glacier vs Idaho
4 p.m. — Gull Lake vs Warner
6 p.m. — Havre vs Glacier
8 p.m. — Idaho vs Warner
9 a.m. — Consolation Game
11:15 a.m. — Championship Game
Havre Ice Hawks, Gull Lake Greyhounds, Idaho Falls Golden Eagles, Glacier Avalanche (Whitefish), South County Sabres (Warner, Sask.)