Two Oak Bluff residents relished the chance to represent the province as part of a Team Manitoba hockey team.
Assistant coach Wayne Bartley and defenceman Brady Pouteau, of Oak Bluff, are happy with Team Manitoba’s third-place showing in the Western Canadian U-16 Challenge Cup Championship held in Calgary from Oct. 31 to Nov. 3.
Bartley, also an assistant coach on the AAA Midget Winnipeg Wild hockey team, said the Manitoba players performed well, and there was lots of interest from hockey scouts attending the competition.
Brady Pouteau, who plays on the AAA Midget Pembina Valley Hawks, was one of 20 players on Team Manitoba, and he was thrilled to have the opportunity to play against some of the best players in Western Canada.
He said the Manitoba players did well against the Alberta and B.C. teams, which captured first and second place respectively in the tournament.
Bartley views his role on Team Manitoba as a stepping stone in his hockey career.
"It’s a good feather in my cap for coaching," he said.
He’s starting to take on another responsibility — that of head coach for the provincial boys U-16 hockey team, which will compete in the Canada Winter Games in Prince George, B.C. from Feb. 13 to Mar. 1, 2015. He’s excited about the opportunity.
"We’re just starting to short-list players," he said.
The selection process for Team Manitoba will take most of the coming year.
Bartley is familiar with many of the players at this level, as he’s involved in Hockey Manitoba’s U16 Performance of Excellence program, and his son Brandon plays on the Central Plains Capitals, one of the Winnipeg Wild’s rivals.
"I spend almost all of my spare time at the rink," said Bartley.
"I would like to note that my involvement in coaching is only possible with the encouragement and support of my family. My wife Ang has been a strong supporter of my coaching activities along with our children Taylor, Austin and Brandon," Bartley said.
Inducted into the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame in 2011, he played on the Selkirk Steelers, the University of Manitoba Bisons and in the Premier Division in Great Britain.