By Mike Stackhouse
The Flin Flon Bombers may not have won the Canalta Cup last year, but losing to the Melfort Mustangs in the championship series did have its rewards.
Mike Reagan, the longest currently serving SJHL Coach/General Manager, says having a summer to reflect on the year was helpful. “As an organization, it has been 30 years and 2 league final appearances with this being our first since we won it 23 years ago. We do feel a sense of accomplishment. I remember losing to a real good Humboldt team led by Dean Brockman three different times in the semi-finals, so for selfish reasons, I was real happy when he left for Saskatoon,” Reagan joked.
“Overall, we played very well. We didn’t lose the series. We just didn’t catch a couple of breaks. We are proud of our guys for what they accomplished. I was here in 1993 (Flin Flon is Reagan’s hometown) when the Bombers won and I felt this past year was very similar in that it brought our community together. Many people outside Flin Flon don’t know that our overall morale as a town was low because of a strike at the mine. The excitement we built with the playoff run really rejuvenated a lot of people and brought folks together and it was amazing to see that.”
On the ice, the Bombers figure to be competitive once again as there is plenty of experience in goal and on defense, although the high scoring trio of Alex Smith, Joel Kocur, and Brandon Switzer needs to be replaced. “Any time you have a solid nucleus from the goaltender out, I think a team is in good shape. It’s true we lost a lot of scoring, but our depth of scoring will be better than last year just based on the experience they received. I look to a player like Jason Lavallee to make a real impact. He broke his wrist in game three of the final and it really hurt us.” Dondre Watson has been brought in from the AJHL, where he scored 27 goals last year and then there are up and comers such as Brandon Lesko, Nick Shumlanski, and Rylee Zimmer who showed flashes in reduced roles a season ago.