The Grunthal Red Wings, who have won four Hanover Tache Junior Hockey League championships in the past 10 seasons, have taken a one year leave of absence.
HTJHL president Ray Laing says the entire league is disappointed to see the Wings miss out on the 2017-2018 season.
"Grunthal has always been a bit of a hockey town but there's a gap in their player availability. They still have a good minor hockey program so we're hoping they have a team in the future. Sometimes it's best to take a year off and come back again stronger."
The Red Wings recorded a 7-15-2 record last season and were eliminated in the opening round of the playoffs by the Steinbach Huskies.
"We already do have a system in place where we can bring players in from outside the region on an as needed basis just to help smaller communities and other teams fill up their rosters," said Laing. "In this case Grunthal is just a little bit too short so they felt it was better to take a year off."
The Huskies, Lorette Comets, Red River Mudbugs, St. Adolphe Hawks, Mitchell Mohawks and defending champion Springfield Xtreme will play a 25-game schedule starting in the middle of October.
"We're heading into the 31st season," said Laing. "We have six strong teams. We'll hopefully be around for a number of years and we'll be ready to welcome Grunthal back into the fold."
- Category: Local Sports
- Written by Clayton Dreger