The 2015-2016 Hanover Tache Junior Hockey League season begins tonight.

The defending champion Grunthal Red Wings host the Mitchell Mohawks and the Springfield Xtreme meet the Lorette Comets in Oakbank.

The Steinbach Huskies and Red River Mudbugs play their season openers next weekend.

“It's hockey season so yes we're happy to get going,” said HTJHL president Ray Laing. “We've got six strong teams going this year so we're looking forward to it.”

The league has six teams this season because the Niverville Clippers asked for and received a one-year leave of absence.

“Niverville seemed to be getting better every year,” Laing said. “Six of their players graduated due to age and their coach Todd Anderson moved on. I'm not sure what happened but they're going to take a year off.”

Two teams have dominated the Hanover Tache Junior Hockey League.

Grunthal and Steinbach have combined to win 10 of the last 11 championships.

Lorette won the 2009-2010 title.

It should be noted that in the past 11 seasons, the Comets have played in three finals, the Mudbugs, Mohawks and Xtreme played in two each.

“Everything is cyclical especially in junior hockey as players graduate and things change,” said Laing. “There has been very good competitive hockey in the league the last number of years and we hope that continues.”

The HTJHL almost added another team this fall as a group from Sanford expressed interest in joining the league.

That may happen next season.

How about the return of the La Broquerie Habs?

President Laing and the rest of the league can't wait.

“They've got two good midget teams there. They've won the provincials and they think as those players are graduating from midget there is a good chance that they'll be putting a team back in and that's exciting. That's hockey town for sure.”

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Monday, March 25th

HTJHL
Red River vs Springfield
@ St. Jean, 8 p.m.
(Mudbugs lead best of 7 final 3-1)

Manitoba AAA Midget Hockey League
Brandon at Wpg Wild, 7 p.m.
(best of 5 final tied 1-1)

NHL
Florida at Toronto, 6 p.m.
Buffalo at New Jersey, 6 p.m.
Pittsburgh at N.Y. Rangers, 6 p.m.
Boston at Tampa Bay, 6:30 p.m.
Dallas at Winnipeg, 7 p.m.
Nashville at Minnesota, 7 p.m.
Vegas at St. Louis, 7 p.m.
Los Angeles at Calgary, 8 p.m.
Detroit at San Jose, 9:30 p.m.

NBA
Philadelphia at Orlando, 6 p.m.
Oklahoma City at Memphis, 7 p.m.
Phoenix at Utah, 8 p.m.
Brooklyn at Portland, 9 p.m.

Sunday, March 24th

CSHL
Ste. Anne 6 Grunthal 5 (OT)
(Aces win best of 7 final 4-2)

MJHL
Portage 5 Virden 2
(Terriers lead best of 7 semifinal 2-0)

NHL
Washington 3 Philadelphia 1
N.Y. Islanders 2 Arizona 0
Carolina 2 Montreal 1 (OT)
Chicago 2 Colorado 1 (OT)
Columbus 5 Vancouver 0

NBA
Charlotte 115 Toronto 114
L.A. Clippers 124 New York 113
Milwaukee 127 Cleveland 105
Indiana 124 Denver 88
Houston 113 New Orleans 90
San Antonio 115 Boston 96
Golden State 121 Detroit 114
L.A. Lakers 111 Sacramento 106

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