When the 100 Mile House Wranglers traded their captain and assistant captain a day before the trade deadline on Jan. 9, Head Coach and General Manager Dale Hladun had decisions to make about his new leadership group.
Local product Ethan Sanders was named captain, and it didn’t take long to decide who should get an A – goalie Loic Mainguy-Crepault.
“For me it’s a sign of respect. He’s one of our leaders and I want the hockey world to see the respect that we have for Loic because he is a leader in the room and in his play,” said Hladun. “This is important for his career.”
“It means a lot,” said Mainguy-Crepault, a native of Quebec City. “To lead a team is pretty nice. Between periods, I just like to talk.”
With French being his first language, Mainguy-Crepault admits that sometimes it is challenging for him to communicate what he wants in English. The young goalie doesn’t plan on changing how he provides leadership, but may step it up in areas depending on the situation.
Hladun believes this decision will lead to Mainguy-Crepault being even stronger with his performances. Mainguy-Crepault plays quickly on his feet and relies on his reflexes. In 14 games, the 6-1, 180 pound goalie has four wins with a .915 SP and inspires his teammates with how he plays.
“I’ve had a lot of good goalies in the KIJHL since I started way back in Princeton,” said Hladun. “I’ve had a good chunk that went on to NCAA and even to pro. I’d rank Loic right up there with some of the elite I had on my past clubs.”
Hladun talked about it with his new captain and Sanders told him he thought it was a great idea.
“He has a good voice in the room. He’s a really good teammate,” said Hladun.
Mainguy-Crepault, who joined the Wranglers in late October from the Nipawin Hawks in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League, played his first game on Oct. 26 and earned his first KIJHL win on Oct. 30 against Revelstoke. The 18-year-old said his season has been pretty good and he enjoys being a Wrangler.
“It’s really fun to be part of a group like that,” he said.
Before Casey Thomson was dealt to the Fernie Ghostriders for Jesse Schindel, Hladun split the goalie duties. Now Hladun said this is Mainguy-Crepault’s team.
“For me it means a lot to have the No.1 spot,” he said. “I can prove to Duner (Coach Hladun) I really can be a No.1 goalie for him.”