Thunder crush Lightning in season opener
September 20th 2018
By Scott Fisher
The Airdrie Techmation Thunder kicked off their 2018-19 season with a bang Friday night.
Jordan McConnell scored four times and finished with eight points and captain Jacob MacDonald had a hat-trick as the Thunder pounded the Stettler Lightning 13-2 at the Ron Ebbesen Arena.
Veteran Rylan Plante-Crough had a goal as part of a six-point night and newcomer Cooper Page light the lamp once and had five points in the blowout victory.
Thunder head coach Derek Stamp was obviously pleased with the offensive explosion against the short-staffed Lightning but said cautioned that his club still has some work to do
“We got up early and they only had 10 skaters,” Stamp said. “The struggle then became about us trying to make sure we maintained our details and didn’t fall into bad habits.”
Zachary Dubois opened the scoring 2:10 into the game with his first of two markers on the night and McConnell netted his first 22 seconds later to kick-start the home side, which outshot Stettler 70-26.
Benjamin Orde and Brett Legrandeur also lit the lamp for the Thunder, who led 5-1 after the first period and 9-2 after 40 minutes.
“We did a lot of things well, especially offensively,” Stamp said. “But there was a lot of sloppiness, especially in the defensive zone.
“It’s nice to get some flow going and it was an opportunity to give our young guys a lot of ice time. They played in a lot of situations and got a feel for what this league is all about.”
Rookie goaltender Jackson Little booted out 24 pucks to pick up his first Heritage Junior Hockey League win.
The Thunder, who went 3-for-4 on the powerplay, travel to Coaldale to play the Copperheads Saturday night.
Thunder - Home opener story
September 20th 2018
By Scott Fisher
It’s shaping up to be quite a storm.
Then again, whenever you get Thunder and Lightning together, that’s usually the outcome.
The Airdrie Techmation Thunder are set to kick off the Heritage Jr. Hockey League season on Friday night.
The Thunder will welcome the Stettler Lightning to the Ron Ebbesen Arena (8 p.m.).
Airdrie head coach Derek Stamp is excited to get things started after his club went 2-2 in the pre-season.
“We feel really positive about the roster we have put together,” Stamp said. “We have a great mix of size, speed, and skill as well as some great attitudes and a much stronger attention to detail.”
The Thunder went 23-9-4 last season and will look to improve on their 50-point campaign, which was good for second in the Northern Division.
The Lightning (16-17-3) ended up fifth in the division last season.
Veteran goaltender Ryan Simpson will be joined by rookie Jackson Little to solidify Airdrie’s crease.
“Both Simpson and Little had good pre-seasons and we are excited to see what they can do in the regular season,” Stamps said.
There are only five returning faces, including captain Jacob MacDonald, from the opening-night roster from a year ago.
Rookie Brett LeGranduer and veteran Cooper Page are just two new players worth keeping an eye on.
“Brett LeGranduer is an Airdrie kid, played Midget AAA for the Bisons last year,” Stamp said. “He is very talented and we expect him to have a real impact this year.
“Cooper was part of a championship team (Kimberley Dynamiters) in the KIJHL last season and brings with him an understanding of what it takes to win, both on and off the ice.”
The Thunder hit the road on Saturday for a date with the Coaldale Copperheads (8:30 p.m.).
Thunder name Jacob MacDonald captain for 2018-19 season
August 20, 2018
Jacob MacDonald will wear the ‘C’.
The veteran winger was named captain by Airdrie Techmation Thunder head coach Derek Stamp.
Stamp said MacDonald was an easy choice to lead the Thunder during the Heritage Junior Hockey League 2018-19 campaign.
“He was such a good player last year,” Stamp said. “He really bought into what we were asking our players to do.
“I think that was evident on the ice in the numbers he was able to put up and the responsibility he took on in all three zones.
“Just being able to execute those values made him an easy choice.”
MacDonald put up 21 goals and 42 points in 34 regular-season tilts in 2017-18 following a 24-point rookie campaign.
He will take over for out-going captain Clay Murray, who graduated from the junior ranks at the conclusion of last spring’s playoffs.
MacDonald is familiar with both the veteran core and some of the new faces the team will add this fall when evaluation camp kicks off on Monday, Sept. 3 (5 p.m. at the Ron Ebbesen Arena).
“He covers both the group that was here prior and the new guys coming in,” Stamp said.
“And his leadership skills made him an easy choice.”
MacDonald is a product of the Airdrie Minor Hockey system, playing with the Bantam and Midget Lightning.
The 5-foot-9, 175-pounder said having the ‘C’ stitched on his chest is something special.
“It’s really humbling,” the 20-year-old said. “I’m really excited about it. I can’t wait to start the season.
“I feel really honoured."
The Thunder will be looking to build on a successful ’17-18 season that saw the team finish with a 23-9-4 record.
“I think we’ll do better league-wise,” MacDonald said. “There are a lot of teams that are losing good guys. I don’t know if we’ll be a way better team but we’ll be on par with last year.
Stamp said he expects the U of C student, who is heading into his third year in the chemical engineering program, to lead by example.
“He doesn’t go out of his way to talk when he doesn’t necessarily need to,” Stamp said. “When something has to be said, he’ll say it.
“For the most part, it’s the day-in, day-out details both on and off the ice, showing up to practices and games, being ready and prepared.
“It’ll be great for our other players to be able to follow that and see, that by him doing these things, it led to the progression he’s made in this league to become the player he is.
“It will show these guys the way they need to play to be successful in this league.”
For more information:
Head coach, Airdrie Techmation Thunder
Weight: 175 lb.
Birth: Aug. 18, 1998
GP G A Pt PIM
2015-16 1 1 2 3 0
2016-17 35 8 16 24 50
2017-18 34 21 21 42 14
Career 70 30 39 69 64
By Scott Fisher
The Airdrie Techmation Thunder are ready to hit the ice.
The Heritage Junior Hockey League club will be looking to build on a successful 2017-18 campaign when it holds an evaluation camp beginning with registration on Monday, Sept. 3 (5 p.m. at the Ron Ebbesen Arena).
Thunder head coach Derek Stamp expects a healthy turnout at this year’s camp.
“Registration just opened so we don’t have any confirmed numbers yet,” Stamp said. “We expect to have a good turnout based on conversations with players throughout the summer, confirmed returning players, and general interest from players that graduated from Minor Hockey last season.”
Camp consists of four try-out sessions and five pre-season games.
“The format will be a combination of high pace drills and small area games for the four tryout sessions,” Stamp said. “With five exhibition games scheduled against other HJHL teams, we will have a great opportunity to evaluate players in game situations as well.”
The Thunder finished with a 23-9-4 record last season, falling to the eventual HJHL champion Red Deer Vipers in the North Division final.
Stamp could have as many as a dozen returning players from that team but said he expects to identify new talent at camp and throughout the pre-season.
“This is our main camp and we will use it to evaluate everyone,” Stamp said. “We are serious about competing at the highest level and always looking to improve our roster. We will have 10-12 veterans from last years team at camp along with some very talented players that played junior in other leagues last season.
“And we’ll have some rookies that we expect to push hard for a roster spot.”
The HJHL provides high-level players an opportunity to balance hockey with busy school or work schedules.
“We offer a very balanced season for the players with two set practice days and times per week, a consistent schedule for all home games, one per week, and confirmed away games, typically one per week,” Stamp said. “We provide this information up front to allow our players the ability to plan their schedules accordingly.
“We are flexible (with the proper advance notice) on player absences due to exams and projects.
“Our mandate is to develop these players both on and off the ice.
“Life is busy and we try to teach our players how to properly schedule things while understanding accountability for absences.”
On-ice sessions begin on Tuesday, Sept. 4 (8:30 p.m. at Ron Ebbesen) with the first pre-season game slated for Friday, Sept. 7, against the visiting Three Hills Thrashers (8 p.m.).
The camp costs $200, which will be put towards the player’s annual fees if he is selected for the final roster.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Derek Stamp at email@example.com.
Monday, Sept. 3: Registration, 5:00 p.m. at Ron Ebbesen
Tuesday, Sept. 4: Try-Out, 8:30 p.m. at Ron Ebbesen
Thursday, Sept. 6: Try-Out, 9:00 p.m. at Ron Ebbesen
Friday, Sept. 7: Pre-Season Game (vs. Three Hills), 8:00 p.m. at Ron Ebbesen
Sunday, Sept. 9: Pre-Season Game (vs. Okotoks), 7 p.m. at Ron Ebbesen
Tuesday, Sept. 11: Try-Out, 8:45 p.m. at Ron Ebbesen
Thursday, Sept. 13: Try-Out, 8:45 p.m. at Ron Ebbesen
Friday, Sept. 14: Pre-Season Game (vs. Cochrane), 8 p.m. at Ron Ebbesen
Sunday, Sept. 15: Pre-Season Game (at Cochrane), 4:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Sept. 18: Pre-Season Game (at Blackfalds), 7:30 p.m.