Hrechka returns, home opener nears

It was a run for the ages. Ending the regular season 14 points ahead of the Waywayseecappo Wolverines, the Dauphin Kings were crowned West Division champions. It was a great first step completed towards their journey of winning a Turnbull Cup. 

Dauphin then dispatched the Swan Valley Stampeders in six games before beating the Winkler Flyers in five games and that set stage for an MJHL final that will be talked about likely for many years. Taking on the regular season champion Steinbach Pistons, the Kings found themselves in a must-win game six on home ice.

After a scoreless first period in front of more than 1850 fans, Colby Jaquet fired a wrister from the right point and a hometown product did the rest. Garrett Hrechka got his stick on the Jaquet shot and tipped it past Will Hambley to give Dauphin a 1-0 lead and they never looked back in a 2-0 win.

Game seven was all set for the T.G. Smith Centre and Kings fans flooded the stands. Following a Dawson Milliken goal to give the Pistons the lead, Logan Calder tied up the contest in the second. Then with just more than eight minutes left in the third, 16-year-old Brayden Dube beat Hambley to give the Kings a 2-1 lead, one they would hold as they were crowned Manitoba Junior Hockey League champions. 

Dauphin would then put together a solid run at the Centennial Cup as they won their pool before falling against the Pickering Panthers in the national semifinal. For local forward Garrett Hrechka, he still remembers that title run as if it were yesterday and the Dauphinite proved to be a big part of Dauphin’s puzzle. Garrett scored three goals in the playoffs and he added two assists.

“Even starting this season, I think about what happened last year and that’s the goal once again,” said Hrechka. 

Following a busy training camp and preseason schedule, Dauphin will open their season this weekend with a home-and-home against the Neepawa Titans. First up is their home opener on Friday at Credit Union Place. Friday’s activities begin with a tailgate party outside the rink at 5 p.m.

Playing for his hometown junior team was always Garrett’s dream and now that he’s heading into his 20-year-old season, Hrechka is looking forward to getting down to business as his junior journey rolls on.

“I’m so extremely excited about the season,” said Hrechka. “Seeing that banner go up is going to be extremely special but when the puck drops, we have to move forward and focus on the task at hand.”

In case you missed it in the past, here are a few fun facts about Garrett ahead of the new season.

Who are your favourite professional sports teams?

The Cleveland Browns in the NFL and the Boston Bruins in the NHL

What’s your favourite movie?

Parasite or the Dirt

What about your favourite childhood memory?

Going to Quebec with the french program in elementary school

What do you most enjoy about living in Dauphin?

Hunting and ice fishing in the area, it’s pretty incredible.