The Nighthawks are only days away from the kickoff of their second season, and we’ve got all the details on the lineup.
It’s a new year, and the Nighthawks are back in action this week. After a productive preseason and busy training camp, the team is ready to launch a whole new campaign, once again under the watchful eye of head coach and general manager Kelvin Cech.
The season takes off this Friday, September 22 with the home opener versus the Selkirk Steelers at 7:00 p.m. at the CRRC.
Let’s get to meet the players! In this article, we’ll introduce you to the second batch of forwards.
Tyler Kuldt was born and raised in Alexandria, Minnesota, where he has lived all his life. It’s also, of course, where he learned to play hockey.
“I basically had skates thrown on my feet as soon as I could walk,” says Kuldt. “I chose to be a forward because I like to get points and make plays.”
Kuldt’s favourite hockey memory from his career to date is having the opportunity to play in the Minnesota State High School Hockey Tournament as a member of the Alexandria Area High School team.
Kuldt is also thrilled to be joining the Nighthawks for the 2023–24 season.
“I really wanted to continue my hockey career, and Niverville seemed like the best option for me,” he says. “I really liked what I have heard and seen from their inaugural season and can’t wait to be a part of a team like this, and develop as a player and a person.”
Caleb Lepitre was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta.
“My dad would play ministicks with me in the hallway of our house basically from when I started walking,” says Lepitre. “I skated on the outdoor rink at two years old and never wanted to get off.”
Before joining the Nighthawks, Lepitre played in the historic Brick Tournament. He also competed in the CSSHL playoffs in Penticton.
Lepitre is excited at the prospect of furthering his career in the MJHL with the Nighthawks.
“The Nighthawks really saw my potential and wanted to help me be the best player that I can be,” he says. “I am excited to see what our team will bring to the table this season after seeing all the great talent we got to offer.”
Carter Spirig was born in Peace River, Alberta but moved to Fort McMurray when he was four. He also started playing competitive hockey there.
“As soon as I figured out how to get up on my own, my mom and dad gave me a stick,” Spirig says. “My older brother played hockey, and I wanted to do the same.”
An original member of the Nighthawks, Spirig loved playing in the inaugural Nighthawks home game in front of a sold-out rink.
“Last season when I got the opportunity to come to Niverville and have the opportunity to play in the first season in franchise history, I was super excited,” he remembers. “We had an early exit in the first round of playoffs last year, so I know the players this year are ready to make our mark.”
Michael Tanchak was born and raised in Winnipeg, where he started playing hockey at a young age with the help of his father.
“I grew up on a lake, so my dad would make me a rink and we would go out and play all of the time,” says Tanchak.
His favourite hockey memories include signing with the MJHL’s Winnipeg Blues for his Grade 12 year and winning a high school provincial championship with St. Paul’s High School in Grade 10.
After scoring 35 points in 54 games with the Winnipeg Blues last season, Tanchak is excited at the prospect of joining the Nighthawks organization.
“Joining the Nighthawks is exciting to me because it seems like a great place to play with an awesome fanbase.”
Brett Tataryn was born in Selkirk and raised in nearby Argyle.
“I got into hockey from my dad teaching me to skate when I was three and watching his hockey games,” says Tataryn of his earliest memories. “I fell in love with the game from that point on.”
Tataryn also fondly recalls winning the CSSHL championship with Pilot Mound Hockey Academy.
Last season, Tataryn served as the first team captain in the history of the Niverville Nighthawks. In 47 games last year, Tataryn scored 19 goals and made 16 assists.
“Being part of the Nighthawks organization is important to me because it is so close to home compared to other teams,” he says. “I get to see my family more often than usual. I’m very excited to get things rolling this year.”
Bryce Warkentine was born and raised on a dairy farm close to Landmark. He got into hockey pretty early on—from the time he could start walking, in fact.
“My dad figured hockey was a good sport because he had more time in the winter as a farmer to take me to practice,” says Warkentine.
Warkentine’s favourite hockey memory was being traded to the Nighthawks. Last season, he scored 14 points in 33 games.
“Niverville is such a great organization with good ethics and integrity,” he says of the team’s culture. “They were willing to give me a chance, and they continue to do so. The coaches have empowered and equipped me to play at this level. I’m excited to see what this year will bring!”
Ben Whitford was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta, where his dad got him into hockey as a young kid.
Whitford is quick to name his favourite hockey memory to date. That would be last season’s home opener, as he has the privilege of being an original member of the Nighthawks.
Last season with the team, Whitford scored 15 points in 51 games, working hard as a strong two-way forward.
“I’m excited to be back and happy to see all the guys around the rink again,” says Whitford. “I know we’re all ready to build off last season and excited to get going.”
Ty Dilello – Niverville Citizen