The opening game of the upcoming 2022–24 Nighthawks season is right around the corner. Today we are introducing you to the team’s new defence corps.
We’ll have a full game recap after the home opener, which will start at 7:00 p.m. this Friday, September 22 at the CRRC, pitting the Nighthawks against the Selkirk Steelers.
Let’s get to meet the players!
Kaycee Coyle was born in Winnipeg and raised in nearby Oakbank. Like so many of his teammates, he got into hockey early, with his parents teaching him how to skate when he was old enough to walk.
“My favourite hockey memory to date is winning the provincial Bantam AAA championship and getting a ring,” says Coyle.
After growing up in the Eastman Selects AAA system, Coyle spent last season playing in the SJHL with the La Ronge Ice Wolves. He scored 18 points in 32 games with La Ronge.
“Joining the Nighthawks was good for me to be closer to home, and also a new team to play with,” he says. “I know the Nighthawks did well last year and are trying to win it this year. The coaching staff is awesome. I can’t wait to get the season going.”
Ethan Kelly was born in Rosetown, Saskatchewan and raised on a farm nearby.
“Growing up, hockey was the main sport everyone played,” Kelly remembers.
Kelly joined the Nighthawks last season and was a stalwart presence on the team’s blueline throughout the team’s inaugural campaign. He scored 12 points in 50 games for the Nighthawks over the course of the 2022–23 season.
“I am looking forward to another good year at Niverville and can’t wait to get started,” he says.
His best memory? That would be the home opener.
“It was awesome to see the fan support that Niverville brings to the games,” he recollects. “And it was cool to play in front of the sold-out crowd!”
Avery Laliberte is a Manitoban through and through, being born and raised in Lorette. He was two years old when he first tried on a pair of skates.
“I got into hockey by watching Philadelphia Flyers games as a kid with my dad, and my dad skating with me on our backyard outdoor rink,” says Laliberte.
His biggest career highlight was being the thirteenth seed in last year’s playoffs with the RINK Hockey Academy U18 squad. They were down 4–1 against the number two seed and rallied back to win.
Laliberte was the first-ever draft pick for the Nighthawks when the club selected him with their firstround pick in the 2022 draft.
“I am pumped to get the ball rolling and play in front of all the Nighthawks fans,” he says.
Eric Martin was born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta and comes from a long line of hockey players.
There wasn’t really a question of what sport Martin would choose to pursue.
“I have lots of good memories, but one that sticks with me is my dad making a backyard rink for me when I was younger and spending a lot of time on it with my buddies,” says Martin.
Martin was an original Nighthawks player and scored 18 points in 49 games as he patrolled the team’s blueline during the 2022–23 season.
“The Nighthawks organization gave me the chance to play junior hockey,” he says, looking back at last year’s campaign. “After the year we had, making the playoffs, it’s got me really excited to get things rolling again.”
Charlie Robinson was born and raised in Buffalo, New York. He first put on a pair of skates at the age of three. He never looked back.
“My favourite hockey memories would be going to all the tournaments when I was in minor hockey, and going to the state championship both years when I was at prep school,” Robinson says.
The 19-year-old defenceman spent last season playing in the NAHL with the Northeast Generals, scoring one point in 20 games.
“Coach Kelvin gave me a great opportunity to come up here and make an impact, but he challenged me to always be hungry for more,” he says. “Of course that is exciting! I’ll be ready to come in and make an impact off the jump.”
Luke McCrady was born in Calgary, Alberta. He loved skating on the lake in winter or hitting the outdoor rink.
“My dad played at a high level, and we watched a lot of hockey when I was young,” says McCrady. “I have loved it ever since!”
McCrady played on the first CSSHL team to win the Macs Tournament and won the CSSHL championship last year.
Joining the Nighthawks organization is a dream come true for this defenceman.
“The management, coaching, and support staff have been absolutely great to deal with,” he says. “I really like the direction and the opportunities to take it to the next level. I’m super excited to get things going.”
Luke Schaeffer was born in Regina, Saskatchewan and raised on a farm 45 minutes east.
“I started skating when I was three and then started hockey when I was five,” says Schaeffer.
Schaeffer is proud to have been an original member of the team.
“It was an awesome experience being at the first home game ever in franchise history,” he says about last year’s opening tilt. “The atmosphere was amazing with the rink packed with our fans.”
Working as a sturdy defenceman, Schaeffer had 11 points in 47 games with the Nighthawks in year one. He is pumped to be back.
“I am excited to be back this season. We have a great fanbase and a great group of guys with some unfinished business. I can’t wait to get this season going.”
Wyatt Taron was born and raised in Mill Bay, British Columbia. He started playing hockey because his older brother played, but he quickly fell in love with the sport himself.
Winning the Challenge Cup marks the greatest and most memorable moment so far in Taron’s young hockey career.
Prior to joining the Nighthawks, Taron spent the past two seasons with the Shawinigan Lake School U18 prep team. Last year, he scored seven points in 30 games.
“Joining the Nighthawks is exciting to me because of the environment and culture the team has,” Taron says. “I’m super excited to start my junior career with the Nighthawks.”
Ty Dilello – Niverville Citizen