League Governor, Chair of the BOD, Public and Media Relations, Ownership Communications, Founders and Legacy Club
Clarence Braun has lived in Niverville his entire life. He started playing hockey in 1965 on the outdoor rink where the Niverville Community Fellowship Church presently is located, then graduated to playing minor hockey at the Niverville Centennial Arena when it opened in 1967. He also played for the junior Northstars and the senior Clippers.
In addition, he played some junior in Steinbach and tried out for the Brandon Wheat Kings in 1971 and the St. Boniface Saints in 1975. As a lifelong fan of the game, his favourite moment was watching the Winnipeg Jets beat the vaunted Red Army team from Russia in the Winnipeg Arena.
Braun started the Chicken Chef in Niverville in 1980 and sold it in 1986. He was also involved in church leadership at Maranatha Church in Niverville from 1987 to 1994. He then was key to developing the 72-lot subdivision called South Park Estates with some other investors in the mid-1980s.
In 1994, he opened Clare’s Family Restaurant (where Subway is found today) and operated it until 2001.
Braun was elected mayor of Niverville in 1995 and served through 2002. He was also president of the Niverville Chamber of Commerce for two terms. He then received his real estate license in 2003 and has been involved in The Highlands development since its inception in 2004.
“When I left council after two terms in 2002, our population was around 2,200 and we were starting to see the growth coming. In 2007, I had my first meeting with the commissioner of the MJHL, Kim Davis. Subsequently I brought my son-in-law Ray Dowse and my nephew Jeremy Braun into meetings in the following years. This all culminated with the announcement of a new recreational facility back in 2016. From 2016 to 2021, we began to add a few more people to our group and after many meetings we were able to secure a MJHL franchise in June of 2021.”
Corporate Sponsorship Chair, Team Marketing, Promotion and Advertising, Merchandise, Ownership Communications, Founders and Legacy Club
Ray Dowse was born in the St. Boniface neighbourhood of Winnipeg and moved out to a rural property outside Niverville when he was ten years old. He has lived in the area ever since.
Dowse started his young hockey career when he was four years old in Winnipeg, and played for Glenwood, Oxford Heights, and East End Wings in Transcona. When he moved to Niverville, he started to playing local minor hockey. Dowse was eventually drafted by the Selkirk Steelers but didn’t make the team that first year, so he came back and played in the Hanover Tache Junior Hockey League for the Niverville Clippers and promptly won the league championship.
After that, he stopped playing competitively to focus on school and his career. Since having kids of my own, he has been a minor hockey coach in Niverville.
“My favourite moments in the game have been as a coach. Just watching a team of young kids develop their individual skills and grow an understanding of how success comes from working together as a team! Seeing each of their different personalities come together and gel, and each of the players recognizing how they each could contribute to the team’s success, is amazing.”
Dowse and his leadership were big factors in bringing the Nighthawks to Niverville.
“I have really appreciated the opportunity to be part of creating something that will make a positive impact at so many levels. Canada continues to be a nation where the game of hockey is intertwined with our identity. To look across a map of the country, many of the towns and communities are recognized by their respective junior hockey teams. The new MJHL team in Niverville will contribute to the identity of this community, proudly representing this region on a provincial stage, and hopefully someday at the national tournament.”
Financial and Accounting Chair, Team Marketing, Liquor and Lotteries, Crop Program, Ownership Communications, Founders and Legacy Club
Jeremy Braun was born in Winnipeg, lived in Niverville until he was two, moved to Winnipeg, and then moved back to Niverville when he was 23 for a bit. Afterward he built a home in Winnipeg that he moved into… but then he moved back to Niverville when he started his family.
Are you keeping up with this game of hot potato?
“I’m probably one of the few board members that didn’t play hockey at a high level. I grew up playing road hockey in the streets on Fort Garry in Winnipeg almost every day after school. It was a vibrant young community, and we would often have 12 to 15 kids playing every day. I also went to the local outdoor arena on the weeks, strapped the skates on in the cold, and played pick-up hockey there. Great memories.”
Braun owned a book/gift distribution company in Winnipeg for almost 20 years and sold it in 2016. He’s also had a real estate development company that he started with his dad and brother that has been building homes, condos, and rental properties locally for the past 15 years.
“This has been a journey that I joined Clarence Braun and Ray Dowse to work on about two and half years ago. I’ve been part of this community for past 18 years. My kids have grown up here, I’ve coached sports here, we’ve invested here, we love Niverville, and we are grateful for the people and opportunities it has afforded our family. We have great friends here, and we’re now seeing our kids have opportunities to create futures here as well. The chance to work with a dynamic group of local business owners to create a community team is the way to go. It’s been amazing to see our community pull together to create and support the Nighthawks. It’s been a ton of work, but I’m super excited to see our team launch and to start to develop some great rivals throughout the league.”
Secretary and Game Day Chair, Team Marketing, Fundraising Events and Ticketing, Security, Social Media, Founders and Legacy Club
Dylan Wiens was born and raised in Niverville and has lived in town for his entire life.
Wiens has been playing hockey since he was four years old. He played minor hockey in Niverville until he was 18 years old and then proceeded to play in the local junior hockey league (HTJHL) for four years. Wiens has continued to play hockey in the local Good Time Hockey League in Niverville and plans to play as long as possible.
Wiens is a third-generation owner of Wiens Furniture, a family business. He’s been working there since he was 14, folding flyers for mailers. He graduated to working in the warehouse and on the delivery truck and then moved his way into sales. Now he co-owns the business with his father and manages the day-to-day operations.
“The opportunity to help bring the Nighthawks to Niverville was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. This community keeps growing, and to have a chance to bring our town together for a common cause seemed like a no-brainer to me. Niverville is a young town and to see my kids and their friends be able to experience MJHL hockey is something I look forward to. I truly believe that this will be more than just hockey, as it will bring more visibility to our town as we strive to become national champions. Not only that, but to show everyone involved in the team that Niverville is a fantastic place to play and to live. I am super pumped to get things started.”
Billeting Chair, Team Special Projects, Parent Communication, Founders and Legacy Club
Bryan Trottier was born in Winnipeg and spent the first 11 years of life in Dominion City before moving to Niverville around the age of 12. He has been in town ever since.
Trottier played minor hockey in Niverville, Junior C in Niverville, and senior in Niverville until he was 35 years old. His favourite hockey moment was either when the Winnipeg Jets came home or when his team won the CSHL championship.
“I am proud to be part of the Nighthawks organization. It has been a big undertaking, but after seeing it come to fruition and seeing the community get excited about it, it feels like it will all be worth it.”
He adds that he’s always made it a point to support fun activities for kids in town, especially through volunteerism.
“I think the benefits for the kids with the Nighthawks coming to town are immense. And I’ve seen lots of young smiles at the arena already, as I remember how we used to look up to the senior Clippers as kids. We can only hope this exceeds that.”
Team Community Relations, Team Billeting, Founders and Legacy Club, Consultant to the Board
Carl Fast has lived in Niverville his entire life. He has played hockey since he was four and still puts on the skates occasionally at 57 to play in the GTHL. He thinks he’s the oldest player in the league.
“I’ve played in our community hockey program from Atom and finishing in the HTHL and grew up as a rink rat shovelling snow between periods during HTHL games—no Zambonis back then—so I could watch the games for free. All my memories within the hockey world are great, but going to one last Jets game with my dad before he left this world was the best memory. The smile on his face was priceless.”
Fast and his wife are proud to be owners of a third-generation family business, Wm. Dyck and Sons, that was started by his grandfather and will move into the fourth generation under his son Ryan’s leadership in the future.
“Although I was not involved in any of the hard legwork that brought this team to our community like some of other key board members, I appreciated the opportunity to become involved as one the community owners and also serve on the board. I expect that bringing Junior A hockey to Niverville will be exciting for those who enjoy watching young athletes show their skills playing a great game, especially in our new arena. It should provide some very affordable entertainment in our community that everyone can enjoy. Let’s go, Nighthawks! I’m very much looking forward to the first Steinbach/Niverville game.”
Hockey Operations Chair, Team Budgeting, Player Education and Scholarships, Hockey TV and Production, Founders and Legacy Club
Kevin Lansard was born and raised in the RM of Ste. Anne, Manitoba, where he still resides with his wife and two children.
Shortly after graduation from high school, Kevin started a company called Lansard Computers. He custom-built computers and performed repairs alongside offering network services. He then worked on connecting Ste. Anne residents to the internet, as well as those in surrounding communities.
Not long after this, Kevin purchased Lansard Bros Roofing Ltd., a company founded by his father Leo-Paul and Uncle Roger in 1978. Kevin has since been the president and CEO of the Winnipeg-based company.
Lansard has always been involved in hockey. He played minor hockey in Ste. Anne as well as senior hockey. He has now been running the Senior Aces team for many years. Lansard has been head coach since 2016, and with the help of others the senior team has won four league championships and two provincial championships.
“The opportunity to bring Junior A to the community of Niverville is very exciting for everyone. The most exciting part will be seeing the finished product on opening night. I’m very fortunate to meet new people and create new friendships along the way and thankful for everyone involved.”
Legal Affairs Chair, E-Filing and Process, Team Special Projects, Founders and Legacy Club
Scott Wallace was born in Winnipeg and grew up in Île-des-Chênes. He moved to Niverville in 1999. He grew up playing minor hockey in Île-des-Chênes, usually beating Niverville in the playoffs.
“I was a goalie and played until I was thirty-five. My favourite moments, besides winning, were developing the lifelong friendships with those I played with—and also against.”
Wallace is a senior superintendent with PCL Construction (22 years) and has also invested in numerous properties in Niverville. He’s on the Niverville Chamber of Commerce board of directors, on the board for NHCSI (Niverville Health Care Services Committee), and was on the Clipper Ice Sports board for eight years.
“It was important for the community to be involved. The thought of having a community-owned team is what really got my attention. The fact that the younger generation will have mature hockey players to help in their development is also exciting. In my mind, this investment was never about the monetary return but about seeing the results in our own community. At some point, when you become ingrained in a community, you need to give back. This is one way I believe is essential in creating a great synergetic community.”
Alternate Governor, Alumni and Mentorship Program, League Relations, Consultant to the Board
Tom Kleysen was born in Winnipeg. His grandfather, Harry, founded Kleysen Transport Ltd. in 1935. Tom’s entrepreneurial spirit and involvement with the family business began at a young age. In order to ensure that his knowledge of the industry was diversified, he spent more than three decades working in every aspect of the organization, from mechanic to eventually president and chief operating officer.
Kleysen is a former director of the Winnipeg Blues MJHL hockey team and governor for the MJHL. He was also with the Fort Garry North Hockey Association (FGNHA) as a coach, team manager, and board member; served on the Twins AA Hockey board of directors; and was coach and general manager of the Winnipeg Falcons AAA Female Hockey program (2011–2013).
Always mindful of giving back to the community during his time with the Winnipeg Blues and the MJHL, Kleyson formed very strong views of what a Junior A hockey team should encompass.
“Firstly, the MJHL must be focused on keeping our good players playing in Manitoba—reducing expenses for players, increasing revenue for the team, and staying closer to home for further personal development, all while ensuring that Manitoba players, playing in Manitoba, get the opportunity to advance their careers. While only very few players will make a career in the hockey world, the players, through their Junior A experience, learn their discipline of hard work, sacrifice, teamwork, and leadership, enabling them to be successful contributors to our society.”