Nighthawks Make Numerous Pickups Over Busy Summer

Nighthawks Make Numerous Pickups Over Busy Summer – By Ty Dilello

The 2023-24 Niverville Nighthawks will have a different look to it as the team has made many changes so far into the offseason as the calendar turns into July.

On June 4, the Nighthawks made their first big move by acquiring goaltender Keegan Gordon in a trade with the Winnipeg Freeze for future considerations.

The Nighthawks will be using Gordon heavily next season as incumbent goalie Chris Fines has recently committed to play next season with the University of Providence Argos ACHA Division II hockey program out of Great Falls, Montana.

On June 23, it was announced that Nighthawks’ leading scorer Josh Paulhus has committed to play with the University of Manitoba Bisons going forward.

Evan Bortis has also committed to playing next season with the University of Saskatchewan Huskies men’s hockey program out of Saskatoon.

“The opportunity came along to play at the University of Saskatchewan back in January when the coach reached out and said they were watching and interested,” said Evan Bortis. “The recruiting process is a long process, but I enjoyed it all. We exchanged phone calls throughout the rest of the season. I then got the opportunity to play at the U of S and further my education, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to get the opportunity to play at home. I am beyond excited to be a part of such a high-class school with an elite hockey program. It really is special for me to play there as my older brother played there, and it’s been a dream of mine to always one day become a Huskie. I am truly thrilled and honoured to have the opportunity to attend and play in my hometown, and I am very excited for the next four years!”

“I wish I could have had more time in Niverville as it was a season I will never forget,” continued Bortis. “The support from the community and our fans was amazing every day. The community really brought all of us guys into Niverville with open arms and formed a town where everybody wanted to play. I will forever be grateful for my time in Niverville, and I will always be thankful for my teammates, coaches, billets and staff. I made friendships that will last a lifetime and will always be a Nighthawk. I will miss Niverville and hope everyone returning the best.”

Nighthawks’ star blueliner Carson Reed was recently drafted by the Waterloo Black Hawks of the United States Hockey League (USHL) in the third round (32nd overall).

Reed’s plan for next season is to try and make Waterloo, and if that doesn’t work out, he’ll come back to Niverville for another campaign.

“I loved it in Niverville,” said Carson Reed. “Amazing team, amazing coaching staff, and an amazing fan base. It was the best first year of juniors that anyone could ask for, and I wouldn’t have changed anything about it. I was happy to be selected on the All-Rookie team as I worked hard and got rewarded.”

Other players that the Nighthawks acquired over June to play next season include Michael Tanchak (Winnipeg Blues), Wyatt Taron (Shawinigan Lake School), Matty Healey (Prairie Hockey Academy), and Kyle Bochek (Bonnyville Pontiacs).

The Nighthawks also hired a new assistant coach in Ben MicFlikier, who had previously played in the MJHL for two seasons. He had most recently spent time as a coach for the St. Paul’s Crusaders high school team and the St. Boniface Riels of the MMJHL.

“I kept tabs on the Nighthawks throughout last season and actually saw the job posted and knew it was a great fit,” said Ben MicFlikier. “Since I accepted the position, I’ve been catching up on everything I can almost daily to prepare for camp and the season, so I can’t wait to get started.”