The Bisons women’s hockey team will have a new leader this year, with defenseman Caitlin Fyten being introduced as the new captain. Defenseman Erica Rieder will be an assistant captain, with forwards Alana Serhan and Alanna Sharman rotating as assistants for home and away games.
Fyten, the fourth year rearguard, served as an assistant last year and is humbled to be named the captain and is excited for the season ahead.
“I am very honoured,” she said. “We have a great group of girls here and to step up and lead the team is great.”
With four years of CIS hockey under her belt, Fyten is experienced and will be able to draw on that during her captaincy.
“[My time here] has been really good,” she said. “The Canada West is really close – you never know who is going to beat who on any given night.”
For the past two seasons, the Bisons have made it to the Canada West conference finals, but have had their hearts broken both times. Fyten is hoping to lead the herd back to the big dance this season.
“I think we can do really great things this season,” she said. “I am really looking forward to see how far we can go.”
Head coach Jon Rempel commented on his ability to work with Fyten in the past and commended her for her ability to communicate.
“She has a strong voice, a very firm decision maker and is well respected by her teammates,” he said. “She has great communication skills, works well with me and I am absolutely 100 per cent confident in having her as our captain.”
Along with Fyten, the Bisons will have a returning leader in Rieder, who also donned the ‘A’ for the herd last season.
“She is an absolute workhorse in the gym,” Rempel said. “On the ice, she is a beast and her work ethic really carries through with the rest of the players. She doesn’t take a shift off.”
Rieder had a successful year last year, potting 11 points (5G, 6A) from the blueline last season, and is leading the Bisons defencemen in scoring with three points in four games.
Serhan will wear the ‘A’ for the first time. The 21-year-old forward is in her fourth year with the Bisons and is a real energizer for the team.
“Alana is high-energy. She is very vocal,” Rempel said. “She holds people accountable and is not afraid to speak her mind.”
Twenty-year-old forward Sharman will also wear the ‘A’ for the first time. The rookie of the year from 2014-15 is in her third year with Manitoba and is a catalyst on offense.
“She is just a highly skilled player that has accomplished a lot in a short amount of time,” Rempel said. “Super infectious with her positive attitude. She is probably one the best practice players I have ever had here.”
The herd will want to be able to put together another season like the last one, with hopefully a Canada West championship title.
“This group is certainly capable,” Rempel said, “The Canada West is the most competitive conference in the country. I think if we do the little things right and stay healthy we have a shot.”
The Bisons had a lengthy preseason, which included a trip to Sweden and Finland. Their regular season is already in full swing, having opened with two successful road series against the Lethbridge Pronghorns and the Mount Royal Cougars.
Manitoba plays their home opening series at the Wayne Fleming Arena against the Regina Cougars, starting on Thursday Oct. 20 with puck drop at 7 p.m.