After a grueling week of training camp at the Casper Ice Arena, the Coyotes' coaches and staff were more than pleased with the talent and effort they saw on the ice. They made note of strengths and potential in all the players, but two emerged as natural leaders. The Casper Coyotes are proud to announce newly named captains, Troy Saunders and Toni Haikarainen.
Captain Troy Saunders is a blueliner with a huge presence on the ice and in the locker room. Saunders, a 6’2”, 195 lb defenseman from Canton, Michigan, has a strong hockey resume, having played with Victory Honda AAA U-18, and most recently the Milton IceHawks of the OJHL. When asked about Saunders, Assistant Coach Bowman said, "Troy is the prototypical defenseman we are looking for. He’s got size, speed, versatility and a bit of nastiness to his game. He’s tough to play against, and can also spring our transition to offense. We are looking forward to Troy’s skills and experience to help lead our team.” This experience, coupled with his seemingly effortless leadership, earned him the top spot on the team this year.
Alternate Captain, Toni Haikarainen, comes to Casper from Finland. The 6'4" power forward played for the Finish Elite League's Espoo Blues last season. When asked about Haikarainen, Coach Ambrefe was all praise, "Toni has D1 speed along with a cannon for a shot. Most kids at this level have the speed to go wide, but few will lower the shoulder and drive steel. Toni will lower the shoulder and drive the net every chance he has. Toni made an impact on his team mates from the first day of camp which earned him alternate captain. Toni will be a great leader who will lead through his high intensity on the ice."
Congratulations to the Casper Coyotes' first ever Captains: Troy Saunders and Toni Haikarainen. The coaches, staff and fans look forward to watching what you and the team will do this inaugural season in the WSHL.