After losing their AAA Midget and AA bantam teams in a single season in 2019, Beardy’s and Okemasis Cree Nation went without a strong hockey draw the Willow Cree Arena in Duck Lake for several years.

However, last year the community had a renewed team to cheer for as the Warman Wildcats in the Twin Rivers Hockey League were re-branded as the Willow Cree Chiefs and began playing their home games at the Willow Cree Arena. A few players on the team were members of Beardy’s and Okemasis Cree Nation so the location change made sence.

Chiefs head coach and general manager Taylor Watts says the community support in the inaugural season was incredible.

“A huge hole was left in the community,” Watts told MBC Radio News while speaking about Beardy’s losing their AA and AAA teams. “So we thought giving back and bringing a senior men’s team back to the community was the right move and it showed as we had the most support I have ever seen in senior hockey.”

The Chiefs didn’t disappoint the many fans who showed up with a strong season losing only one game during the regular season.

The Chiefs would then find themselves one win away from a championship as they held a 2-0 series lead in the semi-finals against the Dalmeny Sabres. However, Dalmeny would stage a comeback for the ages winning the series 3-2.

Watts spoke on the disappointment of how last year ended, but says looking to this year he believes their roster is stronger.

“It is a little early to tell yet, but looking at our roster this year I believe it is leaps and bounds ahead of what we had last year and we had a pretty good roster last year.”

Looking forward, Watts has high hopes for the Willow Cree Chiefs this season and beyond.

“On a personal level, I have a goal of putting two banners in this arena for this community,” he said.

The Twin Rivers Hockey League has not yet announced the schedule for this upcoming season.

(Photo provided by Taylor Watts)