They both carry good history as winning organizations with championship banners. Ergo, it should not be surprising that the Dryden Ice Dogs and Kam River Fighting Walleye are both off to good starts to the 2023-2024 Superior International Jr. Hockey League regular season.
Dryden is in first place among the eight teams of the SIJHL with a record of 6-1-0 through seven games while Kam River is not far behind with a 4-1-0 mark in five outings.
Holdover forward Max Roby has been a gunslinger for the Ice Dogs with seven goals in seven games. Roby rang up 23 goals in 43 games for Dryden in 2022-2023, regular season and playoffs included. And that adds up to 30 goals in 50 games for Roby in a Dryden uniform.
The American-born Roby represents a good acquisition by Ice Dogs head coach and general manager Kurt Walsten, who acquired the high-scoring forward from the Estevan Bruins of the Saskatchewan Jr. Hockey League last season.
Meanwhile, first year goalie Ewan Soutar has stood tall in the Ice Dogs net with a 3-1-0 record, 1.51 goals against average and .954 save percentage.
Over to Kam River, the reigning SIJHL champion Fighting Walleye has been led by homegrown product Jett Mintenko through the early going of this season.
Mintenko, who was acquired in an off season trade by Fighting Walleye general manager Kevin McCallum from the Hearst Lumberjacks of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League, has four goals, two assists, six points for Kam River thus far this SIJHL season. He scored 21 goals, 19 assists, 40 points in 59 games for Hearst in ’22-23, regular season and playoffs included.
Mintenko is back in the SIJHL after suiting up with the Fort Frances Lakers two seasons ago and producing 10 points in just 14 games.