Jefferson Hagen, MacEwan Athletics
EDMONTON – The MacEwan Griffins men's hockey team, to be sure, has taken time to revel, enjoy and celebrate in the 11 days since they won their third-straight Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference championship.
But they've also found time to get some work done for the future.
On Wednesday, head coach Michael Ringrose announced that two new recruits – forward Jordan Taupert of the Drumheller Dragons and defenceman Cale Chalifoux of the Camrose Kodiaks – will be joining the program for the 2019-20 season.
As the career leading scorer for the Dragons, Taupert has the potential to replace some of the offence that the Griffins will be losing next season. Graduating players accounted for one-third of the Griffins' 2018-19 regular season offence (45 of 135 goals).
"He just finds a way to contribute offensively," said Ringrose. "He's around the puck and he's willing to get to the net. When it's on his stick he has the ability to make plays.
"We are losing quite a bit of scoring up front and frankly our team will look different now heading into next year. There are some young guys who are going to get an opportunity to come in and really play impact roles right away. He's one of them."
Taupert was fifth in the AJHL scoring race in 2017-18 with 30 goals and 74 points in 58 games. He followed that up with 18 goals and 64 points in 58 games in 2018-19.
In a storied AJHL career that also included two seasons in Drayton Valley, Taupert has 86 goals and 232 points in 292 regular season games, adding 11 more in 25 playoff contests.
"If you look at Taupert's history, he's a guy who has an impact on the scoresheet, for sure," said Ringrose. "He's going to be a guy who's going to get an opportunity to have an impact offensive role right away."
"He definitely knows some guys on our roster, so I think there's some comfort there," said Ringrose. "He'll be stepping into a dressing room where some of his former teammates have been able to find success."
The same can be said for Chalifoux, who joins a roster full of former Camrose Kodiaks. Captain Cam Gotaas, as well as Tyler Morrison, Stefan Danielson, Nicolas Correale and Ryan Hartman all played for the central Alberta AJHL club.
"Cale's a guy that we obviously know coming from the Camrose program who's going to be ready to step in and play at the ACAC level," said Ringrose. "He will come in and push for playing time right away.
"He's a solid defensive defenceman with some size and has some history with myself dating back to Vimy (Ridge Academy) and my time with the hockey program there."
Chalifoux was indeed Ringrose's pupil at Vimy, which has contributed several Griffins players and coaches to the program. He furthered his development in the AJHL with the Okotoks Oilers in 2014-15, the Calgary Canucks (2015-17) before finishing his junior career with the Kodiaks the past two seasons.
In 2018-19, he logged key minutes in a defensive defenceman role, posting two goals and eight points in 54 regular season games, adding two assists in another 10 playoff contests.
"He has a good stick and is kind of a rangy guy," said Ringrose. "He's comparable to a guy we're losing in Matt Waseylenko, who came from the same (Kodiaks) program.
"I would expect him to come in and kill penalties for us and provide us with good solid depth on the back end."