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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Airdrie Xteme Article

Xtreme core bolstered by local talent

By Nathan Anderson
Airdrie City View
After a look at the AAA Bantam Xtreme’s opening game roster, one thing is immediately apparent – this team has a lot of talent familiar to local hockey fans.

The Xtreme hosted its 2011-12 regular season home opener, logging a 3-2 victory over the Okotoks Oilers, Sept. 17 (See relate story on page 22). Over the rest of the season, Airdrie and area players will play a key role in the team’s success or failure.

The Xtreme’s captain, and two of three assistants, hail from this region, as do five other new faces.

Captain Marshall Burr – the team’s biggest player – will anchor a strong defensive core, according to head coach Terry Keogh.

“Burr’s leadership is phenomenal,” he said. “All of the players look up to him. He is the leader on and off the ice.”

Burr, one of four returning veterans from last year’s squad, now measures in at 6’1” and 170 pounds. He had two goals and 10 assists in 28 games last year.

“He is a very skilled player. Even as a first year Bantam, he was among the top group of defencemen in the league. He’s been around the game, understands it well and thinks it well. He’s very mature for his age,” said Keogh.

Burr is joined by two more returning players familiar to local hockey fans, Kris LeClair and Troy Van Tetering. LeClair, who scored the game-winning shorthanded goal in the home opener, had three goals and two assists last year. Van Tetering, originally hailing from the Cartairs area, has played for Airdrie teams for several years. He had three goals and eight assists last year. Both forwards have been named assistant captains.

The Xtreme also welcomes a trio of players with AA Bantam experience with the Airdrie Lightning of the South Central Alberta Hockey League. Forwards Zach Giroux (14 goals, 16 assists in 32 games) and Kyle Antochow (10 goals, 11 assists in 30 games) both bring depth to the Xtreme’s offence. Defenceman Austin Cameron (four goals, 14 assists in 30 games) will add plenty of size to the defensive corps, measuring in at 6’0” and 160 lbs.

Rounding out the local talent on this year’s Xtreme roster are two first-year bantams.

Forward Jordan McConnell was nothing short of phenomenal with the AA PeeWee Lightning last year, racking up 40 goals and 30 assists in 29 games. At 5’7” and 120 pounds, he will have to adapt to playing against bigger, stronger opponents, a process that has already begun, according to Keogh.

“He is a very skilled player. Over the course of the preseason, we gave him a skate or two to see if he could elevate his game to the next level. He did,” said Keogh.

The other local rookie on this year’s Xtreme team is netminder Kurtis Chapman. He posted a 12W-5L record with the AA PeeWee Lightning last year, with a 3.98 goals against average and .900 save percentage.

Very few AAA Bantam teams carry a 13-year-old netminder, but Keogh was happy to make an exception in this case.

“Out of the goalies we looked at, he was the most consistent. He didn’t have a bad outing. The challenge for most 13 year olds is being strong enough to move, side to side and post to post. He is,” said Keogh

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