The Oil Kings kick of defence of their 2012 WHL Championship on Thursday night against the Kootenay Ice. The Kings return 18 players from last year and on paper are poised for another strong run at a Memorial Cup appearance in Saskatoon this season. With the recent trading of Tristan Sieben to the Vancouver Giants and the release of veteran defender Ryan Dech, the roster now sits at a manageable 24 players.
Heading into the year the team named Griffin Reinhart their new captain, taking the reins from Mark Pysyk, who is expected to patrol the blue line for the Rochester Americans of the American Hockey League. TJ Foster, Michael St. Croix, Keegan Lowe, Travis Ewanyk and Curtis Lazar will be alternates. The team also added former Oiler Sean Brown to the coaching staff alongside head coach Derek Laxdal, and newly minted Associate Coach Steve Hamilton.
The Kings open up at home on Thursday in a rematch of the first round of last year's playoffs with the Kootenay Ice. They will raise their Championship banner and celebrate once more before the new season begins. Faceoff is scheduled for around 7:20, and will be live on the Team 1260 at 6:45. Stay tuned to the Team 1260 on Saturdays throughout the WHL Season as well for Oil Kings Weekly which airs at 5pm.
(All photos courtesy Andy Devlin/Edmonton Oil Kings)