It's Thanksgiving weekend and it's also the start of the 2015/16 Senior AA hockey season for the Saugeen Shores Winterhawks.
The Hawks will kick off the home season on Saturday, October 10th at the Plex, when they host the Shallow Lake Crushers.
Club general manager and former coach Don Matheson says the Crushers always bring their "A" game when playing the Winterhawks and he expects nothing different this time around.
Matheson says the Crushers are focused on moving up the standings so they can get into the "AA" playoff picture next year.
He says though, the Crushers will see a fast, cohesive and focused Winterhawks squad, reminiscent of earlier championship teams.
Matheson says the Winterhawks have a good mix of veterans and newcomers that he believes will make a difference this season.
Captain Greg Thede will lead the Winterhawks again this season, returning for his 9th season as captain.
He's joined by a list of returning players that includes 2014/15 league scoring champion, Bryan Kazarian.
Also re-signing with the Winterhawks are forwards Curtis Johnston, Andy Fracz, Blake Underwood, Brent MacDermid, Trent Hawke and Dave Grant, along with defencemen Kyle Roulston, Nick Quaid, Trevor Smith and Jacob Brown and goaltender Mitch Roulston.
Six new players have been added to the roster.
29 year old Alex Penner is a 6'4", 227-pound forward who played for the OHL's Guelph Storm and Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds before a professional career in the AHL, ECHL, CHL (Central Hockey League) and in England.
22 year old Jay Thomson is a former captain of the Jr. C Walkerton Hawks.
25 year old Dylan Weltz is a 6'2", 210-pound winger who suited up for Mount Forest, Wingham and Hanover between 2007 and 2011.
21 year old Brett Brophy spent five seasons with the Wingham Ironmen of Western Jr. C.
22 year old Mike Smailes spent six seasons with the Jr. C Kincardine Bulldogs.
30 year old Josh Sturrock brings extensive experience to the Winterhawks net having played two seasons in the Ontario Hockey League with the Sudbury Wolves and Owen Sound Attack.
Sturrock also played a couple of seasons for the Durham Thundercats of the WOAA.
Gametime for the opening game of the Saugeen Shores Winterhawks is 7:30 PM on Saturday at the Plex.