Turgeon looking towards future

Lucas Punkari

With his junior hockey career now in the books, Fort Frances native Kyle Turgeon is eying his options as to where he’ll go next following a two-year stint with the Portage Terriers.
But at the moment, the recently-turned 21-year old is doing what most people his age do when the summer months hit.
“I’m working, of course, like everyone else when they come back to town before getting ready for school next year,” said Turgeon, who is doing landscaping work at the local municipal buildings.
Come fall, Turgeon will be headed to Winnipeg to attend the University of Manitoba after taking a half-year of courses online during the final months of his tenure with the Terriers.
While he hasn’t decided yet if he’ll try to join the Bisons’ hockey team as a walk-on, where he potentially could play with incoming freshman Jordan Davis of Devlin, Turgeon said he’ll definitely be taking to the ice somewhere next season.
“The game has been such a huge part of my life for so long that I can’t give it up that easily,” he explained.
“I might play in an intramural league, or something off-campus, and the [Fort Frances] Thunderhawks could still be an option at some point,” he noted.
“You just never know.”
The former Fort Frances Jr. Sabres’ forward is coming off his most successful season in the junior hockey ranks.
The Terriers captured the MJHL’s Turnbull Cup for the third time in four years, then beat the SJHL’s La Ronge Ice Wolves in seven games to win the Anavet Cup and a berth into the Royal Bank Cup, which goes to the top Junior ‘A’ team in Canada.
“To be able to go there is a dream come true for a junior hockey player, especially for someone in their [final] season like I was,” Turgeon said.
“You can’t ask for much more than that.”
The long and grinding playoff run was made a bit tougher for Turgeon by a torn muscle in his left shoulder, which he suffered during the second-last game of the regular season.
“There was a couple of games during the playoffs where the trainers wanted me sit out and heal,” admitted Turgeon, who was an assistant captain for the Terriers.
“But our coach [Blake Spiller] said it was my decision, and I decided to just gut it out.”
After posting a league-best regular-season mark of 40-15-7, one in which Turgeon had eight goals and 13 assists, the Terriers lived up to their top billing in the MJHL playoffs, downing the Selkirk Steelers in five games to clinch the championship.
But to get into the RBC Cup, the Terriers had to get by the Ice Wolves in the Anavet Cup—a series that quickly turned into a back-and-forth affair that went right down to the bitter end.
“We should have won in Game 6 but their goaltender [Adam Bartko] just stood on his head,” Turgeon noted.
“Heading into the Game 7, the guys were pretty nervous going in because you have that feeling in the back of you head that you might end up going home tonight.
“[But] we really dug in and outplayed them the whole game, and while their goalie stood on his head again, we were able to flip a few by him,” he added.
“It was a pretty sweet feeling, and we all celebrated quite heavily afterwards,” enthused Turgeon, who scored an empty-net goal to seal the 4-0 triumph.
Following that series victory, the Terriers were off to Camrose, Alta. for the RBC Cup, where the team found themselves in a logjam for the fourth and final playoff spot in the five-team field with the Wellington Dukes and Pembroke Lumber Kings going into the final day of round-robin play.
“Going into our final game against Wellington, we only had to lose by two goals and we were in,” Turgeon noted.
“We got off to another rough start, which is what had happened to us for most of the week, and they got up on us by a couple of goals early on.
“We battled back on them late, and we just hit the puck off the post in the final seconds that would of only left us down by a score of 6-4 and got us into the playoffs,” he recalled.
While the Terriers thought their season was over, there still was an outside chance that they could sneak into the playoffs if the Vernon Vipers beat the Lumber Kings by three goal.
“Vernon was up 2-0 after the first period, but once Pembroke scored three goals in the second period, we knew almost instantly that we were done,” Turgeon said.
“It was a tough way to end the season, especially with not making the playoffs at the RBC because every team that goes there doesn’t want to be the one in that spot.
“I thought that we were a better team than that, for sure, but that’s just how the cards played out,” he reasoned.
Despite not reaching the ultimate goal of capturing a national championship, Turgeon enjoyed his season with the Terriers, especially playing in Portage La Prairie.
“It was awesome,” he enthused. “Portage is a hockey town just like here in Fort Frances, and pretty much everyone comes out to the arena to watch the games.
“The kids just take to you like they do here also, and that just made it a really fun time,” he added.