Weekday hockey, something the Winnipeg ICE will experience for the first time this week. They will welcome the Lethbridge Hurricanes to town on Wednesday for the first of two straight against the Canes’. Wednesday’s game will be the first time the ICE has played not on a weekend.
Winnipeg will play Lethbridge on Friday as well and Swift Current on Saturday. Usually, we take a look at how the season has gone so far, but today, we’re switching things up as I had the chance to chat with Conor Geekie.
The 2nd overall pick in the 2019 WHL Bantam Draft is back in Manitoba after taking part in the Western Hockey League cup last week. The team ended up getting a silver medal after they fell just short against Saskatchewan in the final, 4-2.
Prior to the tournament, Conor was also named the team’s captain. With all that aside, it was time to get down to business.
After losing to Alberta in their first game and a loss against British Columbia in their second, Geekie helped Manitoba get on a roll. They won their third and fourth games against Saskatchewan and British Columbia, respectively.
In the final against Saskatchewan, Tyson Zimmer scored the game-tying goal in the second period. However, two goals in just under two minutes pushed Saskatchewan to a 3-1 lead and they ended up holding on to win the title. Geekie had Manitoba’s second goal in the game.
“It’s a huge feeling honestly, we weren’t even expected to be in the gold medal game,” said Geekie. “We just ended up playing for gold because we worked really hard. It was a great week.”
“Saskatchewan played a great game. We didn’t generate much, but that’s going to happen sometimes,” he continued. “I think the game could have gone either way. It was a fun game and we gave it our all.”
The event was Geekie’s first WHL Cup. He had seven points, one of which was a goal in the gold medal game against Saskatchewan. Geekie also played for Manitoba at the Canada Winter Games in Red Deer.
“Getting the opportunity to play with Team Manitoba again is awesome, it’s a real honour,” added Geekie. “We had a really good group of guys. We came up short, but it was a great week and one I won’t forget.”
“I got off to a slow start, but I brought my game up as the tournament went on,” he continued. “I adapted pretty quickly and I enjoyed my time.”
Conor’s seven points were the second-most in the tournament. Thanks to his contributions, the Winnipeg ICE prospect was named to the all-star team.
“I was kind of shocked off the start when I heard my name,” continued Geekie. “It means a lot and obviously, anytime you can make an all-star team, it means you’re doing something right.”
Geekie is now back at his Strathclair home playing with his home region AAA team. Joining the U18 Yellowhead Chiefs, Geekie’s off to a fantastic start. He already has five goals and four assists in seven games. Conor also had 86 points last year with the Yellowhead Bantam Chiefs.
The team is also on fire. They’re 9-0-0-1 which is second place in the league, four points behind the Winnipeg Wild.
“It’s been a really good start for us, we’ve worked really hard,” he continued. “We have an excellent team. It’s pretty easy to put up nine points when you have a team like I do.”
“I’m a team-first guy, points help, but they’re not everything. It’s about the team winning games, we want to win a championship,” said Geekie. “I’m not going to take anything away from my individual success, but it’s just great being with a team that’s winning.”
Both of Yellowhead’s defeats have come against the Wild. Both were also by 3-2 scorelines.
The team will now play four of their next six games on the road. That includes another meeting with the Winnipeg Wild, a team that is now 12-0.
“We’ve had some really good games against Winnipeg, we just came up short,” continued Geekie. “If we keep this up, I think we have a good chance of winning this whole league.”
Back on September 23, the Winnipeg ICE reassigned Geekie back to Yellowhead. Rather than taking that as a negative, Geekie is taking it as a positive.
“Playing with the ICE is pretty special, playing in the home opener was incredible,” added Geekie. “I kind of knew I was going to get sent down. I can only play a certain amount of games and obviously, I want to get my five games in with the team this year.”
He had a great performance at the Canada Winter Games with Team Manitoba and he did the same at the WHL Cup. He already has nine points this season with Yellowhead and his first WHL regular-season game is in the past.
Geekie won’t turn 16 until May, so there’s no doubt he has a long future in the game and it’s already well off to a bang.