The High River Brewing Co. Flyers wrapped up their season after a strong push to make playoffs and advancing to the second round. 

While the Flyers fell short to the Carstar Okotoks Bisons in four games in the best of five series, High River produced its best season in its history of the Heritage Junior Hockey League (HJHL). For the first time in team history, they were able to string together 20 wins in a season. The next best season for the Flyers was 10 years ago during the 2013-2014 season with a total of 19 wins.

Head coach of the Flyers Colton Hayes was proud of his group with the way they handled the season. He praised his team for battling hard since January which helped them reach the playoffs, and a first-round victory over the Cochrane Generals.

"I think a lot of people didn't think we were going to make playoffs. We had a goal in mind after Christmas, and unfortunately that's the bad part, we put ourselves in a bad spot at the start of the season with some games that I think we should have won" Hayes said.

"Again, that's living and learning, and I think we built off that experience. We basically played playoffs from January 1st, on to last week. I'm pretty proud of the group, our resilience as a group, and the dedication on and off the ice. I made the guys do a lot of work off the ice too, everyone's got jobs and going to school. They put forth the best effort they could as an individual and as a team. I'm pretty proud of the kids for doing that."

Alex Schaub leaning into a hit during game 4 against the Bisons.Alex Schaub leaning into a hit during game 4 against the Bisons.

Hayes explained that he hopes the team comes to camp in better shape than some previous years. With running his own hockey development school "Coast 2 Coast" he is looking to implement some training for his players both in season and during the offseason.

"Next year going forward, just having a better start and being in shape. From previous years, I think the guys were let off the hook a little bit with fitness. I run my Coast 2 Coast hockey development and train players for a living through the Foothills area and Calgary. If you come in shape and ready, and your skill set is ready at the start of the season, you can be successful" he said.

"A lot of the kids are going to be skating with me throughout the spring and summer. That's kind of a fortunate thing on my end, I can watch their progression and growth and build off of that. That's a pretty vital tool for our team moving forward. There is an offseason workout plan, I try to help out as many kids as possible. But I don't want to give out too much of my secret ingredients out to everyone. The kids that stick with me and train hard with me all year round, I try to help them out as best as I can as a coach." 

Kashton Payne goaltender for the Flyers had a tremendous series against his former team the Okotoks Bisons, with a 2.68 goals against average and a .933 save percentage in the four playoff games he started. Hayes said that Payne tweaked his knee during game four against the Bisons but stayed in the game and finished with 43 saves on 47 shots.

Kashton Payne with one of his 43 stops in game 4 against the Bisons.Kashton Payne with one of his 43 stops in game 4 against the Bisons.

"He hurt his knee. Again, I'm not talking bad about the league but them forcing us to play 12 games in 20 days, I don't think many people understand how much wear and tear on a kid's body" Hayes explained.

"I was talking to a bunch of the kids, now they are super sick. We got four with concussions, three with MCL and ACL sprain or tears. They were battling with a lot of stuff, to be frank if we made it to the third round, I don't know how many pieces we would have."

The Bisons are in the semi-finals now playing against the Rocky Rams with the winner moving onto the final championship round.