The Winkler Flyers completed the sweep of the Steinbach Pistons to advance to win the Turnbull Cup and advance to the Centennial Cup. Winkler hadn't played in a league championship since 2002.

Brandt Young, a defenceman from Neepawa, played in 14 of the Flyers 15 playoff games, and says their community has rallied around them.

"It's been crazy to be honest. Having so many of our fans at the games, and having such a packed house there, and everyone sticking around while we got the trophy presentation. Even just the community now, it's super cool, and we're so thankful for our fans."

Young says the team is confident in their ability to perform well, and notes they have high expectations of themselves going to Oakville, Ontario.

"Our goal as a group is, we're going with the mindset that we have a real shot at winning the National Championship. So, we're back on the ice now, we're back to the grind, we're building our game back up, with the ultimate goal of coming home with the National Championship."

With lots of hockey behind them, Young shares that getting here hasn't happened without some help.

"I just want to thank all my coaches, right from Neepawa Minor Hockey all the way up to where I'm at now. Playing Neepawa Minor Hockey and then playing in the Yellowhead organization, I just want to thank all the coaches there, and then all my junior coaches as well that have gotten me here; especially the coaches this year in Justin Falk, Ryan White, Coltyn Bates and Eric Fehr. And then, obviously, my friends and family for being so supportive of me. I wouldn't be where I am without them."

Winkler will faceoff with an almost entirely different set of teams from last year's Centennial Cup, which was played in Portage la Prairie at Stride Place. The Collingwood Blues are the only returning team from the 2023 tournament. Winkler will join the Melfort Mustangs and the Calgary Canucks as representatives from Western Canada. 

Young emphasizes that the team isn't taking this opportunity for granted.

"Obviously, it's something I've never been a part of, so it will all be a new experience. I'm just hoping to go there with the group and just enjoy it. Have another couple weeks with some of my best friends on the team. We're fortunate to still be able to play hockey at this stage of the year. So, just go there, have some fun and focus on winning."

The tournament will run in Oakville, ON from May 9 to 19.