Thursday, 13 September 2012

Pats Add Size on the Back-End

The Pats completed another pre-season trade today, this one with the Victoria Royals to acquire 6'5" defenceman Kade Pilton.

This is the second deal swung by Chad Lang in the exhibition season to add experience to the defence.  Pilton brings some of that with a season under his belt in Victoria where he played 43 games and totaled thirteen points to go with 52 penalty minutes.

Pilton also adds a booming shot from the point, something the Pats haven't really been able to feature on their powerplay in the early going.  Expect Pilton to see some time with the man advantage for just that reason.

The big defender was a second round pick (25th Overall) in the 2009 of the (then) Chilliwack Bruins.

Headed the other way in the transaction are the WHL rights to forward Demico Hannoun and a conditional third round pick in the 2014 WHL Bantam Draft.

The Pats continue the pre-season against the Saskatoon Blades tomorrow night in their first game at the Brandt Centre this season.  Puck drop is seven o'clock.

For more Pats news and videos, check out


Monday, 10 September 2012

Pats Trim Roster

Always a tough day when releases and reassignments are handed down during Training Camp and the Pre-Season.

Today, the Pats issued two such decrees by reassigning forward Dane Schioler and releasing overage forward Tanner Olstad.

Friday, 7 September 2012

Pats vs Wheat Kings Pre-Season Live Blog

There may be no CKRM broadcast for tonight's Pats game in Brandon, but you can still follow along with this live blog.  I'll be updating this blog in real time throughout the game.

Everything should be good to go, it refreshes itself so you won't need to.  A cautionary note, though, due to a change the blogging service made recently I only get 100 clicks per month, so for tonight.  I would advise you to log in early and do not navigate away from the page or you could lose your spot or use up another spot that someone else can use.

Sorry for the inconvenience, but that's the best I can do without dropping a bunch of money on this.  

I hope you can join me for tonight's game!

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Pats Grab Pre-Season Opener Victory

First Period

The Pats found themselves back on their heels early with the Wheat Kings showing no sign of bus legs.  Brandon got out of the gate quick in the hitting department and used the physical game to hold momentum through the first fifteen minutes.  The Pats dodged a bullet when they were able to kill off a Wheat Kings two man advantage midway through the first.

With just over four minutes left in the first, Patrick D'Amico made a great move behind the net, transitioned into spin move in the faceoff circle and found Colton Jobke sneaking in from the point to tally the opening goal of the game.

The Pats weren't done scoring, a late powerplay gave Lane Scheidl the room to work himself into a scoring position and fire a wrister by Brandon goalie, Curtis Honey.  The Pats took a 2-0 lead into the intermission.

Second Period

The second period was uneventful in the goal scoring department as both goalies were up to any challenges tossed their way.  The key point of the frame was a tussle between Dryden Hunt and Rene Hunter.  While it wasn't much of a fight, the two went to the ice awkwardly which resulted in Hunt heading to the dressing room with an apparent injury.

Third Period

The Wheat Kings made it a game in the third when John Quenneville tallied off a nice feed from Richard Nejezchleb.  Brandon kept pushing Regina late, but an empty net goal from Patrick D'Amico stopped any chance of a comeback.

When all was said and done, the Pats were outshot 33-22, but made the most of their chances in the 3-1 win.  Goaltender Teagan Sacher was excellent in the Pats net in holding the Wheat Kings off the board until the third.  His strong play gave the Pats the chance to build their lead in the first.
The Pats get on the road tomorrow on the back half of this home and home with the Wheat Kings.  Phil Andrews and I will be in Brandon, but unfortunately not on the air.  I may try and get a live blog set up, though I've never done one on blogger so I'm not going to make any promises just yet.

First bus trip of the new season.  The last time I was in Brandon, I realized I had left my phone in Winnipeg and had to go back.  Hopefully nothing so inconvenient this time around.


Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Pats Acquire Defenceman Keaton Lubin from Hitmen

The Regina Pats have acquired defenceman Keaton Lubin (’94) from the Calgary Hitmen in return for a conditional sixth round pick in the 2014 WHL Bantam Draft.

Lubin, a third round pick (66th overall) in the 2009 WHL Bantam Draft, suited up for the Hitmen in fifty games over the past two seasons.

The 6’0”, 192 lbs defender also dressed for the AJHL’s Okotoks Oilers last season.  He had four assists in nine regular season games before putting up four points (1G,3A) in seven playoff games.

In 2010-11, he was a member of Canada Pacific and took home bronze at the World U17 Hockey Challenge.

Name:             Keaton Lubin
DOB:              02-15-1994
Hometown:     Okotoks, Alberta
Position:          D
Height:            6’0”
Weight:           192 lbs
Calgary Hitmen
Calgary Hitmen

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Pats Training Camp Recap

I have to apologize for this blog being woefully inactive.  Much of my time goes into writing the Pats releases which then bounce around the web (you know, the thing I get paid for).  As I get more into the swing of the every day and how it all fits into my schedule I hope this blog will once again the the regularly updated and happy place it was in the first place.  Thanks for your patience as I work through my current transition.

On to camp.  What a wild and crazy weekend.  Quite the way to kick off the hockey season spending all day at the rink watching some very talented young players.  From the looks of the '96-'97 groups, the future of the Regina Pats is well in hand.  The weekend started off with the announcement that the team signed one of its top prospects, defenceman Brady Reagan, to a WHL Standard Player Agreement.  It's actually a little disconcerting for me (standing a little over 6'2") to have a fifteen year old look me in the eye when he shakes my hand and nearly crushes it.  Considering he'll probably grow more, the physical dimensions of this young man already have forwards a little concerned.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Dixon and Cameron Re-Up With Pats

The Pats continued to lock up the hockey operations department today, announcing contract extensions for assistant coaches Malcolm Cameron and Josh Dixon.  The one year extensions bring Cameron and Dixon in line with the deals of General Manager Chad Lang and Head Coach Pat Conacher with all of the contracts coming up for renewal during the 2014 off-season.

A common thread for the organization when it comes to these extensions is 'continuity'.  Team President Brent Parker mentioned it when talking about signing Lang's extension, and Lang spoke about it when dealing with Dixon and Cameron.  The coaching staff and general manager are all on the same page now for contract length and the idea is it gives them the confidence and freedom to work as a more cohesive unit.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Long, Long Distance Phone Call with Morgan Klimchuk

Admittedly, getting a hold of Pats Forward Morgan Klimchuk after Team Canada's U18 team took care of Sweden 7-5 in Piestany, Slovakia ran into a couple hitches.  Mainly because of my lack of understanding when it comes to phoning different countries.  It's not exactly something I do on a regular basis, though I'm guessing it will happen a little more often in the future.  When I finally figured out what I was doing wrong, I had a good chat with Morgan.  The audio of that conversation is available in its entirety at

Canada picked up its second win at the annual Ivan Hlinka Tournament with the victory over Sweden.  It was also the game Klimchuk picked up his first goal of the tournament.  On his first shift of the game no less. "The hard work payed off for me, I was going to the net and managed to put one home," says Klimchuk, "I'm just trying to do whatever I can to contribute and today that was by scoring a goal."

Klimchuk's early goal actually put the Canadians up two-nothing before the game was two minutes old.  Possible number one overall pick, Nathan MacKinnon, led off the scoring only 32 seconds into the contest.  Klimchuk hasn't exactly been in the conversation for being the top pick at next summer's NHL draft, but he's among the prospects getting a good look for the first round.  This week's tournament gives him a chance to play alongside many of those highly touted prospects.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Pats Extend Lang Through 2013-14

The Pats announced this morning that General Manager Chad Lang's contract will be extended through the 2013-14 season.

The extension comes after Lang has done some pretty good work with the Pats since arriving two years ago.  In the last couple seasons Lang restructured the coaching staff, changed up the scouting department and overhauled the on ice product.

Bringing in Pat Conacher as head coach along with Josh Dixon and Malcolm Cameron as assistants before last season was a big step forward for the club that showed impressive results in only one season with the team returning to the post season after a three year absence.

While not immediately evident, some of the fruits of Dale McMullin's labour should be showing up soon as prospects step through the ranks to become every day Pats.  Speaking of prospects, they'll be on display come Training Camp which opens August 30th (registration) and gets into full swing the next day.

Getting back to Lang, the list players he brought in the last couple years have been impressive.  Guys like Lane Scheidl, Martin Marincin and Colton Jobke have all been impact players for Regina.  He also had to deal with a tough situation last year in what to do with Jordan Weal at the deadline.  Lang decided to keep Weal and go for it with the Marincin acquisition and if a few things go the Pats way, maybe we're talking about them going on a bit of a run in last year's playoffs.

With all of that, Lang earned the right to continue on and know well in advance he'll be back for a further season.  It will be interesting to see, now that this Pats team definitely has his stamp on it, where Lang goes from here.

For more Pats news head over to and remember season tickets are on sale now so check out the website for more info or call 522-5604.


Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Klimchuk Makes U18 Team

Good news for Pats forward Morgan Klimchuk on Monday as he got through the final round of cuts to make Hockey Canada's National Summer Under-18 team.

Klimchuk grabbed a spot on the 22-man roster in a camp of 40 of the top players around the country.  Team Canada heads to Slovakia and the Czech Republic for the Memorial of Ivan Hlinka Tournament coming up August 13th and running through August 18th.

It has been a good month for Klimchuk as he was mentioned on the Central Scouting Service's "A-List" at the beginning of July, labeling him as a player to watch for the upcoming NHL Draft.  A strong summer is always key for a draft eligible player and heading to the Ivan Hlinka tournament will give Klimchuk a chance to build momentum heading into Pats Training Camp at the end of August and into the pre-season.

Expectations are high for the Calgary native after he totaled 36 points (18G, 18A) in his first full WHL campaign.  Along with Chandler Stephenson, Klimchuk will have to handle a lot more offensive responsibility and pressure, not to mention high draft expectations through the year.

The Ivan Hlinka Tournament represents a great opportunity for Klimchuk to start off what could be a very special year for the Pats forward.  It will be great to see him don the Maple Leaf in search of a Gold Medal.

For more on Morgan Klimchuk joining team Canada's Summer U18 team, check out


Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Pats to Retire Jordan Eberle's #7 Jersey

At the Centre Ice Celebration, a gala ahead of tomorrow's Eberle and Friends Golf Classic, the Pats announced they'll retire Jordan Eberle's jersey this upcoming season.  The big date is October 9th when the Pats welcome the Portland Winterhawks to the Brandt Centre.

Eberle becomes just the ninth player in Pats history to have the honour of seeing his number in the rafters and when you look at the numbers, it's hard to argue what the now Edmonton Oiler meant to the franchise.  He sits thirteenth on the team's all time scoring list having lead the Pats in scoring three years during his WHL career.  In his final year of junior, Eberle was named the WHL and CHL Player of the Year in a season where he totaled 56 goals and 50 assists.

Despite being named the Pats' MVP twice in his tenure, Eberle's junior years will likely be remembered more for his contributions while wearing a Team Canada jersey.  Only Eric Lindros holds more career points at the World Junior Championships than Eberle (and Brayden Schenn, both have 26 points) and his last second goal at the 2009 World Juniors in Ottawa will be on highlight reels for a very long time.

Taken 22nd overall by the Oilers in the 2008 Draft, Eberle is quickly translating his success at the junior level to the pro game.  His sophomore season in the big leagues saw him total 76 points in 78 games, capping off the season as a finalist for the Lady Byng Trophy.

What Eberle has accomplished within the glass at such a young age (22) is impressive to say the least.  However, it was what he does away from the rink that caught the eye of Pats President, Brent Parker.  "For me it was the class with which he conducted himself off the ice and in our community that separates him from others and truly makes him one of the best Pats of all time," Parker commented in tonight's release.

It's fitting, then, that the announcement came at an event where Eberle is taking time to give back to the community through Thursday's golf tournament in support of the Regina Hospitals Foundation.

For more on Jordan Eberle's jersey retirement, make sure you head over to


Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Pats Select Sylvegard in Import Draft

Imagine my surprise when I walked into the office this morning and was told the Pats had already made their selection in the 2012 CHL Import Draft.  The draft schedule gives each team ten minutes to make a pick and the Pats were slated to pick around noon today.  This year's draft is rolling along, though with the second round of the sixty team draft almost complete.

The Pats used their 32nd overall pick to take Emil Sylvegard, a sizable Swede who comes in with previous CHL experience.  Sylvegard suited up for the Drummondville Voltigeurs last season in the QMJHL and picked up 31 points in 65 games.  Pats GM Chad Lang is confident that year of experience and familiarity with the North American game will lead Sylvegard to a breakout season in the WHL.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Getting Settled

The blog has been pretty quiet since saying my goodbyes/thank you's to La Ronge and the SJHL.  As I said in my previous post, it's my intent to continue writing this blog, but it may be a little sporadic for the first while as I get familiar with my new job and surroundings in Regina.

This weekend I emptied and broke down my last moving box and got my new place set up just how I want it (which for me can be a bigger battle than it should be).  That was followed by a busy couple days with the NHL Draft Friday and Saturday.  As I don't yet have my internet and cable hooked up, this made following the draft a touch trickier than I would have liked, but my hefty data plan came in handy.

When it was all said and done one current Regina Pat and two prospects were drafted in Pittsburgh.  Chandler Stephenson was taken 77th overall by the Capitals while Brady Skjei (28th-NYR, USA-U18) and
Rhett Holland (102nd-PHX, AJHL-Okotoks) were the two prospects selected.  Pats GM Chad Lang hopes Skjei and Holland being drafted may help bring both defencemen into the Pats lineup next season.  

The Pats did have a couple more players eligible for the draft in
Dominik Volek and Jack Rodewald who weren't selected.  While that's obviously tough to go through for both guys, Lang is confident both will have opportunities through Free Agent tryouts this summer.

Drafting remains the theme of the week when the CHL holds its 2012 Import Draft, Wednesday (27th).  As it stands, the Pats hold the 32nd overall pick though with all the wheeling and dealing that goes on around the Import Draft, that could change.  Last year, when Regina grabbed Volek ninth overall, around half of the picks changed hands.

Wednesday is a busy day with the 2012-13 WHL Regular Season Schedule coming out as well.  Make sure to check out for Import Draft details as well as the schedule when Wednesday rolls around.

The new season's drawing ever closer (only about three months away now) make sure to get your 2012-13 Season Tickets.  Call the Pats Office (306-522-7287) for more information.


Monday, 18 June 2012

Moving On: New People, New Places, New Challenges

As you may know, I recently accepted a position with the WHL's Regina Pats to be the team's Media and Communications Manager.  Obviously this means I've had to resign my position with MBC in La Ronge and make the move to Regina.

I'm going to be handling pretty much everything to do with the Pats' media side of things.  Writing press releases, managing media conferences, gameday stuff and everything in between.  I'll be displaying my personable side with sales mixed in as well.  Even with all of that I won't be leaving the booth.  I'll be taking care of colour commentary on all of the Pats radio broadcasts, home and away.  I'll still get to log ridiculous hours on the bus (even more now!) and talk your ear off on the air.

Monday, 11 June 2012


The SJHL held its AGM this past weekend in Regina and I spoke with SJHL President Bill Chow, who was kind enough to give me a call, about some of the main points of the weekend.  He said it was a long but productive series of meetings.

Here are the main points from our conversation:

  • The 54 game schedule "parameters" are set.  It seems there were still some sticking points on how everything would work, so while we don't yet have a schedule for 2012-13; the outline is set.
  • The SJHL dropped the Showcase.  The initial plan was to hold the Showcase in Melfort this year, but with the weekend cancelled that won't be happening.
  • It's really too bad because the Showcase is an absolute blast for the broadcasters.  Lots of great hockey and it's one of the few times we can all get together at the same time and catch up.
  • The Showcase will be replaced by an "Identification Camp" for '94 and '95 born players with some older players mixed in.  Select players from this camp head to the World Junior A Challenge selection camp for Team West.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Bula Joins Wright at TRU

Bula celebrates his SJHL goal

Make it four Ice Wolves who have their hockey and schooling futures sorted out.  Ben Bula joins fellow Ice Wolf grad Brennan Wright at Thompson Rivers University next season playing for the WolfPack in his home town of Kamloops.

According to the TRU release, Bula will be taking some upgrading courses with the eventual goal of physiotherapy.

Bula garnered pretty solid fan support for his physical play, skill without the mitts and seemingly endless quest for his first SJHL goal which finally came to an end November 25th, 2011 against the Flin Flon Bombers.  He finished his SJHL career with 1 goal 14 assists to go with 175 penalty minutes.

Congratulations Ben and good luck next season!


For your viewing pleasure, Bula up against Brett Adnum in the 2011 Anavet Cup:

2012-13 Ice Wolves Commitments:
Brennan Wright - Thompson Rivers University (BCIHL)
Ben Bula - Thompson Rivers University (BCIHL)
Pat Tran - SAIT (ACAC)
Matt Weisensel - SAIT (ACAC)

Junior A Supplement Extended Two Years

Hockey Canada held its AGM this past week/weekend.  The big news items coming from the meetings are the extension of the Junior-A Supplement and the Vernon Vipers will host the 2014 RBC Cup.

Here's the summary of the weekend in release form (the important stuff is in the second half):

Friday, 25 May 2012

Ice Wolves Jail and Bail

The Ice Wolves hold their "Jail and Bail" today to get the weekend started.  While I seem to have avoided incarceration for the time being... MBC announcer, Dale Roth, wasn't so lucky and he'll be occupying the cell at the Mel Heglund Uniplex until noon.  Though he could always buy his way out and exact revenge, who knows?

Here's the video of Dale's "arrest":

You can lock your friends/family/coworkers up for the rest of the day which will conclude with a TGIF barbeque.  Ten dollars gets you a burger plus salads, desserts and all that fun stuff.  Important detail, the bar will be open.

To get someone arrested, call the Ice Wolves office at 425-4141.


Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Two Wolves Head to SAIT

It's always a pleasure to talk about graduating players moving on in their hockey careers, even better when they're headed to my former school, SAIT (Southern Alberta Institute of Technology).

Weisensel accepts award
Matt Weisensel and Pat Tran are off to Calgary to join former Ice Wolves Adam Bartko (G) and Nolan Souchotte (F) with the once four-time defending champion Trojans.

Weisensel becomes the second Wolves' Captain in as many years to suit up for SAIT in the ACAC (Souchotte being last year's addition).  Weisensel was the Ice Wolves award winner for Top Defenceman as well as co-winner of the Most Dedicated Award.  Weisensel had 26 points (4G, 22A) in 56 games for La Ronge last season and added four points in seven playoff games.

Tran accepts award

Tran joined the Wolves ahead of the 2011-12 season in a deal with the Humboldt Broncos.  He added a strong veteran presence to the Wolves and was one of the team's top two-way forwards and penalty killers.  He suited up in every game during the Ice Wolves' season notching 13 goals and 15 assists during the regular season and chipping in with a pair of assists in the playoffs.  Tran was the Wolves' winner of the Award for Sportsmanship and Dedicated play.

Congratulations to both of you on joining the Trojans, and good luck in the coming season!

In some other Ice Wolves news, the team is holding a "Jail and Bail" on Friday.  Pay some money and you can lock someone up for a while.  Or get yourself arrested and skip out on some work, whatever works.

Here's the poster:

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Northern Touchdown Football Camp

The Cameco Northern Touchdown Football Camp and Clinic is coming up next weekend (May 25th-27th) in La Ronge.

Kids going into grades 9-12 can take part for no charge and equipment is provided, though organizers say to bring cleats if available.

Alongside the Camp, there's a coaching clinic for adults interested in getting their NCCP Level 1 Football Coaching Certification.  That clinic runs at $150.

Both the Camp and clinic will be held at Senator Myles Venne school with the days getting going in the gym.

To register, youth can pick up forms from Gabe Andrews at Chruchill Community High School.  For more information or to put your name in for the coaching clinic, contact Gabe at or give him a call at 425-2255.

Here's what the weekend's schedule looks like.

Friday 5:00 - La Ronge Football Combine

7:00pm-10:00pm Coaching Clinic

Saturday 10:00am - Equipment Fitting. Coaches attend.

12:00pm - Practice #1

4:00pm - Practice #2

6:00pm-9:00pm Coaching Clinic

Sunday 10:00am - Practice #3

2:00pm - Practice #4 and Scrimmage

Friday, 11 May 2012

National Aboriginal Hockey Championships Medal Matchups

With the Semi-Finals concluding Friday night, Saskatchewan has a pair of teams looking to repeat their Gold Medal's at the National Aboriginal Hockey Championships in Saskatoon.

The Men's team advanced to the final with a 5-3 victory over Manitoba and goes head to head with Alberta who moved on by virtue of an 8-7 win against Eastern Door and North.  Puck drops on that game at 8:00 p.m. at the Jemini Arenas.  Saskatchewan's looking a fifth straight National Championship victory.

The Women's team continues to roll as they took out Ontario 6-2 in the Semi Finals.  Now Saskatchewan faces off with Eastern Door and North who upset Alberta 5-2 to go up against the reigning champs.  That contest goes at 5:00 p.m. at the Jemini Arenas.

The Women's Bronze Medal Game (Ontario vs. Alberta) is at 11:00 a.m. tomorrow while the Men's matchup (Manitoba vs Eastern Door and North) is at 2:00 p.m.

Check back here for the results as they come in tomorrow, and make sure to get out and cheer for your teams at the Jemini Arenas.

Gold Medal Game Results
  • Tough one for the Saskatchewan Women's team as they fall 4-3 to Eastern Door and North in the Gold Medal game.  Congratulations to Team Eastern Door and North on the National Championship victory!
  • The Drive for Five is accomplished!  Team Saskatchewan wins its fifth straight National Championship, downing Alberta 5-1.
Photo Source: Facebook

Bronze Medal Game Results
  • In the Men's Bronze Medal Game, Manitoba took third place with a 10-4 win against Eastern Door and North.
  • On the Women's side, Ontario slipped out with a 4-3 victory over Alberta.
Congratulations to all of the athletes on a great week of hockey and to the Saskatoon Tribal Council on another successful hosting of the National Aboriginal Hockey Championships.

Thanks to Mark Arcand for providing me with the results so I could pass them along to you!

Also thanks to you for coming to the blog to get your results for the tournament, making this one of the busiest weeks on the blog since it went live.


La Ronge Minor Hockey Golf Tournament

La Ronge Minor Hockey hosts its 1st Annual Golf Tournament tomorrow (May 12th) at Eagle Point Golf Resort in La Ronge.

Entry fees are $65 for adults and $50 for youth 16 and under.  Registration goes from 9:30-10:30 a.m. with a shot gun start at 11.

18 holes, Men's and Ladies' with prizes for Longest Drive and closest to the Pin.  You can grab burgers on the deck for just $5.  All proceeds go towards La Ronge Minor Hockey.

For more info, contact Brandi Bell @ 425-9203

Thursday, 10 May 2012

National Aboriginal HockeyChampionships Relegation and Semi Finals

This is the schedule for the Relegation Round (Thursday) and Semi Finals (Friday) at the National Aboriginal Hockey Championships in Saskatoon.

Make sure to get out and cheer on the teams at the Jemini Arenas as we close in on the Championship!

Today's action also features the Skills Competition which goes at 2:00 Thursday afternoon as well as the tournament banquet Thursday evening.

Remember, send me ( your pictures of the tournament and I can post them on the blog.

Check back through the day for updates on the Relegation Round and Semi Finals.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

National Aboriginal Hockey Championships Quarter-Finals

This is the schedule for today's Quarter-Final matchups at the National Aboriginal Hockey Championships in Saskatoon.  The games will be played at the Jemini Arenas and the arena number is listed along with the scheduled puck drop.  This isn't the official schedule and is based off the information I've received through the first couple days.  There is the possibility of adjustments to this schedule, but it should be correct.  I'll be sure to let you know of any changes to what's displayed below.

I'm short scores from the Alberta/Atlantic matchups at this time, however, based on who I've been told Saskatchewan is playing; I believe Alberta won in both games.  That's not official, nor 100% positive.  I'll update when I can.

If you're at the tournament today, be sure to send in some pictures to and I can post them on the blog (with credit of course).

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

National Aboriginal Hockey Championships Day 2

Saskatchewan continues to roll at the National Aboriginal Hockey Championships.  Tuesday it was the Women's team taking two wins to move to 3-0 on the tournament.  Meanwhile the Men's squad reached a similar 3-0 mark with a win Tuesday evening.

Complete Results
Women's Draw
Eastern Door and North 9 Northwest Territories 0
Ontario 4 Alberta 3
Manitoba 2 B.C. 1
Saskatchewan 8 Atlantic 0
Eastern Door and North 7 Ontario 2
Alberta 10 Northwest Territories 3
Saskatchewan 6 Manitoba 1
B.C. 4 Atlantic 2

*Tiebreak formula: GF/(GF+GA)

Men's Draw
Ontario 4 Northwest Territories 2
Manitoba 11 Atlantic 6
Alberta 7 Eastern Door and North 5
Saskatchewan 4 B.C. 2

National Aboriginal Hockey Championships Day 1

The National Aboriginal Hockey Championships got going in Saskatoon yesterday.  It was a good start for both the Saskatchewan Men's and Women's teams as they went undefeated on the day.

Beginning their quest for a fifth straight title, the Men's team rolled out an 11-2 win over Team Atlantic to go with a 7-5 victory against Manitoba in one of the late games.

The Women's team only had one contest on the day, defeating B.C. 4-2.

In today's action, the Women's team plays twice, facing off with Team Atlantic at 11:30 a.m. and Manitoba at 6:15 p.m.

The Men's team has one game today, taking on B.C. at 6:30 p.m.  You can catch all of the games at the Jemini Arenas.

Monday, 7 May 2012

Ice Wolves AGM Approaching

I'm sure you missed me dearly while I was enjoying my two week sojourn from La Ronge.  I had a great time being back in Calgary and benefited greatly from some serious sleeping in.  First order of business on the Ice Wolves front is the AGM coming up Wednesday night.

The meeting goes at seven o'clock at the Wolves den.  Last year, attendance was pretty abysmal, so it would be great to see more people at the meeting.  This year it won't be at the same time as Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final, so it should be a little easier to pull away from the playoffs on TV.

The AGM is a great way to keep tabs on the team and see where things stand financially.  There are plenty of opportunities to get involved with the organization as well.

In addition to the AGM, the Ice Wolves Booster Club has a meeting coming up Tuesday, May 15th at Mistasinhk Place (Boardroom 1 - 7 p.m.).  If you're holding on to that amazing fundraising idea, that's the place you want to be.

In other sports news, Minor Baseball gets going this week in La Ronge.  I make my coaching (assistant coaching) debut working with the PeeWee Miners... I pity them already.

Did anyone see Penticton starting off 0-2 at the RBC Cup?  I definitely didn't.  Should be interesting to see if they can turn it around.


Thursday, 19 April 2012

La Ronge Multiplex Survey Results

In late February, the Town of La Ronge released a survey regarding plans to build a new multiplex facility in the northern town.  The survey received over three hundred responses, and though Mayor Thomas Sierzycki didn't release all of the results, he did provide a picture of the respondents' priorities.

It breaks down like this:

Swimming Pool - 78.4%
Ice Facility (Hockey/Curling) - 63.5%
Field House - 55%

The following would be included along with the Field House or as parts of the Rink/Swimming Pool
Fitness Centre - 55.5%
Walking Track - 48%
Conference Centre - 25.8%

Obviously there are a lot of percentages in that list.  They're based off of this question on the survey:

9. What would you be willing to see in the facility?
Rate (1-low, 5-high) Swimming Pool, Rink (Hockey/Curling), track, fitness centre, conference centre, field house

So the process moves on to the many planning stages for a major project like this.  Mayor Sierzycki says there is money set aside for recreation development, which goes towards creating a plan to gain more funds which goes into planning for the facility and so on.  Just from that small section you can kind of see the circles within circles the project will have to navigate until completion.

Town Council will continue to lay groundwork in the coming months before going to a community consultation stage which will help flesh out more details.  There's also the issue of where the new facility will be built.  The town has a couple of locations in mind, but many factors need to be weighed before anything truly moves ahead.  The likely location seems to be near the Co-op in town and Churchill High School so the schools in the area can take advantage of the facilities.

Mayor Sierzycki also commented that the recent projects in Melville and Estevan along with developments in North Battleford certainly makes La Ronge's life easier.  Because of existing plans and the companies involved with those projects, the cost for a similar facility in the North can be taken down somewhat.  The experience gained by firms and the communities involved can help La Ronge through the planning and physical construction phases.

The new project doesn't mean the town is abandoning the Mel Heglund Uniplex, after all, it needs to last until a new rink is constructed.  The recreation department is actively seeking grants to keep the Mel in action as long as possible with the least amount of impact to taxpayers.

It should be interesting to see how it all breaks down over the next few months and hopefully ground can be broken on the project sooner rather than later.


Personal Note: I won't be around the office for a couple of weeks, so the blog will likely be pretty quiet.  Remember, the Ice Wolves AGM is May 9th, so mark that on your calendar.  The Wolves also have their spring camp coming up next weekend down South.  Don't worry if anything happens with the Ice Wolves while I'm away from the station, you can be sure I'll have it up on Twitter.

Monday, 16 April 2012

2012 First Nations Winter Games

The 2012 First Nations Winter Games hosted by the BATC in Saskatoon came to a close Friday night.

Here are all the medal results I have as of Monday.

Gold - Team Woodland
Silver - Saskatoon Tribal Council
Bronze - Battlefords Agency Tribal Chiefs

Gold - Meadow Lake Tribal Council
Silver - Yorkton Tribal Council
Bronze - Agency Chiefs Tribal Council

Gold - Yorkton Tribal Council
Silver - South East Treaty 4
Bronze - Team Woodland

Gold - Meadow Lake Tribal Council
Silver - Saskatoon Tribal Council
Bronze - Yorkton Tribal Council

Gold - Saskatoon Tribal Council
Silver - Team Woodland
Bronze - Prince Albert Grand Council

Gold - Battlefords Agency Tribal Chiefs
Silver - Agency Chiefs Tribal Council
Bronze - Meadow Lake Tribal Council

Gold - Battlefords Agency Tribal Chiefs
Silver - Team Woodland
Bronze - Saskatoon Tribal Council

Gold - Agency Chiefs Tribal Council
Silver - Battlefords Agency Tribal Chiefs
Bronze - Meadow Lake Tribal Council
Those are the complete medal results I have from the weekend, for further results check out the Winter Games Website.

For the overall results, it broke down like this...

The Yorkton Tribal Council earned the Tony Cote Award as the most improved team from the last games.

Congratulations to all of the athletes, coaches and volunteers on a great week of sports.  I hope if you were in Saskatoon, you managed to get out and see some of the games or the extra events.  Sounds like it was a great week.

Thanks to Dan Garvey who was feeding me all of the results this past week and everyone else who chipped in for MBC's coverage of the Winter Games.


Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Jordie Johnston Signs With Sound Tigers

The Ice Wolves all-time leading scorer, Jordie Johnston, is taking the next step in his hockey career.  After a successful run at Ferris State University, the Bulldog's leading scorer for 2011-12 signed an Amateur Tryout Contract with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers in the AHL.

Here's the FSU release:

Source: FSU Release
Big Rapids, Mich. - Ferris State University men's ice hockey senior Jordie Johnston (Rosetown, Saskatchewan), who helped lead the Bulldogs to the NCAA National Championship Game at the Frozen Four in Tampa this past weekend, has signed an amateur tryout contract (ATO) with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers as announced by the American Hockey League (AHL) club today.

The Bridgeport Sound Tigers, located in Bridgeport, Conn., are the top affiliate of the National Hockey League's New York Islanders. 

Johnston, 24, joins the Sound Tigers after completing his collegiate career at Ferris State. The Rosetown, SK, posted a breakout season in 2011-12 with the Bulldogs that carried them to the NCAA Division I Men's Hockey Championship game against Boston College, recording a team-high 36 points (20 goals, 16 assists) in 43 games.

Over his four-year career at Ferris State, Johnston totaled 57 points (30 goals, 27 assists) in 136 games. Prior to attending Ferris State, the 5'11, 185-pound forward played three seasons with the La Ronge Ice Wolves of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League, amassing 197 points (90 goals, 107 assists) in 165 games.

For his efforts as a senior, Johnston was an All-Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) Second Team honoree as FSU claimed its second-ever CCHA Regular-Season title and reached the Frozen Four for the first time in school history. 

The Sound Tigers will play two road contests on Friday and Saturday (April 13-14) of this week before they close out their regular season home schedule against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins with Fan Appreciation Day on Sunday, April 15 at 3 p.m. (ET).

Fans can follow @TheSoundTigers on Twitter and "like" The Official Bridgeport Sound Tigers Fan Site on Facebook for the latest Sound Tigers news and information.
Good to see another former Ice Wolves star making the leap to the pro-ranks.  

A quick note about Ice Wolves records and stats.  This season I spoke a lot about Marc-Andre Carre chasing Justin Rohr (which was technically true), but I should have been talking about Johnston.  Somewhere in my number crunching a few points disappeared from Johnston's total of 197 as opposed to Rohr's 195.  Johnston sits as the Wolves' all-time leader in points.  I apologize for the error and any confusion it may have caused through the season.

Speaking of great Ice Wolves players, the team is looking for your help in choosing the the Wolves' "All-Time" team in celebration of the team's 15th Anniversary Season in 2012-13.  Head over to to cast your vote.

I have a feeling Jordie Johnston will get more than a few votes.


Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Ice Wolves Extend Holloway

The Ice Wolves solidified their coaching staff for the next couple years by signing Assistant Coach Ron Holloway to a two year extension.

Holloway was the team's Assistant Coach during the 2011-12 season when the Ice Wolves won the second most games in franchise history with a 30-20-2-6 record.  He was also a part of the staff during the 2010 and 2011 playoff runs that saw the Wolves win back to back SJHL Championships, compete in two Anavet Cups and travel to the RBC Cup.

"I only had a one year deal last year and (the Ice Wolves) decided to sign me to a two year deal this year, so I talked with (Bob Beatty) and decided it would be a good fit," Holloway commented Wednesday morning, "I'm looking forward to coming back."

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Ile-a-la-Crosse Wins Northwest High School Hockey League Championship

In an uncharacteristically low scoring affair, the Ile-a-la-Crosse Huskies won their first Northwest High School Hockey League title with a 2-1 overtime win to get by the Canoe Lake Miksiw.

In the extra frame, Corey Desjarlais let a shot go from just inside the blue-line and the puck found its way behind screened goaltender, Michael Bouvier for the winner.

The Huskies' upset over top ranked Canoe Lake is Ile-a-la-Crosse's first win in four tries in the Championship Series.

NWHHL Commissioner Vince Ahenakew asked me to relay these thank you's:

Thanks to coaches, scorekeepers, behind the scenes workers, referees, the Northern Village of Buffalo Narrows for allowing us to use their ice, and a special thank you to Cameco Corporation for subsidizing the referees all season.

Thanks to all teams for another successful season – La Loche Lakers; Turnor Lake Aces; Buffalo Narrows Eagles; Dillon – Buffalo River Bisons; Ile a la Crosse Huskies; Canoe Lake Miksiw and Patuanak Timberwolves.

Plans/discussions are under way to include Pine House and maybe Beauval next season.
Interesting that the league is looking at expanding.  It would be cool to see a couple more teams enter into the Northwest League next winter.

Time for me to extend some thank you's to everyone who helped me out getting scores and information this season.  I expect the new website will help that along as well next season.  Special thanks to Vince for getting me all the scheduling and filling in gaps in my information during the playoffs and to Steve McKay for his help with a feature on Colton Iron during the season (and of course to Colton for doing the interview).

Congratulations to Ile-a-la-Crosse on the victory and to all of the teams on a season well played!


Monday, 2 April 2012

Contacts Heading to Leduc for National Championship

The Saskatoon Contacts booked their tickets to the Telus Cup, Sunday, beating the Southwest Cougars 5-1 to win the West Regional Qualifier in Virden, MB.

Kolten Olynek put up three points (1G, 2A) on the afternoon while Rourke Chartier notched two goals to lead the way offensively.  Mack Shields was solid in net again, making 29 saves in the victory.

Hudson Morrison scored the lone Cougars goal when he opened the scoring in the first period.  The loss for Southwest came after they upset the Winnipeg Wild to move on to the qualifier final.  That win was a bit of a moral victory for the Cougars as the Wild swept them three straight in the league final just weeks earlier.

Now the Contacts have a while to prepare for the Telus Cup.  It doesn't get going until April 23rd in Leduc, Alberta so they'll have plenty of time to rest up and get ready to skate with the best Midget AAA teams Canada has to offer.

For a more detailed look at the game, check out this article in the Brandon Sun.


Friday, 30 March 2012

Northwest High School Hockey League Finals Going to the Wire

The Ile-a-la-Crosse Huskies had a shot at the NWHHL Championship last night, but a dominant performance from Canoe Lake star Colton Iron pushed the series to a third and deciding game.

Iron scored four times in the first period en route to a seven goal performance and a 9-5 win for Canoe Lake.  Trevor Favel responded with a pair of goals for Ile-a-la-Crosse.

In the assist category, Tyrone Durocher had three helpers in the winning effort while Bo Desjarlais had a couple of assists for the losing side.

Canoe Lake hosts Ile-a-la-Crosse in the deciding third game of the series Monday night as the Eagles look to repeat and the Huskies try for the upset.


Thursday, 29 March 2012

Western Canada Cup

The Western Canadian Championships has a real name and logo.

Courtesy CJHL Communications:

The Canadian Junior Hockey League and Nanaimo Clippers held a media conference Thursday in Nanaimo - the host community of the 2013 Western Canada Cup - to introduce the community, media and fans to the newly formed event and a chance to welcome the executives from the four western leagues to the host city. 

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

SJHL Says No to Cold Lake Expansion

In what may have been a situation of 'only a matter of time', the SJHL has released a statement ending any speculation on the league's possible expansion to the community of Cold Lake, Alberta.

From the SJHL Website:

The Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League says it's content with the current twelve team set up and will not be moving into Alberta in the near future.
News reports, in recent days, have come out of Cold Lake concerning a possible expansion into that community.  SJHL President Bill Chow acknowledges a group has, indeed, shown interest in the league.  “We have decided not to prolong the process or a decision about a franchise in Cold Lake.” 
The Alberta Junior Hockey League, which runs pretty much a mirror league to the SJHL, currently has a franchise 51-kilometres outside of Cold Lake (Bonnyville) and the two leagues have an extremely good working partnership.  “It would be difficult to grant a franchise to the group with the existing Bonnyville franchise so close,” says Chow.
Chow says there are other logistics involved of having a team in Alberta playing in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League and there is considerable required involvement of numerous levels of hockey to establish a new franchise based out of the boundaries of Saskatchewan. 
Chow also says he's grateful of the Cold Lake group showing interest in the SJHL as a viable means of entertainment for the community; however expansion outside of Saskatchewan isn't on the horizon.
Unfortunately for Cold Lake, this means the odds of Junior-A hockey coming to the city in the near future are slim.  The AJHL seems to be shying away from bringing another team into the Bonnyville/Lloydminster area and there were just too many issues for the Cold Lake franchise to overcome to join the SJHL.
With the AJHL's vehement rejection of an SJHL franchise in Cold Lake, it was likely just not something the SJ was willing to go to battle for.  As the release states, the league is pretty content with the twelve team league.  That's not to say expansion somewhere in Saskatchewan isn't a possibility, but it doesn't look to be on the table for the next couple of seasons.

Do you think the SJHL should consider expansion within Saskatchewan?  Where should the league look at bringing a franchise?  Let me know in the comments section.


Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Northwest High School Hockey League Finals

The Northwest High School Hockey League Finals picture solidified last night when Canoe Lake completed an 18-11 two game total point series win over La Loche.

Because of a delay with the semi-final, the Championship Series gets rolling right away with Canoe Lake hosting game one tonight (Tuesday.)

Canoe Lake was the top team from the regular season, going 10-2-0 through the campaign.  Ile-a-la-Crosse was the third overall team by virtue of Patuanak owning a goal differential.  It didn't really matter as the Huskies rolled by the Timberwolves in the other semi-final.

Ile-a-la-Crosse is led into the series by Ryan Desjarlais who notched 20 goals and 12 assists in ten games during the regular season and had seven points in the 12-2 beating the Huskies laid on Patuanak in the lone game of the semi-final.

The Eagles head into the finals featuring the league's leading scorer in Colton Iron.  The forward, who was recently listed by La Ronge in the SJHL, had 80 points in 12 games including 62 goals.  In the playoffs, Iron has 13 points in two games.

Northwest High School Hockey League Finals Schedule:

Game 1: Tuesday, March 27th @ Canoe Lake, 6 p.m.

Game 2: Thursday, March 29th @ Buffalo Narrows, 6 p.m.(Ile-a-la-Crosse Home Team)

Game 3: Monday, April 2nd @ Canoe Lake, 6 p.m. (if necessary)
In the SJHL, it's a game seven tonight between Weyburn and Melville.  Should be a great game as the first six contests were pretty entertaining.

Who will go on to the Canalta Cup Finals and attempt to knock off the Humboldt Broncos?  We'll find out tonight.


Check out the new NWHHL website:

Monday, 26 March 2012

AJHL Against Cold Lake's SJHL Bid

The Alberta Junior Hockey League is making its stance clear on the issue of Cold Lake joining the SJHL.  First reported by Robb Hunter, the voice of the Bonnyville Pontiacs,  the AJHL isn't comfortable with efforts to bring a Junior-A hockey team to Cold Lake to play in the SJHL.  While the Alberta league has zero issue with the SJHL expanding within its own borders, the AJHL is concerned with the proximity of Cold Lake to franchises in Bonnyville and Lloydminster and what that means for marketing dollars and the local talent pool.

The SJHL features a few sets of teams in pretty close proximity.  Think Weyburn/Estevan, Nipawin/Humboldt/Melfort and of course, Melville/Yorkton.  All of these teams make it work, at least from the outside looking in. "I think it would be a different scenario if the AJHL, within the confines of the boundaries of the Alberta borders, were to say 'let's go ahead and do that' and go into Cold Lake," AJHL President Craig T. Cripps said over the phone this morning, "but when you have another province's league coming in I think that certainly warrants discussion not only with the AJHL, but perhaps with Hockey Alberta."  Cripps was very candid in his discussion of the situation regarding the SJHL's possible expansion.  He explained the AJHL's own Board of Governors would, more than likely not vote to place a team into the area "out of respect" for the Pontiacs and the Bobcats.

That's tough news for the people behind the push to bring Junior-A hockey to Cold Lake.  As mentioned in the first story on possible expansion, there's a beautiful rink entering the final stages of construction in the city and there's every intention that it will house an AJHL or SJHL franchise some day.  However, as ownership group leader Derek Prue mentioned last week, the AJHL isn't very interested in expanding from 16 teams.  "The AJHL Board of Governors has decided that expansion isn't on the table at this time," Cripps commented, "Certainly we have communities that would like to have a franchise in the AJHL, but we have to look at the depth of our product.  We have to look at the number of individuals that are playing the game at this level and we don't want to dilute our talent pool to the effect where we just don't feel we have a very competitive Junior-A league in Alberta."

With expansion seemingly out of the question (Cripps did mention the Board can always re-evaluate), relocation would have to be the next option.  The St. Albert Steel situation comes to mind, though Cripps couldn't offer any updates.  The AJHL Board of Governors has a conference call scheduled for Wednesday to discuss the St. Albert.  Though relocation certainly isn't the potential ownership group's first choice, I have a feeling they would take that route if it's the only option.  The problem with relocation is this... if there are other communities (ie: Whitecourt) in the running to move a franchise (ie: St. Albert) those options would likely be more attractive to the league to avoid the cluster of teams in the North-East.  The thing Cold Lake certainly has going for it is the new facility, but is that enough to counteract the theory that there isn't enough money to go around?

With the AJHL route seemingly not an option, the theoretical Cold Lake franchise is left exploring options in the SJHL.  With the AJHL in opposition to that avenue, the options become severely limited.  Though the AJHL doesn't have final say in the matter (as far as I know), the league's voice is certainly an important one when it comes to the various approvals the Cold Lake franchise would need.  Alberta Minor Hockey will likely take the AJHL's recommendations into serious consideration along with the CJHL.

It will certainly be interesting to see where the issue progresses with Alberta Minor Hockey as the progression firmly rests with that legislative group for the time being.

You can listen to my full interview with AJHL President Craig T. Cripps on the Audio on Demand page.


Friday, 23 March 2012

Playoff Updates


The Maidstone Jets captured the 2012 North Saskatchewan River Hockey League Championship the other night in Meadow Lake.

The Jets won 4-2 in Game 5 with the Meadow Lake Stampeders en route to raising the trophy.  The Stamps had a great season despite falling short in the Finals.  Meadow Lake finished first in the NSRHL during the regular season.

Jets forwards Rory Gregoire, Brett Harrison and Jason Roberts tied for the scoring lead in the playoffs with 23 points each.

Photo: NSRHL Website
Northwest High School Hockey League

One half of the final series is set with Ile-a-la-Crosse moving past Patuanak.  After one game of the two game total point series, the Huskies led the Timberwolves 12-2.  With a combination of difficulties in setting up the second leg and the lopsided score, the decision was made that Patuanak would concede.

Ile-a-la-Crosse awaits the winner of the Canoe Lake/La Loche series.  Canoe Lake holds an 8-5 lead heading into the second leg.  The contest was slated for Thursday night, but was moved to Monday which will push back the final series that was scheduled to begin that night.

Saskatchewan Midget AAA
The Saskatoon Contacts have a chance tonight to avenge last year's loss to the Prince Albert Mintos in the Midget AAA Finals.  The Contacts hold a 2-1 series lead coming into tonight's contest in Saskatoon.  The home team has yet to win in this series.

Interesting to note the Mintos were in a similar situation last round against the Notre Dame Argos, but turned it around on the road and eventually winning the series on home ice.

Mintos forward Brett Njaa leads all playoff scorers with sixteen points in nine games played.  Mack Shields has been great in the Contact goal, running a 1.74 GAA and 0.937 Sv% in twelve games.

If you're in Saskatoon looking for something to do tonight, the Contacts and Mintos drop the puck at 8:00 at the Schroh Arena.
Elsewhere in Saskatchewan the SJHL Conference Finals continue this evening with Humboldt going for the series win again against Battlefords.  In the Sherwood Conference, Melville and Weyburn clash to see who will have the first chance to eliminate the other with the series square at two games a piece.

It's everything WHL fans in Southern Saskatchewan could have hoped for.  The second place Moose Jaw Warriors face off with the seventh place Regina Pats as the rivalry continues.  Meanwhile, Saskatoon is in Medicine Hat tonight to start out the post-season.

Playoffs truly are the most wonderful time of the year!


Thursday, 22 March 2012

Junior-A Supplement Pilot Project Coming to a Close

When the Junior-A Supplement was announced before the 2010-11 season, it was met with a certain... "resistance" from fans, coaches and players.  While fans weren't happy with the rules limiting the number of fights a player could participate in before being suspended and other rule adjustments, it could have been more severe.

The Supplement was part of an experiment where five Junior-A leagues (SJHL, AJHL, BCHL, MJHL and the Maritime Junior Hockey League) to investigate the effectiveness of limiting fights in the fashion that the Supplement entailed versus the 'vanilla version' of Rule 6.7.  That's the rule limiting players to one fight per game.  When they drop the mitts, players are assessed a game misconduct.  First period?  Gone.  Second Period? Gone.  Third period, yeah, you've got it now... Gone.  In the Supplement Leagues, a player needs to fight a second time before getting the boot.  This isn't anything unfamiliar.  The SJHL featured the one-fight rule close to ten years ago (so I'm told), before going to a two-fight system.  The difference when the SJHL had the one-and-done rule is there was no real accumulation.  Players could fight pretty much as often as they wanted.

The two year pilot project of the Junior-A Supplement is in its final stages with reports and data being handed over to Hockey Canada in the next few weeks.  From there, Hockey Canada will use this research to decide how everything will shake down.  At least in theory.  From recent comments, it seems as though Hockey Canada already knows what's going to happen.