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Archive for March, 2010

Bodnarchuk Wins SJHL MVP

Posted by Darryl Skender on March 26, 2010

Humboldt Broncos goaltender Andrew Bodnarchuk has been named the SJHL’s Most Valuable Player. He also gained 1st-Team All-Star honors. The 19 year old netminder had an outstanding season on a team that finished under the .500 mark. He went 18-14-6 on the season with a 2.82 GAA and a .916 save percentage to along with 2 shutouts. This caps off a year in which he had already been named the Bauer Conference Most Valuable Player at the All-Star game in Lanigan. He also won 3 “Goaltender of the Week” honors this past season.

Bodnarchuk is also tied for 3rd place all-time in career shutouts with 9 as he trails only AJ Whiffen (11) and former teammate Taylor Nelson (10). Last season he was named the Top Goaltender (given to GAA leaders) as he compiled a 25-5-0-2 record with a 2.23 GAA amd a .916 save percentage which included 6 shutouts. He also has won 2 Credit Union Cups, 2 Anavet Cups and 1 Royal Bank Cup since entering the league. It’s easy to forget that he still has a year of eligibility left.

He also won the CJVR/CK750 award for 3 Star Selection. It was an easy choice for us as he was named a star in about 90% of the games we broadcasted that involved the Broncos this season. Game 2 of the Survivor Series was a memorable one where he stopped 65 of 69 shots. He ended up facing 110 shots in a 24 hour span that weekend.

The big question is whether Andrew will be back next year. He has to weigh his options with some scholarship opportunities that he has. He has made it very clear to me that if he is back in the SJHL next season, he wants to be a Humboldt Bronco.


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Former Huskie Signs Extension With Ti-Cats

Posted by Darryl Skender on March 25, 2010

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats signed former U of S Huskie safety Dylan Barker to a contract extension yesterday that will keep him with the CFL club through the 2012 season.

“Last season, Dylan showed that he is capable of making solid contributions on both defence and special teams,” Ticats head coach Marcel Bellefeuille said in a statement. “He’s one of our most promising young Canadian players so we’re excited that he has committed to this organization.”

Hamilton selected the six-foot-four, 200-pound Moose Jaw, Sask., native first overall in the 2008 CFL Canadian college draft. Last season, Barker had a CFL record-tying 37 special-teams tackles and also registered six defensive tackles, one interception, one forced fumble and a fumble recovery.

Barker appeared in all 18 of Hamilton’s regular-season games in 2009, emerging as the club’s starting safety for its final three regular-season contests as well as the East Division semifinal. The former University of Saskatchewan standout missed the entire 2008 CFL season with a broken leg.

“This was an easy decision for me,” said Barker. “I feel like I have an opportunity to be a part of a winning program here in Hamilton and I enjoy being a part of this city.

“I’m excited to continue my career as a Tiger-Cat.”

In his last year with the Dogs, Barker recorded 53 solo tackles to lead the team. He also had 3 interceptions and 4 break-ups.

We certainly wish the best for Dylan. I remember him telling me at the year-end banquet in Saskatoon after he graduated that he’d love to be a Saskatchewan Roughrider but it sure seems like Hamilton is a great fit for him.

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Hawks Hire New Coach

Posted by Darryl Skender on March 25, 2010

The Nipawin Hawks have found a replacement for former head coach Colin O’Hara. They have decided to go back to their roots and hire a player that donned the Black & Gold jersey back in the 90’s. It is Doug Johnson. Here is what interested Doug Johnson about the position. The Bracken, SK native may have started his junior ‘A’ career in Nipawin but in his fourth and final year of juniors, Johnson moved to the North American Hockey League where he captained the Billings Bulls.

I looked him up on “Hockey DB” and couldn’t get any of his Junior ‘A’ stats. Since leaving junior, the 34 year old played for Fresno of the WCHL, the B.C. Icemen of the UHL, Lake Charles of the WPHL and Odessa & Austin of the CHL. He was listed at 6 foot 2 and 195 pounds.

He is currently the assistant coach with the Omaha Lancers of the USHL. They are currently in 1st place in the West Division with a 38-12-1-6 record and just finished an 8-game road trip (sound familiar Hawks fans) and are finishing the regular season on a 5-game homstand which ends Saturday.

In regards to offering him the job, Johnson said, “Obviously very excited, it’s an organization I started my junior career with, I know what it means to wear the Hawks jersey, just honored that they contacted me in regards to the position and I look forward to the challenge and opportunity.”

Johnson was a defensive type stay at home defenceman in his playing days but what style of team can we expect from his club next year, “I just want to play as fast and as aggressive as possible, by aggressive I don’t mean fighting but physical. You need to get up & down the ice as quick as possible. Need to finish bumps, need to attack the net, but I think the biggest thing is off the ice, the guys have to be good citizens. Will not tolerate undisciplined or selfish players. You need to be a good teammate and go about your business the right way.”

He was also an assistant coach in Billings for thr 2004/05 season, then promoted to head coach the next year where he led his team to a berth in the West Division playoffs. He also has coaching experience as an assistant and eventually as head coach of the Odessa Jackalopes of the Central Hockey League and was an assistant in Tri-City for the Storm of the USHL.

It will not be an easy situation to come into as the Hawks organization was not left in good shape from what the community, players and members of the organization are saying. He also admits he doesn’t know a lot about the SJHL right now but is quickly getting up to speed on it. Hopefully, Doug can get things turned around for the franchise which is looking to turn a new page. He should be in town by late May or early June.

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Spring Camp Dates

Posted by Darryl Skender on March 23, 2010

In chronological order, here are our local team’s dates for Spring Camp:

Melfort Mustangs – March 26th – 27th
Humboldt Broncos – April 1st – 3rd
Nipawin Hawks – April 10th – 11th (Schroh Arena in Saskatoon)

Btw, the Tisdale Trojans will have their’s April 2nd – 3rd.

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Hockey Canada Talks About Humboldt’s 2012 Bid

Posted by Darryl Skender on March 22, 2010

As I mentioned in my post last week, a crew of 5 headed from Humboldt to Calgary to give a presentation to Hockey Canada on why they should be given the 2012 RBC Cup. I spoke with Dean Brockman immediately after and he told me he thought it went very well. But what did Hockey Canada think about it?

I called up Kevin Webster (Events Manager) for Hockey Canada and he was impressed. He said, “Humboldt put together a very solid bid, they have a great group, Lee Dufort and Gord Lees seem to be heading up a great host committee and the experience Dean Brockman can offer at being at 4 of the last 7 or something like that is invaluable in knowing what the team needs and what the focus needs to be, they did a great job”.

This is not Humboldt’s first dealing with Hockey Canada of course and that bodes well for the city’s hopes. Webster said, “We’ve had a good working relationship with Humboldt in the past. We had them as a partner site for the first Junior ‘A’ challenge in 2006 so we had an opportunity to work with a lot of people in the community. Also, the World Junior Hockey Championship and Hockeyville… we know the people there are willing to step up and we know the venue is a quality venue. We’ve had great history working with the groups in Humboldt”.

The 4 teams bidding for 2012 RBC Cup are Humboldt, Kingston, ON, Port Alberni, BC and Fort McMurray, AB. There are a lot of factors on who to choose and no doubt Hockey Canada will have a tough decision. Here is a clip of what Kevin Webster said about all the bids.

Since all 4 communities have already submitted their bid, it is just a waiting game now. There will be a recommendation made to junior council on Saturday May 29th and the board of directors for Hockey Canada will ratify that recommendation that night. The 4 communities will hear the results either on May 30th or 31st depending on board meetings.

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Broncos Submit RBC Bid

Posted by Darryl Skender on March 17, 2010

Dean Brockman, Lee Dufort, Gord Lees, Kelly McClintock and Malcolm Eaton are done with their presentation to Hockey Canada to try and prove why they are more deserving than Port Alberni, Fort McMurray and Kingston for hosting the 2012 Royal Bank Cup. They headed to Calgary yesterday and got in around 8:30 PM in preparation for this morning’s presentation which consisted of the one hour presentation and the 30 minute “Q&A” which followed. I spoke with Dean about it and he said he thinks it went well. There were 5 representatives of Hockey Canada in attendance listening, watching and asking questions. All 4 bidders are now done with their presentations and it now lies in the hands of the Hockey Canada Committee who will no doubt be following up with all the hopeful bidders in the next little while.

People from this area are saying Humboldt has the best shot at it but I’m sure all local communities are saying the same about themselves.

Here’s what we know about the timeline for the provinces in question:

Kingston, ON bid: Cornwall, ON just held it 2 years ago and it was not run well from communication to transportation to fan support (I know first hand as I was there). Does Hockey Canada want it in Ontario twice in 4 years?

Fort McMurray, AB: The community, despite being isolated, is very rich because of oil. They just advanced to the next round of the playoffs. However, Camrose is hosting the 2011 RBC Cup and why would they want it in the same province 2 years in a row?

Port Alberni, BC: They are a hockey mad town with a great team this year. However Victoria just hosted it last year (and did a great job) and is just over 2 hours from Port Alberni. They had the ‘Under 17’ challenge there which will be in their favor.

Humboldt, SK: The Broncos have had a couple of major international events with the last one in December with Slovakia taking on Austria in an exhibition game for the 2010 World Junior Hockey championships. There were members of Hockey Canada there and they said they were impressed with how it was run. Also, “Hockeyville” showed that the community and surrounding area can really come together and support their team.

Basically, all we can do is wait. I have a call in to Kevin Webster who is the manager of events for Hockey Canada. I’ve worked with him at the last 2 RBC Cups and at the World Junior game in Humboldt. Once I talk to him I will give you more information.

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Mustangs Assistant Takes Tisdale Coaching Job

Posted by Darryl Skender on March 17, 2010

After 5 years as an assistant coach in Melfort, Trevor Blevins has moved on to take the Head Coach & GM position of the Tisdale Trojans. I called him this morning and here is what Trevor Blevins-1 said about moving to the Trojans. He is also wasting no time getting started. Click to find out what Trevor Blevins-2 has on his plate immediately.  He has been a major part of the organization and will certainly be missed. Blevins said he will miss the organization as he has been treated very well and wanted to thank Darrell Mann, Barry and Tanis Jung as well as the whole board and the city of Melfort for the overwhelming support while with the team.

Mustangs Head Coach & Director of Hockey Operations Darrell Mann said he was very happy for Blevins. He said the opportunity is a fantastic one and within a couple of years can put him in a position for a Junior ‘A’ job. What does the vacancy mean for the Mustangs organization? Here is what Darrell Mann said. Darrell also said that “Trevor is a good friend and great hockey man and his dedication and what he brings to the game will huge for the Trojans moving forward”.

One would have to think that this would be an attractive vacancy for some ‘AAA’ and Junior ‘B’ personnel. Melfort is a good family town, affordable housing, has a very nice rink (and complex) and schools are close no matter where you live.

Good luck with the Trojans Trevor!

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Mustang Report

Posted by Darryl Skender on March 16, 2010

Here is the final Mustang Report of the season. Thanks to Darrell Mann for doing them with Fraser and I all season.

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Mustangs Lose Series In 5 Games

Posted by Darryl Skender on March 16, 2010

Game 5 in North Battleford was the 2nd wild & wacky game we’ve seen there this year. The last time these 2 teams met in the regular season, Melfort scored 5 quick ones in the 2nd period to take a 6-1 lead, only to need a shoot-out to beat Battlefords 8-7.

Sunday’s game was also a wild one which saw many different things. Melfort trailed 3-2 in the 3rd period and had a 5 minute power play to try and tie it up. Instead, Battlefords scored 2 short-handed goals to go up 5-2, only to see Melfort score twice with their net empty to make it a 5-4 game. A bad turnover by the Mustangs put the game out of reach as they fell behind 6-4 and an empty-netter closed out the scoring. Todd Chinova and Cole Gibson both had a pair of goals for Melfort in the loss which knocked them out of the playoffs. It was the last game in junior for Chris Ward, Harrsion Tribble, Blake Hietala, Todd Chinova, Brant Harris, Gary Childerhose and Kevin Knopp. It was the same as every other game in the series where it seemed Melfort worked so hard for their chances and came up empty so often whereas Battlefords capitalized on most of theirs. In saying that, maybe that’s a testimony that good teams make it look easy… and the North Stars are a very good team.

Since the year-end banquet took place before the playoffs started, many of the players left for home yesterday, just 1 day after being was eliminated. Some will continue on with high school, some will look to play senior hockey, while others will pursue their scholarship opportunities.

Congratulations to the Stangs who were one of the best teams since the 2nd week in January where they sat 6th in the Bauer Conference but went on to a 3rd place finish and a bye in the first round. The future is bright with the likes of Cody Michelle of the Prince Albert Mintos possibly coming on board next year. Michelle was in the top 20 in scoring and also scored 7 goals in 8 playoff games for the Mintos this season. He is considered a character player as well.

To the whole organization, thanks for the memories you have provided us and good luck next season.

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North Stars Win 3rd Straight

Posted by Darryl Skender on March 13, 2010

The Battlefords North Stars had 3 different 1 goal leads last night, the last one came at 3:10 of overtime in their 3-2 win over the Melfort Mustangs. The winner took place when Melfort missed on a 2-on-1 at one end, the North Stars Mitch Wall split the defence and scored at the other. That gives the North Stars a commanding 3-1 series lead in their best of 7 Bauer Conference semi-final. I thought that the Mustangs out-schanced the Stars by a 2-1 margin (despite the shots on goal) but they either couldn’t beat Hildebrand, missed the net, had their shot blocked or tried a pass when they should have shot. Nevertheless, give Battlefords credit, they are a good solid physical team with some very skilled players as well. They are also getting the goaltending it takes to win in the playoffs. The Mustangs missed on another penalty shot opportunity and were 1 for 5 on the powerplay. They held the North Stars scoreless again on their powerplay. Melfort is actually winning the special teams battle as they are at 14.8% while Battlefords is 10% but it’s probably very little consolation right now. The 4 best Mustangs last night were Brant Henry-Norton, Owen Roschuk, Brant Harris and Regan Nabseth. A big blow to the team was the loss of defenceman Josh Martin who dove in front of a slap shot to make a block and it unfortunately caught him in the head and he doesn’t appear he’ll be back as a concussion is suspected (I have not confirmed that however).

For the first time this year, we broadcasted with “1 up and 1 down” and it seemed to work out pretty well. I was up in the press box and Fraser Rodgers was down at ice level in between the players benches. We are going to try it again in Game 5 in North Battleford.

I updated the “Goal Calls” section of this website for Melfort’s 2 goals which were scored by Brant Henry-Norton and Cole Gibson. If the Mustangs get another home game, I will update it again.

Game 5 is coming up tomorrow (Sunday) in North Battleford. We’ll have the broadcast of the game on CK750 at 7:15 (pre-game show) and 7:30 (play by play). Melfort has won in North Battleford 3 times this season (twice in the regular season and once in the playoffs) so it’s not certainly not an impossible task. In fact, this whole series has been close with the difference being a couple of mistakes. If the Mustangs do win tomorrow, tickets will be on sale for Game 6 at the Mustangs office starting at 9:00 AM Monday and it will stay open throughout the entire day right up to gametime.

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Mustangs Fan Bus

Posted by Darryl Skender on March 12, 2010

There will be a Mustang fan bus going to North Battleford on Sunday. The bus will be leaving the west parking lot of the Palace at 3:00 and the cost is $50.00 a person, which includes your game ticket. Space is limited so call Kendra at 752-9403 or sign up at the Mustang Corral at tonight’s game. The bus will go as long as there is 35 people signed up by tonight. Game 5 on Sunday is a 7:30 start at the North Battleford Civic Centre.

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Mustangs Fall In Game 3

Posted by Darryl Skender on March 12, 2010

Take away the first 11 minutes of Game 3 and you would have a different result. Unfortunately you can’t do that in hockey and that’s why Melfort is now down 2 games to 1 to Battlefords in their best of 7 Conference semi-final. The North Stars grabbed a 3-0 lead and hung on for a 4-2 win. Darrell Mann used his timeout at that 11-minute mark as his team was not only down 3-0 on the score clock but also 8-1 on the shot clock. Since Mann’s timeout, Melfort outscored Battlefords 2-1 and outshot them 29-21 but it is a 60 minute game, not a 49 minute game. Owen Roschuk and Brant Henry-Norton continue to really impress me with their play. Both guys have been among the best Mustang players throughout the first 3 games with their forechecking, penalty killing, shot blocking and physical play. Henry-Norton and Gary Chliderhose had the goals for Melfort. The Mustangs powerplay went 1 for 8 and gave up a short-handed marker in the game. In the series, they are 3 for 22 which means it is operating a 13.6% rate, far below the 20.5% they averaged during the regular season. On the bright side, their penalty kill has an 87.5% success rate up from 76.9% in the regular season. It was a very physical affair and also featued the first game back for Tony Oak who finished serving his 5-game suspension. Three Mustangs saw their first playoff action on Wednesday. Adam Wihak, Johnny Badura and Brett Kipling all saw playing time while Cole Gibson, Bo Lenard and Lee Christenesen were out.

Defenceman Mitch Berg’s 1st intermission interview can be heard in the “Interviews” section of this website. Berg and his younger brother Carter have been excellent additions to the Melfort line up this season. Also, I have updated the “Goal Calls” section from the game on Monday. The past couple years I have recorded the home goals for our teams. This is my first addition this season as the Humboldt Broncos never scored any goals at home.

With it being a Friday night game tonight, we should see a pretty decent crowd at the Palace. The announced attendance was a very respectable 847 for their game on Monday. Battlefords crowds were over 1100 for both last Friday and Wednesday’s contests.

Tonight’s game is on CK750. The pre-game show starts at 7:15 and the play by play at 7:30. Game 5 is Sunday in North Battleford.

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Stars Tie Series At One

Posted by Darryl Skender on March 10, 2010

It wasn’t a pretty game to say the least but that’s the type of game that road teams love. Melfort came out and played well in the first 10 minutes and had a 1-0 lead to show for it. After that things got sloppy (on both sides) and it was a greasy win for Battlefords, just like Melfort had in Game 1. Harrison Tribble and Jesse Mireau scored for the Mustangs. The 3rd and 4th lines for Melfort were pretty solid but the top 2 lines had a very average game and will need to pick it up for Game 3. The powerplay is also not clicking right now. During the regular season, they were ranked 3rd. So far in this series, they have just 2 goals on 14 attempts. The one thing Melfort improved on this past game was their discipline as they took just 3 minor penalties. Both sides have been called for “Too Many Men On The Ice” in both games so far.

Brant Harris, who had 2 goals in Game 1, was my intermission guest. You can listen to that converstion in the “Interviews” section of the website.

Melfort has played very well in Battlefords this year already winning there 3 times this year including Game 1 on Saturday. It should be a good one tonight. Pre-game show at 7:15, play by play at 7:30 on CK750.

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Mustang Report

Posted by Darryl Skender on March 8, 2010

Here is today’s edition of the Mustang Report. Don’t forget, tonight’s broadcast starts at 7:15 on CK750.

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Mustangs Win Opener

Posted by Darryl Skender on March 8, 2010

The Melfort Mustangs came out with a strong performance in North Battleford and took Game 1 by a score of 3-2 in a very exciting game. There was lots of back and forth action which included a lot of scoring chances for both sides. Brant Harris ended the game with a pair of goals but should also have been credited with an assist on the Blake Hietala goal. He tried a wrap-around which ended up going in the slot and the future Michigan Tech native buried it. Chris Ward was also excellent making a huge save in the dying seconds to secure the win. Kevin Knopp also made a game saver in the 3rd period by diving in front of a puck that was going into the Mustangs open net robbing Dane Muench of a sure goal.

My interview in the 1st intermission was captain Kevin Knopp. Check it out in the “Interviews” section of this website. As happens quite often, the player that gets interviewed has a good game and Knopp kept up that trend.

A couple of guys that went down last game appear not to be having any lingering effects. Chris Ward and Blake Hietala were both down for short periods of time but are ready to go. This will be Tony Oak’s last game he has to miss on his 5-game suspension. The North Stars weren’t nearly as physical as I thought they were going to be in Saturday’s game. Oak will make sure that doesn’t happen again when he plays on Wednesday in North Battleford.

One of the movies on the bus was actually pretty good (and believe me I don’t say that very often). It was called, “Cellular”. The other ones, well not so much.

Tonight’s broadcast starts at 7:15. Fraser and I will have the play by play at 7:30. Melfort has taken over home-ice advantage. But as Trevor Blevins said in the post-game show on Saturday, the win is all for not unless the Mustangs win Monday (tonight).

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