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Play by Play for the U of S football Huskies, Melfort Mustangs, Nipawin Hawks & Humboldt Broncos

Archive for May, 2011


Posted by Darryl Skender on May 27, 2011

Not a whole lot going on lately. Looking forward to seeing what happens at the SJHL AGM this year. It takes place next weekend in Nipawin. I’m speaking with SJHL president Bill Chow Monday to get a preview of items that will be discussed. Speaking of Nipawin, coach & GM Doug Johnson came back to Nipawin after an unsuccessful attempt at helping out on the family farm down south. Conditions were still very wet. Hawks president Dennis Botterill told me he plans to be back as a guide at the Nipawin Pike Fesitval ‘Media Day’ again this year. I look forward to seeing him there once again. I’ll be doing my morning sports from the Nipawin Chamber of Commerce that day (June 6th) as I do every year, then it’s time for fishing!. I look forward to that event every year. Broncos coach & GM Dean Brockman is still spending time on the tractor working on his family farm. Rumors continue to swirl about his future after next season. And Mustangs coach & GM Gavin Holcomb has found a place to live in Melfort finally. It hasn’t been an easy search as he had been staying in Prince Albert and commuting.

Riders rookie camp starts on Wednesday. Huskies linebacker Peter Thiel must be getting nervous. The Green & White invited him to camp for a tryout after he went undrafted. Also Huskie offensive lineman Patrick Neufeld will be back for a 2nd year in a row trying out for the Riders. He was cut last year but speaking with both Ken Miller and Greg Marshall, they both feel he has a great chance of making the squad. Huskies coach Brian Towriss agrees. Also, Huskie receiver Jade Etienne, who was the 4th overall pick by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, is excited to get things going. He told me he thought they were serious about keeping him considering they used their 1st pick to get him but he knows he will need to have an exceptional camp to stick.

I have also inserted my latest RBC Cup Report in the “RBC Cup” section of my website. Please feel free to have a listen. It has gotten a great response so far. Have a great weekend!


Posted in Humboldt Broncos, Melfort Mustangs, Nipawin Hawks, U of S Huskies | Leave a Comment »

Nipawin Hawks Earlybird Season Tickets on Sale

Posted by Darryl Skender on May 20, 2011

The Nipawin Hawks have opened up season tickets sales. Earlybird prices are in effect until July 20th. Here are the earlybird prices:

Adults: $250.00
Students: $125.00
Children: $75.00

You can purchase your tickets at Flowers ‘N Things. Call 862-3700 to reserve. Season tickets will also be available at the Nipawin Fair where the Hawks will have a booth set up.

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Mustangs Earlybird Season Tickets On Sale

Posted by Darryl Skender on May 20, 2011

The Melfort Mustangs are giving people a chance to get their season tickets at a discounted price. From now until June 30th, earlybird prices are in effect. Here is a list of the prices:

Adults: $210.00 After June 30th: $240.00
Seniors: $195.00 After June 30th $215.00
Students: $115 After June 30th $135.00
Kids: $70.00 After June 30th $70.00

There are different combinations and packages to choose from so you can call the Mustangs office at 752-2799 for more information. Everyone purchasing a season ticket will automatically be entered into a draw for a 46″ LED TV. The draw will take place at the Mustangs home opener.

The new office manager is Jamie Placsko. She takes over from Tanis Jung, who held the post previously.

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RBC Cup Report Done Early

Posted by Darryl Skender on May 18, 2011

Just finished Friday’s “The Road To The RBC Cup” report. It’s in the appropriate section of the website. It will be heard Friday morning on CJVR & CK750 at 8:45.

Posted in Humboldt Broncos, Melfort Mustangs, Nipawin Hawks | Leave a Comment »

Peter Thiel Invited To Riders Camp

Posted by Darryl Skender on May 18, 2011

It was not exactly a shock that linebacker Peter Thiel was signed to a undisclosed contract by the Saskatchewan Roughriders yesterday. Thiel was draft eligible and many believed he might go in one of the later rounds but it never materialized. It was the exact same scenerio last year with Taylor Wallace who didn’t end up making the club. The question is, “can Thiel stick?’

For those of us that watch the Huskies on a regular basis know he has the potential. Dogs head coach Brian Towriss said, “He’s a solid linebacker, he’s physically very much ready to play at the next level. Now he’s going to go out and get an opportunity to go out and see how he does. If he makes it, great for Peter, if not we’ll get him back for another year and hopefully he’ll have another opportunity.” I guess the one difference between the situation with Thiel and Wallace is that Taylor was invited after he already graduated while if Thiel doesn’t make  the Riders, he still has 2 years of eligibility left with the Huskies to make an impression on a CFL club.

The Regina native had another impressive season last year compiling 20 solo tackles, 22 shared tackles and 1 QB sack in 6 games. Remember he played a couple games with the club on his hand as well after injuring it. BT is impressed with the 22 year old’s skill saying, “He’s a big strong kid that runs very well. He tested very well at the CIS-CFL combine in March. There were a lot of teams that liked his skill-set and now the Riders have given him an opportunity.”

Because he was not drafted, Thiel was picked up as a free agent which is what he’ll be again if the Riders release him after training camp. If that happens, he will be eligible again for the 2012 CFL Canadian draft. The Roughriders ‘Rookie Camp’ starts June 1st at Mosaic Stadium.

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First RBC Cup Report

Posted by Darryl Skender on May 16, 2011

The first “Road To The RBC Cup” report is done and can be found in the RBC Cup portion of my website. I will try to hit different topics each time. They are scheduled to run on both CJVR and CK750 every Tuesday and Friday at approximately 8:45 AM.

Posted in Humboldt Broncos, Melfort Mustangs, Nipawin Hawks | Leave a Comment »

RBC Cup Kickoff Barbecue A Big Success

Posted by Darryl Skender on May 13, 2011

It was a huge turnout from people in Humboldt and area yesterday at the RBC Kickoff Barbecue at Civic Park. Over 500 people enjoyed the afternoon which consisted of a pulled pork sandwich, a drink, a few speeches, music and friendship. The purpose of the event was to get the community together, build up some hype and have some fun. The sponsors for the barbecue were “Big Sky Farms” and “Drake Meats.” There were also volunteers (Leanne & Karen) selling “Saddle Up” t-shirts and signing up volunteers. Mayor Malcolm Eaton, Adele Failler who represented Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan and RBC Cup co-chair Jeff Bunko all gave short speeches.

Jeff mentioned a golf tournament coming up on June 4th at the Humboldt Golf Course. People interested in golfing in the fundraiser  can either call the golf course or the local RBC branch. He also said that he expects between 250 and 300 volunteers will be needed for the RBC Cup. If anyone wants to volunteer, he said that people can do that through either the Broncos office at 682-5575 or call the City of Humboldt’s Leisure Services offices and they will be able to help you out. Jeff was pleased with the turnout at the barbecue and said he didn’t mind the wind as it was good for the farmers.

Everyone seemed to enjoy the barbecue which went from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Unfortunately Broncos head coach & GM Dean Brockman couldn’t make it because he was in coaches meetings.

Mayor Malcolm Eaton said what a great event this will be for Humboldt. He said they want to have many activities throughout the year to keep people excited. I asked him about what it means to him personally. Malcolm said, “It’s exciting or me. My son Joey played in the RBC in Charlottetown in 2003 when the Broncos won. I know what it feels like to be a parent going to an event like that.” Of course he is a huge hockey fan and can be seen at most Bronco home games during the season. In fact, he has joined me for many intermissions at the Elgar Peterson Arena over the years giving his thoughts. He also said that things are right on schedule and believes they have prepped themselves well to be able to host the national tournament.

Here is the list of sponsors that have come on board so far:

Lead Sponsor
Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan

Midget Sponsor
Richardson Pioneer (Champion of Volunteers)

Bantam+ Sponsors
SaskEnergy (Champion of Volunteers)
CJVR/CK750 Radio
Humboldt Journal

Bantam Sponsors
Graphic Ad
Humboldt Coop
Diamonds of Detroit
South 20 Dodge
Colony Motors
Canalta Hotels
Discovery Ford
Meyers Norris Penny

I’d like to remind everyone that our “Road To The RBC Cup” feature starts on Tuesday and I will put those features in the newly formed “RBC Cup” section of my website. The feature will run Tuesday’s and Friday’s on both of our stations.

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Kenton Valliant Gets Scholarship

Posted by Darryl Skender on May 13, 2011

Former Humboldt Broncos defenceman Kenton Valliant is off to Simon Fraser University on a scholarship. He will join the team for the BCIHL season upcoming. The Broncos traded Valliant to Sudbury of the NOJHL back on November 30th. Then he was subsequently dealt to the Portage Terriers 8 days later. With Humboldt, he had 3 assists in 27 games, in Portage, he amassed 7 assists in 28 games. Kenton also won a MJHL championship and an Anavet Cup championship this past season. His team did not make the playoff round at the RBC Cup in Camrose.

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Broncos Get Mathew Backhouse

Posted by Darryl Skender on May 13, 2011

Another future considerations deal is done for the Humboldt Broncos.  Defenseman Mathew Backhouse is the latest player to be on his way to play for the Green & Gold. That completes the future considerations for Riley Gillies being shipped to the Dauphin Kings at the trade deadline. Coach & GM Dean Brockman said, “We’re excited to add him to the fold. Mathew is a shut-down guy and has some presence on the back-end. We gave up a quality kid in Riley Gillies to get him. The wait is over. We’re excited to add a guy that has played and experienced a Royal Bank Cup in his host city.” Of course that’s key with Humboldt being the host city for the next one. The Thompson, Manitoba native had 3 goals and 22 assists in 41 games last season.

There’s still more work to be done however. Dean said, “It’s a team game and he’s just 1 piece. We’ll be adding other pieces as we progress here in the summer time.” Those may come on trades that are still owed to them from both Kindersley and Sudbury. This is just a guess on my part. I’m wondering if the Broncos won’t take one of their futures for cash and try and buy a 20 year old goalie. Yes it’s a Darrell Mann thing to do but he ended up with 3 top end goalies the past few years (Ejov, Tetrault, Corsi). We’ll have to wait and see.

That brings the number to 12 over-agers on the team. Here is a count (to my knowledge) of the 20 year olds that are eligible to play for the Broncos next season:

Clarke Breitkreuz
Robbie Ciolfi
Ryan Marshall
Mathew Backhouse
Taylor Johnson
Chase Wharton
Ward Szucki
Greg Ferguson
Dayton Shaw
Pat Tran
Brett Pisio
Brendon Fornwald

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Hawks Coach Likes Team Going Forward

Posted by Darryl Skender on May 13, 2011

Nipawin hawks coach & GM Doug Johnson is a busy man these days between coaches meetings, scouting trips and working on the family farm but took time out to talk about his latest acquistions. They picked up forward Justin Waskewich from the Estevan Bruins to complete the Jonathon Ceci trade from last season. Johnson is expecting Waskewich to be a point a game player this season which the Black & Gold are certainly in need of. Last year, the 5′ 11″ 185 pounder scored 10 times and added 22 assists in 51 games. Doug also said, “He’s a kid with a lot of skill and plays with a lot of grit.” Another upside to getting Waskewich is that he still has 2 years of eligibility left. In case you were wondering, Ceci finished the season with 24 points in 18 games in a Bruins uniform.

The other announcement the Hawks had was the acquisition of Alex Laird from the Swift Current Legionnaires. The Yorkton Terriers traded his rights to finish off the Brant Remenda deal last season. Laird was 2nd on his team in scoring with 19 goals and 24 assists in 44 games. Johnson said, “Alex fills a big hole for us in regards to bringing in a young centreman. He’s a point a game guy in ‘AAA’ and he just got better as the season progressed.” The 5’11” 175 pounder will have 3 years of SJHL eligibility should he crack the squad this fall.

Doug likes the look of the team but will continue tweaking as we head into the summer months. He admitted that last year was a little difficult as the team didn’t do as well as he would have liked. This year looks better. The coach said that all the players that are on the team want to be on the team.

Doug is back on the road this weekend doing some scouting in Spruce Grove. He still needs to help out on the farm some more as they are 3 weeks late seeding. He’s still working the phones trying to make the team better at the same time. Of course the league meetings take place in Nipawin next month.

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Loss Of Top Players Doesn’t Phase Stangs Coach

Posted by Darryl Skender on May 12, 2011

We knew that Gavin Holcomb would be coming into a tough situation in Melfort for his first SJHL coaching job. And it got tougher a few days ago with the loss of 3 of his top players that were eligible to return. The Melville Millionaires picked the 3 players that everyone guessed they would. Defenceman Lee Christensen along with forwards Jesse Mireau and Sean Aschim are all headed south to complete the trade that saw Brayden Metz and Cody Hanson come to Melfort. How does this affect the Mustangs? Coach & GM Gavin Holcomb isn’t phased by it. “Coming in, those were the 3 guys we knew were on Melville’s radar. From here on, we’re going to have a few holes to fill. Those are big, key players. They played really well for the Mustangs last year. Luckily we still have a good core of guys coming back that we can build around.”

Gavin called it a “reload” for the upcoming season which I think is a polite way of saying rebuild. He thinks that the departure of Christensen, Aschim and Mireau is a chance for other players to step up. “It’s a good opportunity for some of the guys coming back from last year to step into a bigger role and it creates more room for some younger guys coming in.” This also gives Holcomb a chance to build his own team as the Mustangs had already lost 10 players that were 1990’s and are too old to play this season. He has a chance to build something from the ground up now.

Mills coach Jamie Fiesel is tickled pink with the acquisitions and it seems like his newest players are as well. Fiesel told me on his way down to Regina (yes I gave him heck for talking on his cell while driving),”We are very excited, we’ve talked to all 3 players and they’re very excited to come to Melville. That was key.” Melville should be a much-improved team this year when they start playing in their new arena. Jamie called all 3 guys “impact players that are going to really help our program.”

The trades didn’t pan out for Melfort as they went out in the Conference final but there can’t be regrets. They did what needed to be done to try and put them over the top. As for the Mills, so did they.

And before I make “Feez” out to be a criminal with the cell phone thing, to his credit, he had it on speaker while he drove.

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Two Down Three To Go For Broncos

Posted by Darryl Skender on May 11, 2011

The Humboldt Broncos have completed 2 of their 5 deals which involved future considerations from last season. I know it seems like I’m a day or 2 late writing this but these trades were announced earlier than they were originally intended. I had knowledge of them but the Yorkton deal wasn’t supposed to be announced before yesterday (but leaked out the day before) and the deal with Swan Valley wasn’t supposed to be released until the end of the month. Therefore I was not planning on letting it out until then. However, with it leaking out again, Dean gave me the go-ahead to announce it.

Let’s start with the Clarke Breitkreuz-Robbie Ciolfi deal. I think most of us knew it a long time ago but Dean took a good long hard look at it and watched to see how they would perform in the playoffs. I think the Yorkton Terriers, even today, are still happy with the deal, as are the Broncos. They got Justin Buzzeo and Jeremy Boyer who gave the Terriers the added offence they needed and helped them get to a Game 7 in the league final. This should work out to be a good deal for both sides. Here are last year’s numbers for the 2 newest members of the Green & Gold:

Regular Season
Clarke Breitkreuz: GP:51  G:31  A: 37  Pts:68  PIM:109
Robbie Ciolfi: GP:47  G:22  A:30  Pts:52  PIM:24

Clarke Breitkreuz: GP:15  G:7  A:15  Pts:22  PIM:31
Robbie Ciolfi: GP:15  G:14  A:10  Pts:24  PIM:12

You have to believe those numbers will only improve with both guys one year older and one year more mature in the upcoming season. Even though people thought this deal was a no-brainer, head coach & GM Dean Brockman didn’t want to just simply select the 2 big names. As most of us know, the Terriers have a lot of talent on their team, not just 2 guys. Dean said, “We think we’re getting 2 quality guys that put up some pretty good numbers for them. They got a tremendous amount of playoff experience this year losing the league final in Game 7. They were a couple of their better players in that particular series. We think that they’re going to bring an element to the team that we don’t have and that’s goal scoring.” He also said that we will see them paired up on the same line at least to start since they already have that chemistry.

As for the deal with Swan Valley of the MJHL, I wasn’t going to mention this until the end of the month when it was going to be official but once again it was let it out of the bag. The Broncos acquired Ryan Marshall from the Stampeders to complete the trade involing Nick Keller. Marshall finished 2nd on the team in scoring with 17 goals and 32 assists for 49 points in 46 games. Unfortunately, Swan Valley was eliminated after just 6 playoff games this past season. He’s not big in stature at 5’9″ 165 lbs but is supposed to be a good skater. Dean said, “We know he’s going to be a big part of our team next season. He gives us the depth up front with scoring and the ability to play in all situations which which will help our club immensely next season.” Brockman also like the fact that he played with Clarke Breitkreuz  2 World Junior ‘A’ challenges which means there could be some chemistry already. He said that he spoke with him yesterday morning briefly and Ryan told him he was looking forward to coming to Humboldt.

So there are 3 trades left to announce for Humboldt. They still have futures coming back from Kindersley (Spencer Braaten trade), Dauphin (Riley Gillies trade) and Sudbury (Kenton Valliant trade). Unless, it leaks out again, I will give you the names when Dean gives me the go-ahead to release them as they are not official yet.

These deals by the Broncos so far have really boosted their need for scoring for next season. One would think that guys like Gasper, Glowa, Zbitniff and Landry have big upsides for scoring as 19 year olds next season. The Green & Gold will have some decisions to make with 20 year olds. Once Brett Pisio finishes with the Saskatoon Hilltops next year, expect him to join the Broncos team. He brings an element to the club which is very much needed. He is also well-liked in the dressing room. Captain Taylor Johnson should be safe as a 20 year old as well. 20 year old’s on the bubble will most likely be Pat Tran, Ward Szucki, Dayton Shaw and Greg Ferguson. Dean may only have room to keep a couple of those guys. The only 1991 returning on defence is Chase Wharton and one would believe he is safe. For a smaller guy, he showed great toughness and played in every situation. Remember that Breitkreuz, Ciolfi and Marshall are already taking up 20 years old spots on the roster. Humboldt will still want a couple more experienced defence and most likely a 20 year old goaltender. They can also decide to keep them all and carry more than 9 but just not play them all in the same game. The next few weeks should be very interesting.

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East-West Bowl Goes To OT

Posted by Darryl Skender on May 9, 2011

Laval running back Sébastien Lévesque scored on a 10-yard run on his team’s first possession in OT to lift the East to a 34-27 victory in the 9th annual East-West Bowl.

For the west, former Saskatoon Hilltop and current Regina Ram standout Adrian Charles carried the ball 9 times for 35 yards. Western QB Donnie Marshall led the squad with 57 yards rushing and 127 yards passing.

Three Huskies were named to the West team. Safety Bryce McCall, defensive back Keenan McDougall and offensive lineman Ben Heenan. McDougall was scratched due to an injury. Huskie head coach Brian Towriss was there as one of the coaches but told me it was more of an evaluation role for the upcoming IFAF Senior World championships. Defensive coordinator Ed Carleton was invited but could not make the trip to the University of Western Ontario.

That’s the East’s second win in as many years but the West has still won 6 of the 9 meetings.

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Gavin Holcomb Named Mustangs Coach

Posted by Darryl Skender on May 3, 2011

The Melfort Mustangs had 41 applications and finally after arrowing it down to a short-list over a week ago, have found their man. It is Gavin Holcomb. Gavin comes here after a 3-year stint as the assistant coach of the La Ronge Ice Wolves. He signed a 2-year plus an option contract at 11:00 this morning to be the head coach & GM of the team. I spoke with him immediately after. He said, “I’m definitely excited, it’s a great opportunity for myself. Melfort’s a great place, a lot of great history here. I’m grateful and excited about the opportunity.” It’s not only a new city but a new arena for him to call home. He comes from the small, cold confines of the Mel Hegland Uniplex which is unique and in its own way, a trip to grass roots hockey to the warm modern multi-use (and much quieter) Northern Lights Palace. He admitted that it will be an adjustment with the bigger ice surface but is looking forward to it.

Previous to La Ronge, Gavin had head coaching stints with both the Tri-Town Thunder of the PJHL and Campbell River Storm of the VIJHL. He’s not about to forget where he came from. “Bob (Beatty) helped me out a ton. I’ve got nothing but good things to say about La Ronge. It was a great stepping stone for me. I got to know a lot of people there, some great people.”

It’s going to be a busy time for Holcomb. He needs to find a place to live in Melfort and will be calling Prince Albert home for now. The first item on his agenda will be getting to know his talent. “I have to get a hold of all the players returning and get in touch with the list players and line something up for the upcoming season.” He says he knows the team is losing a lot of players but he also like the returning core. Gavin calls it a “reload” for the upcoming season and doesn’t believe it will necessarily be a 2 or 3 year process. He wants to add to the returning core and be competitive this season. He will have a better idea of who his returning players are when the Royal Bank Cup is over and teams are allowed to announce their future considerations from previous deals.

He admits that it will be a little strange standing in the bench of the home side after being on the other side the past few years. As for the Mustangs team he saw last year, Gavin said they were a very strong team, a lot of quality players and he’s happy a lot of them are coming back.

Another item on his agenda is going to be naming an assistant coach. The board has helped him out with 4 or 5 names including last year’s assistant Cory Unser. He did not give a timetable on when he would be making that announcement.

I also spoke with the Mustangs new president Sean Isberg. He was very pleased to have landed a quality person such as Holcomb. He too is excited about the upcoming season. Sean replaced Barrie Jung, who stepped down this off-season.

Welcome to town Gavin!

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