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Archive for August, 2011

Hawks Training Camp

Posted by Darryl Skender on August 29, 2011

The Nipawin Hawks camp starts Wednesday. Registration is between 10:30 and 11:30, then the players will be hitting the ice immediately after that. Head coach & GM Doug Johnson says he is hoping to have between 72 and 78 kids this year which should be attainable considering they already have 70 signed up. The camp is free to the players. I asked Doug why he doesn’t charge like a lot of other teams. He said, “This is our bread and butter. You work as hard as you can all year long to get the strongest possible main camp and I don’t want to lose a player for $75 bucks or $100 bucks.”

Expect the Black & Gold to get down to 23 players when the regular season gets underway. Doug said that he doesn’t want to carry 25 or 26 players for a few weeks and then cut them loose because then there are less opportunities for that player to seek. He wants to work mainly with the players that are playing most of the games and let the rest get a chance to play somewhere else.

Camp will consist of 4 teams which will each practice once on Wednesday and Thursday. The evenings will consist of scrimmages. Each team will have another scrimmage on Friday morning. After that will be the first round of cuts. There will be 1 or 2 more cuts after the intersquad game on Friday night. Johnson is planning on keeping a few younger kids around for the September 3rd exhibion game against Flin Flon. Some will be sent home after that but he wants to get them in a Hawks jersey in a real game first. The hope is to entice the players to come back and become a part of the organization later on.

There won’t be a lot of special tactics for the first part of the exhibition schedule. Johnson said, “For our first 2 or 3 exhibition games, basically there’s a little black puck out there, go find it, work as hard as you can to get it and if the other team has it, bang the hell out of them. It’s going to be high tempo, lots of intensity. Then that Tuesday game against Humboldt on the 6th, we’ll start getting into X’s and O’s a little bit. Hard work wins a lot of games for you, systems can come later. With the returning group we have, they know some of the systems we have in place so it’s going to be of less importance.”

Here is a list of the Hawks pre-season games:

Sep. 3: Nipawin @ Flin Flon – 6:30 PM
Sep. 4: Nipawin @ Flin Flon – 6:30 PM
Sep. 6: Humboldt @ Nipawin – 7:30 PM
Sep. 9: Nipawin @ Melfort – 7:30 PM
Sep. 10: Nipawin @ Humboldt – 7:30 PM


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A Long Overdue Post

Posted by Darryl Skender on August 23, 2011

I’m back off holidays and have a lot of catching up to do so here we go.

The Nipawin Hawks traded goaltender Brody Hoffman to the Fort McMurray Oil Barons for future considerations a little over a week ago. Hoffman was up on the trade block for a while. Coach & GM Doug Johnson brought in goaltender Davis Jones from the Oil Barons in June. It’s interesting that the Hawks and Oil Barons ended up trading goaltenders to each other about a month and a half apart. Doug said, “We wish Brody the best of luck. He was a key part of the organization for 2 years and is a great young man.” A lot of people feel that Jones will be the starter in Hawksville but Johnson said that’s not the case. He stated, “Davis’ numbers are very appealing what he did last year but Stephen’s a competitor and he’s had a good summer so I’m going to let them sort it out. That’s the best way to do things, let the players decide who’s going to play. Summer’s a long time. Guys can work hard or guys cannot. I want to see who comes in prepared and who doesn’t. That goes for all positions.” Whichever way Doug decides, there will be a new starting goalie in Nipawin this season.

Still with the Hawks, their Hockey School is fast approaching. It is taking place this weekend at the Cage. It will be run by coach & GM Doug Johnson and assistant coach Chad McLeod as well as some of the players that are volunteering their time. It works in conjunction with Nipawin Minor Hockey. All the information is on the Nipawin Hawks website including an online registration form. Johnson said, “We’ll take players from age 5 to 17. We will have 3 different groups per day. You get what you put into it. If the guys come in with a good attitude, they’re going to learn a lot. If they’re just out to get in shape, they’re still going to get something out of it.” Ten per cent of the money raised will go back to Nipawin Minor Hockey.

I was driving back from Saskatoon (Huskie press conference) and I passed Doug near Aberdeen. He was on his way to Saskatoon to pick up assistant coach Chad McLeod. Welcome to our great province Chad.

I did up our SJHL broadcast schedule while I was away. Our first hockey broadcast is September 16th with Nipawin @ La Ronge. That’s followed by Humboldt @ Notre Dame on September 18th and Melfort @ Kindersley on September 20th. We will be doing an increased amount of games for all teams this year which will keep Branden and myself very busy.

The University of Saskatchewan Huskies have been hard at training camp. They started with testing on Thursday and have been doing two-a-days since Friday. About 95 players started out at camp. One notable not there is running back Jeff Hassler. He suffered a severe high ankle sprain while playing in a select rugby game and has been lost for the season. Head coach Brian Towriss told me that Hassler has accepted a position with Rugby Canada and is a carded athlete. That means his footabll career is either on hold or over. Despite losing a player with a ton of talent, BT said that even though they are a man short, they aren’t missing someone they’ve ever had on a regular basis. Jeff has spent most of the past 2 seasons injured. Obviously that means Ben Coakwell will get more carries and also opens the door for a guy like Dexter Janke.

As for training camp, the players have had a few of the days in sweltering heat. Things seem to be progressing nicely. The Dogs still don’t have a starting QB yet however. Trent Peterson and Jahlani Gilbert-Knorren are still battling for that title. Peterson was the back up last season while Gilbert-Knorren was 3rd but Jahlani also played other positions like receiver, running back and kick returner. They have 2 very different styles. Peterson is more like a Laurence Nixon type. He is very cerebral and methodical while Gilbert-Knorren uses his legs a lot more. Both QB’s will get a lot of time with the 1st unit during their non-conference game Friday.

At today’s press conference, it was announced that the September 2nd game is going to be dedicated to the Canadian Armed Forces. They are calling it the “Support Our Troops” game. CEO of the Concorde Group David Dube is once again involved in this venture. There will be a barbecue tailgating party for the troops and their families in attendance as well as a live band. The regular public is also invited for a small fee. All money raised will go to the “Soldier On” fund.

And finally, I can’t wait. Football is back on Friday with the Huskies hosting the Windsor Lancers in a non-conference game. Game time is 7:00. The pre-gamwe show with myself and Kelly begins at 6:30.  Let’s have a good turnout at Griffiths Stadium.

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On Holidays

Posted by Darryl Skender on August 4, 2011

I’m on holidays right now but have still been busy with hockey meetings etc and am about to do up another SJHL Broadcast Schedule. I will have it done by the weekend. I am looking forward to working with our 3 SJHL teams as well as the U of S Huskies football team again. It will be a lot of broadcasts as always but will also be a lot of fun.

I went to the Riders game last week with Hawks coach Doug Johnson. It was nice getting to spend the day with him just talking hockey and especially Hawks talk. Btw, for the ladies in Nipawin, Doug is single so put the word out to your friends. Yes he’ll probably kill me for saying that but he’ll have to wait until i’m done my vacation.  I ran into Mustangs assistant coach Dwight Kulchysky a couple weeks ago at his work (where my wife also woirks). He’s looking forward to being back behind the bench again. We talked about some old times when he was in Nipawin. I’ve also spent some time over the past couple days with Broncos coach Dean Brockman. He has been critical in some radio station business and I have nothing but good things to say about him. I’m proud to call him a friend and hope the fans of Humboldt realize what they have.

I also wanted to say congratulations to a couple of my broadcasting buddies. First of all, Dan O’Connor, the new voice of the WHL’s Prince George Cougars. That was inevitable. He told me a couple years ago that the “Dub” was his goal and it was just a matter of time. He’s extremely skilled, dedicated and very deserving. Also, former CJVR/CK750 play by play man Fraser Rodgers is now doing play by play with the Penticton Vees of the BCHL. He was with the Powell River Kings last season. He’s also a very talented young broadcaster who will be “Dub bound” in the future.

Three weeks from tomorrow will be our first Huskies football broadcast. That spells the end of our summer in the sports department. Kelly Bowers is back with me for another season. We have a brand new transmitter which should help our signal get into Saskatoon better, however, there are still the same restrictions from the CRTC for broadcasting there at night.

I hope everyone is enjoying their summer. I have been at the lake a lot and loving every second of it. Our family has rented cabins at Greenwater for 4 more days next week and then that will be it for me until October when I go to Las Vegas to see Jimmy Buffett at the MGM. Take care and enjoy the gorgeous weather.

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