Category Archives: SJHL

SJHL AGM: Franchises Now In Good Shape

The 2014-15 Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League season was officially closed and the 2015-16 campaign was opened when the annual general meeting of league governors, coaches and general managers was held on the weekend in Nipawin.

SJHL president Bill Chow says the weekend of meetings was productive as a number of items were dealt with including the first-ever bantam draft.

“For it being the first one I thought it went really well,” acknowledged Chow. “All of the teams came in well prepared which is a tribute to them.”

“The thought process (of the draft) is that it puts emphasis on Saskatchewan kids and shows their importance to the league,” added Chow. “I think the players, and their parents, now know they are important to the organization (that drafted them).”

Once the draft was completed Chow said it was business as usual with the league schedule being hammered out. Teams still have to firm up their home dates when they return to their respective centres, but the regular season is set to begin on the Sept. 18-19 weekend.

Normally the annual Showcase kicks off the campaign, but due to the September long weekend being so late this year the league has opted to host the event Oct. 4-7, once again in Warman.

This year’s Showcase will have a bit of a twist to it as it will begin with a pair of games featuring Midget AAA players in various age groups followed by all 12 SJHL teams playing two games each for a total of 14 games overall during the four days.

Last year’s Showcase was a resounding success and Chow feels that this year will attract even more attention as scouts from various post-secondary schools and higher-level hockey leagues will have ample opportunity to see what the league has for talent.

Other items that were discussed on the weekend were team and league finances, particularly those of the Weyburn Red Wings and Kindersley Klippers. Chow said that the Red Wings at one point had incurred a $175,000 debt, but have taken a big chunk out of that and that plans are in place to knock it down even further.

As for the Klippers, hosting the World Junior “A” Challenge in December allowed that franchise to take care of its financial situation and will be stronger as it moves forward.

The economic impact of the SJHL in the province is huge and Chow estimates that upwards of $20 million can be attributed to the operation of the league and its 12 franchises. This information is important because it is hoped that more sponsorship can be attracted to help offset costs and make all of the franchises viable entities.

On the ice it was decided that their will be no rule changes to be implemented, but Chow said, as is the case every year, there is always plenty of concern for player safety.

“Everybody competes on the ice, but off the ice they find a way to work together and make things work for everyone,” noted Chow.

Nothing specific will be implemented, but on-going monitoring of dangerous situations will be crucial to maintain player safety. The SJHL has been fortunate not to have had any serious incidents and with good planning and preparedness it is hoped that trend continues.

In addition to Chow returning for a fifth season as lea

SJHL Holds First Ever Draft: 15 SMHA Players Selected

The SJHL held their first ever bantam draft yesterday. The Yorkton Terriers selected Pilot Butte Storm forward, Austen Flaman with the first overall selection.

Through the six round player dispersal a total of 15 players from the Saskatoon Minor Hockey Association were selected including former Flyers Zone Alumnus, Matthew Smith who was selected fifth overall by the Humboldt Broncos.

Other SMHA players drafted include:

Eli Lieffers (Aces); 14th; LaRonge Ice Wolves

Klippers Get New Hockey Ops Pilot!

After several weeks of vacancy, the Iron Horse Kindersley Klippers are pleased to announce the Head Coach & General Manager position has been filled. The Klippers would like to welcome Coach Geoff Grimwood to the organization.

“I am very excited by the opportunity to join the Kindersley Klippers and join the community of Kindersley,” said Grimwood, “I feel we have a really great opportunity to build on the previous success of the team, and feel we have the pieces in place to continue to get better as a team.

“I am looking forward to reaching out to all of our returning players,” Grimwood continued, “Next season really starts today, and we are going to be an extremely hard working hockey club. I would like to once more thank Garnet Gramlich and the Klippers Board for this opportunity, and look forward to becoming part of the community in Kindersley.”

Grimwood comes to the Klippers after serving as an Assistant Coach with the Victoria Royals of the Western Hockey League (WHL) during the 2012-2013, 2013-2014, and 2014-2015 seasons. During that time he also oversaw the South Island Royals Major Midget Program of the British Columbia Major Midget League (BCMML) for parts of parts of 3 seasons.

Kindersley Clips Coach

The Iron Horse Kindersley Klippers have announced that Head Coach and General Manager Rockie Zinger will not have his contract renewed for the 2015-2016 Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League season.

The Klippers wished Zinger well in his future endeavours, and are now seeking applicants for the vacant position.

Zinger took over the position in the 2010-11 season, as the team advanced to the SJHL semi finals where they were swept by the Yorkton Terriers. The team then entered a rebuild stage, bottoming out in 2011-12 with 11 points and finishing at the bottom of the SJHL standings.

In 2012-13, the team improved from 11 wins to 22 wins, moving from 12th place to 8th place and returning to the playoffs after a one year absence, but the Klippers lost out to the Estevan Bruins 3-1 in the first round.

It was another leap forward in 2013-14, improving from 22 wins to 34 wins, and climbing from 8th place to 3rd in the league. Despite a strong regular season, the Klippers would not escape the first round of the 2014 playoffs as they dropped four straight games to Melville, with each game being decided by one goal.

Kindersley Could Be Klipped From The SJHL

The Kindersley Klippers have joined the Weyburn Red Wings announcing that they may not be able to ice a team for the 2015-2016 SJHL season.

The club decided to make their financial plight public in an attempt to involve the community and gauge the interest of the area in maintaining their junior hockey franchise.

President Garnet Gramlich spoke with the community paper and announced that the team is $150,000 in debt and cannot continue to operate in a deficit situation. The team’s budget for 2014-2015 was between $500,000 and $600,000 and according to Gramlich in order for the team to achieve financial stability they need to sell 400-500 season tickets annually, however, that number currently stands at 200.

In the off-season, the club reached out to the community and was able to secure $70,000 in new corporate sponsorships. However, the prior debt incurred by the club did not allow that money to be applied to this season’s operating costs.

When asked when the team started to see their numbers go into the red

SJHL Makes Major Recruitment Change:

January 1st not only meant that teams in the SJHL could flip the calendar at the mid-point of their season.
It also meant that hockey operations need to begin preparations for their first ever bantam draft.

In a president’s message loaded to the league’s website President Bill Chow unveiled the plans for the league’s first ever player draft. The six round draft will be held at the SJHL’s AGM in June. It appears as though local player rights will be maintained through the draft process, however, players from outside of team boundaries or over the age of 15 that are not listed are eligible for selection.

At first glance this seems like a very good tool for the league to use in recruiting, retaining and equally distributing provincial talent.

Upon further review this in my mind is going to ramp up the intensity of player recruitment with players and their families having to decide even earlier if they are wishing to pursue major junior or an American College scholarship through Junior ‘A’. So scouts, and teams will need to have a very good indication of the intent of potential recruits prior to selecting them in the draft.

Blades Add Partner

The Saskatoon Blades are teaming up with Saskatoon City Hospital Foundation for next week’s Wine, Woman and Hockey fundraiser. The event will see two stars from the reality shows, Bachelor, Bachelorette and Bachelor in Paradise – Marcus Grodd and Lacy Faddoul – at the Park Town Hotel for a gourmet dinner Thursday, October 16, the Blades game Friday, October 17 and a party after the contest at Fionn MacCool’s downtown. People will be able to ask Marcus and Lacy questions about the stories behind the scenes of the wildly popular shows and have their pictures taken with the newly-engaged couple.

“We’re grateful for the support of the Blades – and what a unique way to raise funds. I know some ladies who will love being able to directly ask Marcus and Lacy questions!” says Steve Shannon, the CEO of Saskatoon City Hospital Foundation.

“We’re fortunate to be in the position to support worthy causes in the community like the City Hospital Foundation,” says Blades president Steve Hogle. “They’ve got a stellar track record raising money to better care for people in the Saskatoon region.”

Terriers Top Dogs!

The Yorkton Terriers have won the 2014 RBC Cup, Canada’s 44th National Junior A Championship, with a 4-3 overtime victory over the Carleton Place Canadians on Sunday night at Kal Tire Place.

The national championship is the first for Yorkton, which was making its fifth all-time appearance at the tournament. The Terriers are the 10th team from the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League to be crowned national champions, and the fourth to do it since the start of the five-team format in 1990. The Humboldt Broncos were the last SJHL team to win the national title, in 2008.

Derek Falloon scored the game-winning goal 15:01 into overtime to give the Terriers the national championship. It was the second extra-time winner for Falloon in the last four days; he also scored in overtime in Yorkton’s 2-1 win Thursday over the Dauphin Kings that clinched a semifinal spot for the Terriers.

Kindersley Ready To Welcome The Hockey World

Hockey Canada, in partnership with the Canadian Junior Hockey League, announced Friday that Kindersley, Sask., will host the 2014 World Junior A Challenge from Dec. 14-20, 2014.

The 2014 tournament will mark the return of the World Junior A Challenge to the province of Saskatchewan for the first time since Yorkton and Humboldt hosted the inaugural event in 2006.

It’s Another Top Ten Tuesday!

Here we go again with a random look at my ten Tuesday thoughts from the week that as in the world of sports.

10 – So Alex Rodriguez gets suspended along with a dozen major leaguers in the sport’s biggest drug bust. A-Rod lead the way with a 211 game suspension. However, while all other players have seemingly accepted their punishment A-Rod was on the field last night making his season debut after recovering from off-season hip surgery. He’s now allowed to play until an appeal can be heard. That apparently could take months. Wow! Here I thought that the CFL had the worst suspension policy in professional sports.