Friday, April 1, 2011

Friday grab bag

There's enough in this post to make up for the last week of inactivity so buckle up.

The West Central AA Wheat Kings' midget girls team won the North Sask Female Hockey League championship tonight in Dodsland, defeating the Saskatoon Comets 5-1 in the third and deciding game of the league final. The Wheat Kings, who are made up of players from Kindersley and across the west central region, led 1-0 after one period and 3-0 after two.

It's the first championship for the AA program, and a lot of people have put in long hours over the past few years to get to this point, including president and Klippers assistant Kevin Edgerton.

The girls have a chance to pull off the championship double Saturday when they play Game 2 of the provincial AA final against the Prairie Storm in Dodsland. The Wheat Kings trail the total goal series by one, but will no doubt get a big boost from the unbelievable fans in Dodsland.


Speaking of championship double, the Eston Ramblers did just that over the past week. On Saturday, the Ramblers travelled to Bredenbury to take on the Cougars in Game 2 of the provincial C final and won 5-1 to take home their first provincial banner since 2009. Their bus broke down in Lanigan on the way home and they got back to Eston at 9:30 a.m. Pretty sure no one minded though.

On Tuesday, the Ramblers won their first Sask. West Hockey League title since 2004-05 with a 6-3 win over the Luseland Mallards on home ice, completing a sweep of the best-of-five final.


Onto some Klipper notes. It's still early, but it's looking like the team may lose Sean Flanagan over the summer. It's no secret that NCAA schools are interested in the 18-year-old defenceman and there may be an opportunity for him to start his college career next season. 

Next week, Flanagan is heading to the annual ID scouting showcase in Toronto for the second straight year (I can't remember what it's called at the moment, but it's pretty much the mecca of recruiting for a lot of Junior A GMs and NCAA schools). Flanagan's play at last year's camp attracted interest from U.S. colleges and the QMJHL, and there will no doubt be a line-up of schools interested if he decides to take the NCAA route next year.

Sean would likely be one of the best defenders in the SJ as a 19-year-old next season, and losing him would be a massive blow for the Klippers, but much like Josh Thorimbert last year, it's a big feather in the cap for an organization when you can advance players through the ranks like that.

Again, it's early days and this may or may not happen.


As I reported on twitter earlier this week, the Klipper board and Rockie Zinger have held preliminary discussions regarding his future with the team. It sounds like the team is interested in bringing him back, but I don't believe anything is getting close to being decided.

I know Klipper fans are divided on this one, and after the team's showing against Yorkton the board certainly should be doing their due diligence and taking the time to make sure they get it right. There's also more to consider than the on-ice performance any time you make a coaching decision.

Speaking of Rockie, I was going to post an interview with him from earlier this week, but Windows Movie Maker doesn't want to cooperate with me. Oh well, you can read most of what he had to say in yesterday's Clarion.


I'm sure you've already read it on 68 different sites already so I'm not going to go into too much detail on last week's announcement that Laury Ryan is resigning as SJHL president. It seems not many people saw it coming (heck, not long ago I heard they were talking extension) and Ryan's departure leaves a big pair of boots to fill. Being a league president is a thankless job, and while Ryan has his detractors, don't count your chickens before you find out who's coming next.

I think Ryan summed it up well in his interview with Mitchell Blair when he said there have been successes and a few failures on his watch. I think the SJ can do a lot more to market their players and get more kids into the NCAA, and the new man will have to decide what to do with the Junior A Supplement, which at the very least needs a lot of tweaking. But that's a five-headed monster.


As Darryl Skender reported on Tuesday, the Melfort Mustangs are looking for a new coach after deciding not to renew Darrell Mann's contract. I think everyone in Melfort knew a lot was riding on the team's success this year after giving up a big ransom (supposedly) for the duo of Brayden Metz and Cody Hanson. The Mustangs couldn't build on their Game 1 win over La Ronge and are now likely facing a rebuilding year with a new bench boss.

Mann's exit makes the SJHL coaching carousel a little more interesting. The application deadline for Estevan's vacant job was back on March 21, but you'd have to think Mann might be an intriguing candidate for the B's. Add the open job in Melfort and possibly one here in Kindersley, and it's going to be interesting to see what direction these SJ teams choose to take.


I was in Estevan last weekend for the fundraising dinner for Spectra Place, the new home of the Bruins. It's an impressive barn to be sure, complete with more than 20 corporate boxes and two press boxes. The guest speakers included Brian Burke, Dave Nonis, Darian Durant, Gene Makowsky and members of the Trail Smoke Eaters, along with Leafs play-by-play man Joe Bowen as the emcee.

What a night it was. There were some great lines from Burke and Bowen - they were both, shall we say, a wee bit tipsy - and it was pretty cool as a Leaf fan to hear some of Burke's insights in a more relaxed setting. Oh, and him calling someone in the crowd a name I can't repeat here was also a highlight.

More on that soon.

Have a great Friday!