North Stars loading up for a run at the SJHL Championship

When I spoke with the North Stars coaches on Saturday after their win over the Weyburn Red Wings they mentioned the fact that they have a special group of 20 year old players. That was really the first time I had a gut feeling that they might decide to go for a title this year. With guys like Hildebrand, Tatchell, Sparrow and Klassen all moving on after this year, not to mention Wakelin and Miller, the time might be now for the Stars. And this afternoon they went out and made a splash.

Trade #1:

This is in chronological order. The first trade saw Zack MacLellan and Jake Daughtry dealt to Melfort for Mitch Berg. The Mustangs also get futures as part of the deal. Berg is big, strong and tough. All things the Stars coaching staff thought they needed to add. Coach Hasselberg said it was very difficult moving a player with the “commitment and character” of Zack MacLellan. He’s a good solid D man with some offensive upside and he is only 19 so he will be good for the Mustangs next season. Jake Daughtry was in and out of the Stars lineup since being picked up. I spoke to Jake before the Weyburn game and he said he was deciding if he wanted to stay and continue in that role or be traded somewhere that would give him the chance to play game in and game out. Give him credit as it appears he chose to go and play and try to help turn around a struggling team. As an 18 year old it will be good for his development to be playing games. Both guys are BC boys, like myself, and very good kids, insert your own joke here, and will be missed. They were both a pleasure to cover as a broadcaster. I wish them both the best of luck in Melfort and I look forward to seeing how they help turn that team into a contender next season.

As for Berg? I spoke with him today and he is very excited about joining the Stars. He said it was something he had talked about with good friend Graham Hildebrand in recent weeks and something he had hoped would happen. He is a Saskatoon native so is no stranger to several of the North Stars players. He will be much closer to home now and said his parents were happy with the trade as well. Listed at 6’2 212lbs Berg can play with an edge and a mean streak. He is also second on the Mustangs with 7 goals this season so he can provide offense as well.

Trade #2:

The North Stars sent future to the Westside Warriors for D man Klay Kachur. Kachur is listed at 6’2 200lbs and is a Lanigan, Saskatchewan native. He has been described to me as a rugged defensive D man who is tough as nails and not afraid to drop the gloves with anyone. He brings plenty of playoff experience as he went to the BCHL finals two years in a row with Powell River. Coach Hasselberg said that experience was a big factor in deciding to bring Kachur into the fold. He also went out of his way to praise the coaching that Kachur has received in Powell River, Salmon Arm and Westside. Kuchar has also been described by Scott Campbell who covered him in Salmon Arm as a “great guy and teammate” that is excellent on the PK and can play on the PP as well.

With those two trades the Stars are now at their limit of 9 players that are 20 years of age. They also got a lot bigger and tougher to play against. That was something the coaching staff mentioned was important. They obviously saw something in the way teams have been playing against them of late that made them want to get stronger in their own end and they accomplished that. As things stand the Stars have 8 D men on the depth chart. Sparrow, Berg, Klassen, Luhning, Kachur, Forbes, Sheeran and Toneff. They also have Grayden Turner who can play both forward and defense. Kachur is also a guy who can play up front if the need arises. This gives the Stars plenty of depth, perhaps the deepest defense in the league, but will also cause some tough decision for the coaches. Of course injuries and suspensions will always occur during a playoff run and you can never have too many quality D men .

Is that the last of the moves for the North Stars? I would guess that it is but then again you never know. If the right trade comes along the Stars are always looking to improve their team. The other note worth mentioning is that Coach Hasselberg did comment on “other teams” getting bigger and better recently. I think we know which teams he was referring too. The Stars wanted to respond to those moves by improving their roster and they certainly did that today. On paper at least. We will see what it looks like on the ice come Friday.

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