Woody signs with Greenville

Another great release form the North Stars today. Here it is:

The Battlefords North Stars are pleased to announce that graduating defenseman Woody Klassen (Watrous, SK) has signed a professional contract to play in the East Coast Hockey League with the Greenville Road Warriors. The Road Warriors are the affiliate team of the Connecticut Whale (AHL) and the New York Rangers. (NHL)

Klassen has been a member of the North Stars for the past 4 seasons. During this time, he has earned recognition as the North Stars Top Defenseman in back to back to seasons, Most Dedicated Player, and Play-off MVP. In 4 seasons and 191 games, Woody has contributed 34 goals and 92 assists for 116 points. His best season with the North Stars came in his last season where he was able to earn 34 points in 36 games played.

“Woody is one of the most dedicated and hardest working players I have had the opportunity to work with as a Coach,” comments Assistant Coach Blair Atcheynum. “There is no ceiling on how far Woody can develop in this profession. His positive attitude, commitment, and will to succeed, will win over the support of his coaches and peers at the next level.”

On behalf of the entire North Stars Organization, we would like to congratulate Woody and the Klassen family as he embarks on his professional career with the Road Warriors. Klassen will continue to train with the North Stars until Camp opens in Greenville, late in September.

I can still vividly remember the first game I saw Woody play when he returned to the Stars this season. I couldn’t believe how hard he passed the puck. I thought at that time that he played like a pro hockey player. Which makes sense because he was coming back from playing pro hockey. But you could see that at times he played to a level no one else could reach. At least not any other D men in the SJHL. I know from experience that he trains like one a pro as well.

With his heart, talent, determination and faith I know Woody will have a successful season. You won’t meet a more humble and genuine human being either. As I am sure they know, Greenville is getting a talented young D man and a great person and team mate. All the best to Woody in his future career and I will be keeping Stars fans up to date on how his season goes during broadcasts this up coming season.

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Boyd Wakelin Commits

This post is criminally late and I apologize for that. I was on the golf course when the news broke and then I left the next morning on holidays. Boyd Wakelin has decided to head to Camrose and play hockey for and go to school at the U of A Augustana. Here is the press release.

 

The Battlefords North Stars are pleased to announce that twenty year old forward Boyd Wakelin (North Battleford, SK) has committed to play for the Augustana Vikings of the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference for the 2012/13 season.

The Augustana Vikings are coming off a very successful season and are set to defend their second ACAC title after capturing the Championship this past season. With the addition of Wakelin, the Vikings roster will include 11 graduating SJHL players. The Vikings are also coached by former Battlefords North Stars Coach Blaine Gusdal. Wakelin will add the character, determination, and work ethic to continue the excellence achieved in the Vikings program.

“Boyd made it his habit to score big goals last season,” comments Coach/GM Kevin Hasselberg. “When the team needed a goal late in the game to tie, or in overtime for the win, Boyd developed the consistency in his game to achieve those results.”

On behalf of the entire North Stars Organization, we would like to congratulate Boyd and the Wakelin family for this accomplishment and wish him continued success both academically and athletically with the Augustana Vikings. Boyd will focus his academic studies on earning a Bachelor of Management in Business Economics during his time in Camrose, Alberta.

 

The Vikings have a very good program so this is fantastic for Boyd. He is going to get a chance to play on a contender year in and year out. It’s also a great school so all in all this is great for Boyd. Augustana are getting a player that I loved to watch and the fans here did as well. What’s better than a home town boy who goes out every shift and works hard? Not much. Adding the ability to score clutch goals made Boyd one of the best role players in the league. In the right system he will thrive and he does have the ability to play on the power play as well as the penalty kill.

Congratulations to Boyd and all the best in the future. I am going to be doing an “Alumni Report” this season during broadcasts so Stars fans can stay in touch with how well Boyd, and others, are doing.

Blake Tatchell nominated for RBC CJHL Player of the Year Award

First of all here is the link to the story.  http://www.cjhlhockey.com/news/news_detail.html?newsID=438

And an excerpt from the release:

This season, more than 3,000 players suited up for Junior A games across Canada, from Nanaimo, BC, to Woodstock, NB But only ten have been named as finalists for the RBC Canadian Junior Hockey League Player of the Year award.

The finalists were selected by their respective CJHL leagues, with the winner announced during the 2012 RBC Cup in Humboldt, SK, and presented with his award at the tournament awards banquet on May 11.

And the specific part about Tatchell:

BLAKE TATCHELL – BATTLEFORDS NORTH STARS (SASKATCHEWAN JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE)

Blake Tatchell was the Battlefords North Stars’ offence in 2011-12, finishing second in the SJHL scoring race with 86 points (42 goals, 46 assists), 31 more than any other North Star. His 42 goals not only made him the lone Battlefords player to crack the 40-goal barrier, he was the lone one to break 20. It was little surprise then that Tatchell earned the league’s MVP award – undoubtedly, no player was more responsible for his team’s success than the North Battleford, Sask., native, who helped the North Stars to the SJHL’s second-best record.

A hometown North Star, Tatchell is the ideal ambassador for the Battlefords program, taking to ice with a number of teams in the local minor hockey association and teaching young players not only how to be a better players, but how to be a better person as well.

Next season, for the first time, Tatchell’s hockey journey will take him away from home – 3,500 kilometres away, to be exact. The 20-year-old forward will head north to the University of Alaska-Anchorage, continuing his hockey career with the Nanooks.

 

It was a pleasure getting to watch Blake Tatchell play this season and I consider myself very lucky that I was able to watch every game he played this past year. I am looking forward to seeing what he does on the next level in the NCAA. This is a very well deserved honour for Blake and I know he’ll be very humble about being nominated. He always gives a lot of credit to his coaches, team mates and family.

I am openly rooting for Blake to win this award and I can’t wait to see if he brings it home.

Stars looking for new trainer/equipment manager

For more info on the job posting you can check out the North Stars website. http://www.northstars.ca

 

Dale Jackson has decided to retire as the trainer/equipment manager for the North Stars. Make no mistake that’s a big loss for the Stars. Dale’s passion for his job and for the North Stars was unmatched and he will certainly be missed. I only had a chance to work with Dale for one season but in that time I grew to be very fond of ‘The White Shark’. I know the players loved Dale and the coaching staff knew they could rely on him at all times. He was always at the rink. Always prepared and ready to go. And the amount of work he put in to make the Stars as good as possible was immense. It’s not an easy job, although I imagine it’s a lot of fun and very rewarding, even though Dale made it look easy.

As some of you know Dale is also quite entertaining when he wants to be. One of my favourite memories of this past season features Dale, a microphone and a trip home from Kindersley early in the season. I am not sure I have ever laughed that hard in my life. What an introduction to Dale Jackson!!

I know the organization went through some major changes last summer. A new coach, a new marketing & office manager and, of course, a new play by play guy. I also know what it’s like to have big time shoes to fill. I replaced someone who was much loved in this community. So I have a lot of sympathy for whoever is chosen to replace Dale. I thought I had big shoes to fill? I can’t imagine being the person who comes in and takes over as the North Stars trainer/equipment manager.

As I said Dale will be missed. Hopefully he enjoys his ‘retirement’ and I am sure we will see a lot of him at the rink once the season rolls around.

Brett Miller commits to York University

First of all here is the North Stars release on the commitment.

The Battlefords North Stars are pleased to announce that twenty year old forward Brett Miller (North Battleford, SK) has committed to play for the York University Lions of the CIS Ontario Athletic University West Conference for the 2012/13 season.

Miller’s development was split between the Western Hockey League and the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League over the course of 5 seasons. While in the WHL, he dressed in games with the Red Deer Rebels, Regina Pats, Everett Silvertips, and the Chilliwack Bruins. While with the North Stars, in 159 games played Miller contributed 46 goals and 73 assists for 119 points. Miller combined his skills with his size and filled the role as a power forward in his final season with the North Stars.

“Brett is a dedicated player that overcame the challenge of recovering from a serious injury. He was relentless in his pursuit to contribute to the success of the hockey team and provided leadership, intelligence, and a very strong work ethic,” comments Coach Kevin Hasselberg.

On behalf of the entire North Stars Organization, we would like to congratulate Brett and the Miller family for this accomplishment and wish him continued success both academically and athletically with the University of York Lions. Brett will join former SJHL players Mark Cross and Ryan Anderson both alumni of the Estevan Bruins on the Lions Roster.

 

Miller played 48 games in the Western Hockey League on top of his time in the SJHL with his home town team. He was a pleasure to deal with all season long and I really liked his attitude off the ice as well as on it. He’s a very cerebral young man who is always trying to improve his game in terms of the mental aspects as well as the physical. I know he picked his coaches brains a lot to get information and learn as much about the game of hockey as possible. That kind of curiosity and dedication will go along way to helping him in the university game and more importantly in the classroom. He comes from a very good family as well and I know that getting his education is important to him and his parents. All in all I am very glad that this announcement was finally made public and I want to congratulate Brett and wish him the best of luck in the future.

I do hope that more commitments like this are announced in the coming months as I would love to see more of the North Stars 20 year olds get a shot at playing at a higher level. Guys like Hildebrand, Wakelin and others who want to play more hockey and get an education. I also can’t wait for the RBC Cup to be over so we can start to get some announcements on players that have decided to come to play for the North Stars in the future. I know Coach Hasselberg has been doing his recruiting all season and that hard work will pay off with good young players deciding to come play for this franchise.