SJHL Schedule

The SJHL sent out the schedule for the 2012-13 season to the media today. The North Stars open the season on September 21st on the road against Kindersley. The Stars and Klippers will play a home and home to open the season which is some thing of a tradition. September 22nd will therefore be the Stars home opener at the Civic Center.

Other notable games include October 17th when the North Stars host the Humboldt Broncos for their first meeting since game 6 of the Bauer final. The Stars don’t see their other playoff rivals, the Nipawin Hawks, until November 24th.

The SJHL had discussed changes to the schedule at their AGM this summer. Some of those changes have been made. There has been a reduction in midweek games and a reduced schedule to 54 games. But one change, a reduction in interdivisional games, was not implemented. Teams from the Bauer will still face teams from the Sherwood twice at home and twice on the road. The lack of a rival team to play extra game against partially accounts for the reduction in games.

The original reduction in travel was thought to save the teams money. But SJHL president Bill Chow told me today that fans thought the schedule would lack variety. The SJHL felt that any potential savings in travel costs could be offset by some smaller crowds. It seems as though the majority of fans didn’t like that change so it wasn’t made. Personally I am happy with the schedule and glad it still features two trips to Estevan, Yorkton etc etc.

Tim Rollins traded to Dauphin

The Battlefords North Stars announced today that they have dealt Tim Rollins to the Dauphin Kings of the Manitoba junior hockey league for the CJHL rights to D man Connor Sutton.

Rollins had 16 goals and 37 points in 55 games played this past season, his second with the North Stars. But with the reduction in 20 year olds for the upcoming season, the incoming players up front like Blake Young and Carter Danczak, and the trade for 93 born forward Brandon Long the Stars had some depth up front and a need on the back end. They also freed up a 20 year old spot with the trade.

Sutton is a big D man who is listed at 6’1 200lbs and played last year with the Calgary Mustangs of the AJHL. A 1994 birth year Sutton was a 51st overall pick in the bantam drat in 2009 by the Prince Albert Raiders and may start the year in the WHL. At this point I am not sure exactly what will happen with Sutton. But when or if he ends up in the Battlefords he will be a very useful player to add to a backend that lost a lot of players from last year’s squad. With just Dillon Forbes, Matt Sheeran and Brody Luhning returning from the Stars regular lineup last season the D was looking a little thin. The Stars will have some guys coming to camp and guys who may come back from the WHL at some point but this was a chance to trade from a position of strength to address a lack of depth.

It is tough to trade a guy like Rollins though and Coach Hasselberg said it when I spoke to him this afternoon. Rollins never complained when he wasn’t in the lineup. He worked hard and always had a positive outlook. Personally I will miss Tim. When I first came to the Battlefords, and went to the rink for the first time to meet the coaches and watch the team practice, Rollins was the first person I met. He was out of practice that day with a minor injury problem and was watching in the stands. So my first impression of the North Stars was from talking to Tim. He’s a great kid with a really good family. I will miss seeing his parents when we head out on road trips and the occasional email from his dad will be missed as well. The Rollins family was always very good to me.

Hopefully this trade will work out for both teams and for the players involved as well. It gives Tim a chance to play in his home province and in his 20 year old season his family should have more chances to watch him play. Dauphin has a great coaching staff and are a very good team in that league every single season. They have a good radio guy as well which is exciting for me as I will be sure to tune in once in a while to see how Tim is doing with his new team.

It’s never easy making trades like this and I know Stars coach and GM Kevin Hasselberg doesn’t make moves like this lightly. Whenever a trade like this is made I always hope it works out well for both teams and for the players involved and this case is no different.

For more on the trade check out the release at http://www.northstars.ca