North Stars notes

It’s been too long since I fired up the blog and now with the World Cup on going and the fact that I am taking holidays in a week I realized I needed to get up a post now. There have been several announcements and moves made since my last posting.

Firstly the North Stars have traded Luke McColgan to Chilliwack of the BCHL in exchange for goalie Spencer Tremblay. McColgan is entering his final season of junior eligibility and will be missed. He’s physical, fast, plays in all situations and rarely, if ever, takes a shift off. Luke will be missed on and off the ice and Chilliwack fans are getting a heck of a player.

Tremblay is also entering his final year of junior hockey. He’s bounced around a little and has battled injuries. Hopefully he will settle will here in the Battlefords and provide a steady presence in net. At this point you would imagine that Tremblay will have to battle to get in the net as Darren Martin appears poised for a big season after getting his feet wet this season in the SJHL.

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The North Stars announced that graduating players Tanner Quinn and Michael Gudmandson have both committed to continue playing hockey.

Gudmandson is heading to Marian University. A division 3 program in Wisconsin that plays in a competitive conference. The Sabres are graduating a couple goalies and that will allow Goody to battle for the starters role right away. After his incredible 20 year old MVP season with the North Stars it would be hard to doubt Gudmandson. Marian is getting a very talented and mentally tough goalie.

Tanner Quinn is headed to SAIT to play hockey with Dillon Forbes and the Trojans hockey program. As we noted with Forbes, the Trojans are a top hockey program in the ACAC. Quinn is a hard working, tough and gritty forward. While he may not provide much offence he is capable of potting an important and timely goal. And in the end he did post 49 career points with the North Stars in 158 career games. As a 3 year North Star with that many games under his belt it is great to see Quinn continuing on at the next level.

For more on those announcements check out http://www.northstars.ca

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The SJHL also recently wrapped up their annual general meeting. At that meeting the schedule was completed and it will be announced in July.

The league’s governors have decided to stick with the same set up as last season. 3 divisions, 56 games on the schedule and the same playoff format. The league also announced attendance was up around the SJHL last season.

The playoff format didn’t really work as far as I am concerned and I had been hoping for a change. I’m a little disappointed that the same system is in place. The North Stars playoff run included long trips to Estevan and Melville. Lots of bus travel, plenty of money spent on team meals and hotels. And in the end I don’t think that’s for the best.

Most of these teams need playoff revenue to survive long term. To make money in the playoffs you need big crowds and as little travel as possible. In the current system, that saw Estevan play Flin Flon in the playoffs, teams have to hope for favourable matchups. They need to be lucky to have a playoff run that makes a nice profit.

The BCHL has divisional playoffs followed by a tournament featuring the 3 division winners. That isn’t ideal but imagine a playoff system that saw the North Stars knowing they wouldn’t have to travel anywhere other than Humboldt, Kindersley or at worst Wilcox? A couple divisional series would help teams make money. In my opinion anyway.

But I haven’t seen the North Stars financial records for this season as they haven’t had their team AGM yet. And I haven’t yet spoken to anyone from the team to see how they feel about the playoff format. Obviously some of the teams felt this current playoff system worked. And in the end it is their opinions that matter.

For more on the SJHL AGM check out http://www.sjhl.ca

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