SJHL – Game #5 – Battlefords North Stars at Kindersley Klippers

North Stars 2014-15 Record: 2-1-1-0

NorSask North Stars Hockey Broadcast Info:

  • 1050 CJNB in the Battlefords
  • 102.3 CJNS in Meadow Lake
  • Listen Live:
  • Ultra Print Pregame Show – 7:15
  • Puck drop – 7:30

Stars Celebrating

Thanks to Lee Erickson for the great pictures.


Last game recap: – The North Stars beat Melville 5-2. Read the recap here:


  • Win Streaks: The two teams playing tonight are both on 2 game winning streaks. (the Stars have a point in three straight games) And they’ve played each other twice already. It does seem somewhat unusual for both teams to be on win streaks when one of those teams won their games against the other. But Kindersley is playing the North Stars exclusively early in the season while the Stars are getting a glimpse at some other teams in the league.
  • Schedule: The Kindersley Klippers should be fresh as they haven’t played since last Saturday versus the North Stars. The Stars have won 2 on the road since that game and had a long bus ride. But on the other hand the Stars are in a flow and on a roll. And it’s hard for a team to replicate game speeds during a week of practice. All in all? I think it balances out and I don’t think either team has an advantage coming into this game.
  • Division Standings: It’s way too early to watch the standings and frankly we did so much watching of the standings last season, and watching of the scoreboard as well, that I am not ready to get back into that mode just yet. It seemed every night for the last two months of last season I was seeing how Kindersley did and then checked the standings to see what the North Stars would have to do to catch the Klippers. It was exhausting! But having said all that it is nice to see the North Stars off to a decent start and with a win tonight they would extend their lead over Kindersley to 3 points having played 2 more games. Anything can happen but it for me I think it would be nice to be the lead horse that’s being chased more this season.
  • Rivalry Cup: The Klippers won the cup pretty early in the season series last year. Thanks in part to starting with 4 straight wins over the North Stars. In the end the Stars won 3 of the 8 meetings last year. The Klippers are out to an early lead again this year. They can take a pretty strong stranglehold on the Cup with a win tonight.
  • Road Warriors: I have already talked about this phenomenon this season but here are some numbers. Since Kevin Hasselberg took over the North Stars are 50-27-3-7 on the road. That’s 110 out of 174 possible points. And a .632 win percentage. Away from home. That’s outstanding. In that same span the North Stars are 55-27-0-3 at home. That’s 113 out of a possible 170 points. That’s a .664 win percentage. So the North Stars are basically as good on the road as they are at home. Not many teams can come close to matching that record. If you are driving through a SJHL city and you hear a bus honk twice it’s probably because the North Stars just won on the road again.
  • SJHL Showcase: The North Stars are sending 11 players to the showcase. Jake Erickson, Michael Statchuk, Brenden Heinrich, Ryne Keller, Matt Saharchuk, Brady O’Sullivan, Kendall Fransoo, Connor Sych, Ryan Rewerts, Reed Delainey and Matt Havens. The event takes place in Warman starting with some midget aged players on Sunday and running through to Tuesday night. Some North Stars prospects like Layne Young and Bryce Hall will take part in the midget showcase as well.

O'Sullivan v Yorkton

Other Notes:

  • Last game’s Canadian Tire 3 Stars – 3) Jake Erickson 2) Reed Delainey 1) Matt Saharchuk
  • Last game’s Sanberg Collision Collision of the Game: Connor Sych.
  • Quick Starts: The North Stars scored their opening goals against Yorkton (12 seconds) and Melville (2 minutes and 12 seconds) very early on. In the two meetings this season against the Stars it has been Kindersley opening the scoring and doing so in the first half of the opening period. Playing with a lead is such a key that those early goals loom large.
  • Rookie Scoring: With 4 points in 3 games Brady O’Sullivan is tied for the league lead for rookie scoring.
  • Head to Head Scoring: Owen LaClare (3+1) and Cody Young (1+3) each have 4 points in the 2 games between these two teams this season. Matt Saharchuk (2+2) and Reed Delainey (2+2) also have 4 points in those two games.
  • Streak: Brenden Heinrich is on a 3 game point streak early in the season and has posted 4 points in 4 games played so far.

Some Keys for the Stars:

1) Play With a Lead – The North Stars are 2-0 when they score first. 0-1-0-1 when they don’t. They did come from 3-0 down to tie the Klippers last Saturday before falling in OT. After those very strong third periods in Yorkton (despite giving up a goal on a deflection) and in Melville (gave up just 7 shots in the third and just a power play goal) we have seen the Stars developing a pretty solid plan for playing from in front.

2) D-men Scoring – A big key for the North Stars last season and we are starting to see the same trend this season. Just the lone goal from Statchuk so far for the D corp. But 6 points so far with Erickson, Weston and Yew putting up assists in recent games. I expect a lot of close games between the Stars and Klippers this season and a goal or key set up by a D-man could be the difference.

3) Penalty Kill: – The North Stars have allowed 13 goals in 4 games so far. 10 of those against Kindersley. 6 power play goals against. 4 of those in those first 2 games. They gave up just 2 goals per game out East this week and lowered that goals against. But the penalty kill has allowed a goal in every game. That will change and I expect this team to be a good penalty killing team. Not allowing a power play goal tonight is going to be a big key.

Founts v Yorkton

North Stars Lineup:


Erickson – Fransoo
Statchuk – Vermeulen
Yew – Weston

Havens – Keller – Heinrich
Saharchuk – Delainey – O’Sullivan
Fountain – Townsend – Nachtegaele
Yew – Kanter – Redding

Scratches: McKinlay, Sych, Bond, Leonenko, McMillen, Smith


North Stars on a roll after win in Melville

For the second straight night the Battlefords North Stars jumped out to an early lead and this time were able to wrap up a regulation victory.

It took the Stars just 12 seconds to open the scoring in Yorkton. Tonight it took a bit longer but not a lot. Brady O’Sullivan and Matt Saharchuk teamed up to spark a rush that culminated with Reed Delainey scoring a tap in. Saharchuk’s back door feed made Delainey’s job easy and the North Stars were up 1-0 after just 2 minutes and 12 seconds.

Another odd man rush and another tap in made it 2-0. This time it was Matt Havens doing the dishing and Michael Statchuk scoring the goal. Brenden Heinrich is on a two game point streak as he chipped in with an assist on the goal.

The North Stars made it 3-0 after just a little over 12 minutes as Brady O’Sullivan scored from Saharchuk and Erickson. Saharchuk and O’Sullivan each had two points and the North Stars speed was carving the Mills apart. But Ben Mack’s solo rush and neat finish in off the bar just 22 seconds later made it 3-1.

That was the score when the third period started. The Stars started short handed in the final period (I am taking the high road on the refs) and the Mills got within a goal with a power play marker. Lane Harbor’s third of the year got the Mills within a goal.

And after that I thought the North Stars played a pretty great road third period. The good guys in black were able to shut things up pretty good allowing just 7 shots on goal in the final period. Giving up so few shots to a team on home ice that was trying to come from behind is encouraging.

Late in the final frame the Stars won a draw in their own zone, worked up ice and battled to find a loose puck at the side of the net. Delainey had kind of bungled a 2-on-1 with Fountain with a bad pass. He made up for it as Fountain made a nice move to the slot and got off a shot. Eventually the puck came to Delainey at the side of the net with help from Founts and the Edam product fed Saharchuk back door for a tap in. That made it 4-2 and Heinrich sealed the deal officially with an empty netter. Jake Erickson ended up with 2 points and played much more like the D-man we saw last year. After a bit of a slow start that was nice to see.

Connor Sych was back in the lineup tonight and looked solid. McKinlay built on his strong game against Yorkton and overall the defence for the Stars was excellent. Two goals that no goalie would have stopped and otherwise Spencer Tremblay made all the saves.

All in all a very nice road game from the Stars and a big 4 point swing through two tough places to win. Matt Saharchuk now has 7 points in 4 games. Brenden Heinrich has 3 points in his last two games. Nick Fountain was on the score sheet tonight. Havens chipped in with a nice assist and a couple defencemen were on the score sheet as well.

Next up the North Stars head to Kindersley on Saturday night for yet another matchup with the Klippers. They will go in to that game riding a two game winning streak. As will the Klippers who haven’t played since beating the Stars on Saturday. That game sets up really well and should be a barn burner.

SJHL Game #4 – Battlefords North Stars at Melville Millionaires

North Stars 2014-15 Record: 1-1-0-1

NorSask North Stars Hockey Broadcast Info:

  • 1050 CJNB in the Battlefords
  • 102.3 CJNS in Meadow Lake
  • Listen Live:
  • Ultra Print Pregame Show – 7:15
  • Puck drop – 7:30

Last game recap: – The North Stars picked up their first win of the season in dramatic fashion last night in Yorkton. Brendan Heinrich was involved in a couple of huge goals that couldn’t have been further apart. His shootout winner the difference after Reed Delainey had scored to keep the game going.

Heinrich also scored the first goal of the game almost straight from the opening face off. To be honest I was taking a picture on my phone and so I am not entirely sure how it happened. But I looked up and Heinrich was splitting the Terriers D. He then snapped a quick shot through the 5-hole on Dawson MacAuley to open the scoring after just 12 seconds.


The Stars were up 2-0 not long later. Jordan Townsend from the mid-slot was able to tip home a Brock Weston point shot. For Weston his first assist with the North Stars. Townsend got the puck as that was his first SJHL goal. Perhaps the goals were a shot in the arm for the North Stars as they dominated the rest of the opening period. Carrying on from where they were in the third period against Kindersley the North Stars were in control. But they weren’t able to build on their lead.

Baxter Kanter through the Sanberg Collision Collision of the game in the first period. In his first SJHL game Kanter looked somewhat similar to Ben Greenaway. Maybe a little faster but with the same runaway train type head of steam and the huge open ice collision.

The North Stars had a 5-on-3 power play in the second period but weren’t able to convert. And then strangely they didn’t have another power play the rest of the game. In the end the road team was 1-3 on the power play.

The Terriers got one back in the second period on a power play as Kurt Johnas scored his third of the year. The second was not a great period for the Stars.

The third though was another pretty strong effort. But it was the Terriers who scored the period’s only goal. Brandon Sookro with a deflection to beat Tremblay. A power play goal and a deflection was all that got past Tremblay as he was excellent. Deserved to pick up his first North Stars win after making 30 saves. He had to make a game saving save with around 30 seconds left in the third after the Stars got running around a little late.

In OT we saw a lot of Curtis McKinlay. In his first game of the season the young D man was outstanding and played more and more minutes as the game went on. Fantastic first outing and I am excited to see more from McKinlay. Then a blown call. Straight up a really bad call that I am sure the Ref would want back if he saw the tape. Ryne Keller in the box and the Terriers had a 4-on-3 to try and close out the game.

They had a lot of the puck and almost the full two minutes in the offensive zone but couldn’t beat Tremblay and a couple of timely shot blocks.

And then for the first time this season a shootout. Riley Hunt scored and Tremblay had to stop Johnas to save the game. The Terriers forward hit the bar. Then Delainey snapped a hard shot past MacAuley before Tremblay was able to stop Tyson Enzie. That set the stage for Heinrich who got some advice from the bench before sealing the game.

For the second straight season the North Stars first win of the season comes on the road in Yorkton.


  • Rematch: The game tonight is the first time the North Stars get a chance to face Melville since last season’s playoff encounter. A frustrating series in which the North Stars couldn’t get their offence on track against a clutch and grab Mills team. Melville has a lot of players back from that team and are off to a very good start this season at 3-0.
  • Fast start: The Millionaires are out of the gates with a 3-0 record and a similar style to last year based on the 8 goals for and 4 goals against. That means some low scoring and tight games already for Melville and coach Fiesel.
  • Good Wins: The North Stars are coming off a win over Yorkton on the road. Tough to do. The Mills are coming off a road win in Humboldt. Also tough to do. So both these teams are looking to build off of good wins although the Mills are building off of 3 straight good wins.
  • Bus: The Mills were in Humbodlt and had to bus back after the game. So that’s a little strange on the scheduling. Melville busing back from Humboldt and getting in a little later last night/this morning and the North Stars tucked up in bed before midnight. I don’t think it makes much of a difference. Both teams can freshen up as teams at this time of year are carrying a lot of players. And these are young men with lots of energy. I just found it interesting.
  • Power Play Streak: The North Stars have now scored a power play goal in two straight games after starting the season 0-15 on the man advantage. In fact the Stars are 2 for the last 4 on the power play and they’ve looked better and better. The PK is coming along as well. The special teams started slowly but it is a process learning the structures and getting the structures hammered down so they are second nature. That will come. The hard work is coming through right now and that’s good to see.

Other Notes:

  • Last night’s Canadian Tire 3 Stars – 3) Curtis McKinlay 2) Spencer Tremblay 1) Brenden Heinrich
  • Last night’s Sanberg Collision Collision of the Game: Kanter for a first period in the neutral zone.

Some Keys for the Stars:

1) Fight Through – The North Stars will have to fight through a tight checking Melville team tonight. The returning players will know what to expect. The Mills take great pride in their own zone. They control the slot or their “house” as well as anyone. So the Stars will have to work their tails off to get to those areas.

2) Vets – The returning guys should have great motivation for tonight’s game. Whenever a team eliminated you the year before you will be fired up to play them again. There will be some chirping going on as well I am sure. Which should motivate the boys to get work done tonight.

3) Keep Building: – The Stars have played to a pretty high level for the majority of the last 4 periods. That’s the level you have to play at to compete in the SJHL. It’s a big, tough, hard fought league where ice and scoring are at a premium. This team knows what it takes so now they just need to play to this level again and with more and more consistency.

North Stars Lineup:


Erickson – Sych
Statchuk – Vermeulen
McKinlay – Weston

Havens – Keller – Heinrich
Fountain – Townsend – Bond
Saharchuk – Delainey – O’Sullivan
Regan Yew – Kanter – Redding

Scratches: Robin Yew, Fransoo, Axtman, Nachtegaele, McMillen, Smith, Leonenko

SJHL Game #3: Battlefords North Stars at Yorkton Terriers

North Stars 2014-15 Record: 0-1-0-1

NorSask North Stars Hockey Broadcast Info:

  • 1050 CJNB in the Battlefords
  • 102.3 CJNS in Meadow Lake
  • Listen Live:
  • Ultra Print Pregame Show – 7:15
  • Puck drop – 7:30

Last game recap: – The North Stars lost in overtime in Kindersley. The recap is here:


  • National Champs: The Yorkton Terriers are the reigning National champions having won the RBC Cup a few months ago. Several of the players that helped to guide the team to that victory are gone. Names like Boehm, Norrish, McMullen, Thompson have moved on. But there are plenty of familiar names left and good ones too. This is going to be one of the top teams in the league once again. So it’s a great chance for the North Stars to test themselves against a top team early in the season.
  • Parallels: There are some parallels between this new season and last season. The North Stars lost a couple games against Kindersley early last year and went on the road to Yorkton looking for their first win of the season. That night the North Stars won 4-0 and got a shutout from Casey Parker. It didn’t spark their season the way I thought it might as they went on a 7 game losing streak not long after. Let’s hope for a win tonight in Yorkton but obviously not the losing streak that followed.
  • Overnight: This is also the first over night road trip for the North Stars this season. These trips are a great chance for a team to get to know each other. Especially a team with so few returning players. The team bonding that goes on during trips like this early in the year can be invaluable.
  • Bus legs: The North Stars play 7 of their first 9 games this season on the road. After tonight they have Melville tomorrow, Kindersley Saturday, La Ronge on Friday October 3rd, Nipawin and Flin Flon on the 10th and 11th of October all on the road. They did something similar last season. A tough early schedule that makes the team battle hardened, road tested and a tough matchup later in the season. (The North Stars ended up with 19 road wins last season and a 714 win percentage away from home and both those totals far and away were tops in the league)
  • Crowd: The North Stars played in front of a thousand people on Friday during their home opener and a little over 700 in Kindersley. The Terriers had 1,500 for their home opener. They were raising some banners of course as the RBC Cup champs. But they also averaged 1,100 fans for the two games between these two teams in Yorkton last season. They get good crowd support just like the North Stars and so there should be another big crowd on hand tonight. That’s something the Stars will have to try to use to their advantage as they embrace the challenge of quieting a big crowd.
  • Firsts: Early in the season there are always a lot of firsts. For new players who haven’t played in the SJHL before the bus ride, rink, teams etc are all new. The same is true for Taurean White as well. Yorkton and Melville are two nice rinks and it’s not a horrible bus ride. But it is all new to a lot of these guys and I am sure it’s exciting to get out and see more of the league than Kindersley.

Other Notes:

  • Last night’s Canadian Tire 3 Stars – 3) Robin Yew 2) Cody Young 1) Reed Delainey
  • Last night’s Sanberg Collision Collision of the Game: Robin Yew for a first period open ice hit on Sawicki
  • Schedule Quirk: By the time the North Stars play their next home game, against Kindersley of course, the Klippers will be playing their 4th game of the season. All against the Stars. The Stars will be playing game number 7 of the year. Interesting.
  • Home Team: The Terriers won 22 of their 28 home games last season. They were even better at Farrell Agencies Arena the year before. They lost 4 regulation time encounters during the 2013-14 season and one of them was against the North Stars.
  • Rematch: For Michael Statchuk this is a rematch of last season’s RBC Cup semifinal in which the Yorkton Terriers beat the Vernon Vipers on their way to the National title.

Some Keys for the Stars:

1) Build – The team should have a pretty good idea of what it is capable of after the second half of the game in Kindersley on Saturday night. They also know how hard they have to work and how many battles they have to win. Once the Stars started winning those battles, going to dirty areas and stopped playing on the perimeter they took over. So clearly they need to play that way and build on their 3rd period performance versus Kindersley.

2) Process – A season is always a process and a lot of learning has to take place. The North Stars are looking to start to lock in their structure in their own zone and tighten up after allowing 9 goals in 2 games. Usually no matter what happens early the North Stars end up being very tough to score on later in the season. That process will have it’s ups and downs but if the Stars can continue to get better in their own zone their offence will have even more chances to shine.

3) Not too much respect: – The Terriers are the league champs and RBC Cup champs. What does that mean tonight? Nothing. They are just a group of talented young hokey players with a great coaching staff. Same as the North Stars. Don’t show them too much respect. Get in there and mix it up with the Terriers.

North Stars Lineup:


Fransoo – McKinlay
Statchuk – Erickson
Robin Yew – Weston

Saharchuk – Delainey – O’Sullivan
Havens – Townsend – Bond
Heinrich – Keller – Regan Yew
Nachtegaele – Kanter – Fountain

Scratches: Smith, McMillen, Axtman, Redding, Vermeulen, Sych, Leonenko

North Stars comeback falls just short

The Battlefords North Stars were not very good in the first 30 minutes last night as they fell behind by 3 goals for the second straight game.

Kindersley opened the scoring when Graham Lanigan grabbed his first of the year on a power play. Later in the eriod 16 year old Kolby Johnson set up Kindersley’s second. Johnson was behind the net but found a reverse pass out front that allowed Derrick Morrell to score and make it 2-0. At the end of the first, with Matt Havens in the box, Regan Yew took a tripping penalty.

So the Stars started the second with just 3 skaters for 40 seconds. The Klippers scored on the power play when Owen LaClare set up Stephan Seel. The silver lining? Havens had made it back on the ice so the goal ended Regan Yew’s penalty and the game was back to 5 on 5.

A couple minutes later the Stars Connor Vermeulen dropped the gloves with Gage Joel. Joel landed a couple punches and then went for a take down. Vermeulen was able to get in a few punches before they were separated. On the same sequence Ryne Keller, Nick Fountain and the Klippers Shaw Watkins and Owen LaClare were all given penalties for some rough stuff. After those players returned the Stars started to get back in the game.

I spoke with Brendan Heinrich after the game and he felt like he had not played well. But I did think that line had a few good shifts in the second period. Grinding shifts. Where they controlled the ball along the wall and started winning some battles. To that point the Stars had played a perimeter game and hadn’t won any battles down low.

Slowly but surely the road team got back in the game and started to pump shots on the Kindersley net. By the end of the second the Stars had outshot the Klippers 17-4 and gotten back within 2. On a late second period penalty kill the Stars scored shot handed. Reed Delainey stole the puck and chipped out to neutral ice. Then Delainey used his speed and smarts to steal the puck from Shaun MacPherson and then fed Matt Saharchuk at the Klippers blue line. Saharchuk gave it right back to Delainey who was in alone from the top of the face off circles and then lifted the puck over Evan Weninger.

So 3-1 in the third and it was Delainey again. The North Stars had plenty of chances on the power play in the game and in the third period but they started the season zero for their first 14 chances on the man advantage. Delainey’s second of the game though broke that skid during a mid-third period power play. And with the net empty for the extra attacker Delainey’s point shot was deflected home by Matt Saharchuk to tie the game.

Saharchuk with a goal and an assist. Two goals and an assist for Delainey. But it was Spencer Tremblay’s outstanding save with seconds remaining that helped secure the Stars a point. Stephan Seel was left all alone and one on one with the keeper but Tremblay made the save and somehow the team in black cleared the puck.

Unfortunately the come back fell short as the Klippers Cody Young, who had a good weekend, scored the winner on a deflection a little over a minute into OT.

So the North Stars fall short as they tried to come back from three goals down but they did get a point, show great character and I think learned some very valuable lessons. They know what they have to do to compete and succeed in this league and they showed that when they do those things they are a very good team.

Next up the North Stars travel to Yorkton on Tuesday to face the Terriers.

Canadian Tire 3 Stars: 3) Robin Yew 2) Cody Young 1) Reed Delainey
Sanberg Collision Collision of the game: Robin Yew for his first period open ice hit on Sawicki

SJHL Game #2 – Battlefords North Stars at Kindersley Klippers

North Stars 2014-15 Record: 0-1-0-0

NorSask North Stars Hockey Broadcast Info:

  • 1050 CJNB in the Battlefords
  • 102.3 CJNS in Meadow Lake
  • Listen Live:
  • Ultra Print Pregame Show – 7:15
  • Puck drop – 7:30

Last game recap: – The North Stars lost last night at the Civic Center, 5-2 the final score.

After a number of pregame ceremonies including player introductions, a moment of silence for long term fan Lee Ballendine and the presentation of the Kramer Division Championship banner the North Stars came out flat.

I really liked that the Stars put Logan Nachtegaele out for the opening face off. He’s been a Stars fan his whole life and I know how much he has wanted to play for the North Stars. To achieve that and start the home opener was a cool moment as well. Ryne Keller is the captain of this team and the alternates are Jake McMillen, Michael Statchuk and Nick Fountain.

The only goal of the first period was scored by Owen LaClare on a power play. Playing his first game with Kindersley, LaClare ended up the game’s first star. His opening goal came after a shot hit the cross bar. The rebound went right to LaClare and he fired into an empty net as Spencer Tremblay was unable to scramble across.


The Klippers got two more in the second. The first came just 17 seconds into the period on a shot that beat Tremblay over the glove. It was a quick snap shot from Marc Dubeau. Then LaClare scored his second on a 5 on 3 power play. On the door step LaClare was found by Shaun MacPherson and again LaClare found the net before Trembley could get across. Not much he could have done about either goal.

Later in the period Reed Delainey used speed up the wing to gain the zone, Robin Yew took over and drove wide before finding a pass out front to Brady O’Sullivan. His re-direct found the back of the net to make it 3-1 going to the third.

In the final period LaClare scored again to make it a three goal lead again. Matt Havens and O’Sullivan teamed up later in the period to get the puck to Matt Saharchuk and he fired a beautiful shot past Evan Weninger in the Kinderlsey net. That made it 4-2 but was as close as the Stars would get.

The Klippers got an empty netter to wrap up the scoring.


  • Home Opener: The Klippers came to the Civic Center last night and spoiled the party winning in the North Stars home opener. So it’s only fair that the North Stars make it their mission to do the same tonight and spoil the Klippers home opener.
  • Special Teams: It’s early in the season and WAY too soon for any real concern or panic. None the less the North Stars power play struggled last night going 0-8. A lot of new players and playing for the Stars for the first time with nerves and maybe some guys trying to do too much all added up to a struggle last night on special teams. The Stars have the players to be a very good special teams team and I expect them to bounce back tonight.
  • Jitters: There were some players who seemed to be nervous and maybe some trying to do too much. There are no excuses for this team but let’s hope that is out of their system. There could be some players tonight who are playing in their first game as a North Star and they will have to avoid the same fate.
  • Road Warriors: The North Stars had the SJHL’s best road record last season. Last season they won on the road to close out the regular season and clinch the Kramer Division title. That was against the Kindersley Klippers. They won the final game of the season at the West Central Events Center.
  • Bounce Back: The Stars in the past under Kevin Hasselberg have been very good coming off of a loss. Although early last season they went on a long losing streak that was uncharacteristic of what we usually see from this team. They will be looking to avoid starting the season 0-2 for the second straight year.

Other Notes:

  • Last night’s Canadian Tire 3 Stars – 3) Evan Weninger 2) Brady O’sullivan 1) Owen LaClare
  • Last night’s Sanberg Collision Collision of the Game: Michael Statchuk’s hit on Connor Garden
  • Injuries: The North Stars are without Igor Leonenko who is out indefinitely. Baxter Kanter And Jake McMillen are day to day.

Some Keys for the Stars:

1) Puck movement – The North Stars are a team with a lot of speed and skill but at times last night they weren’t able to use that speed to their advantage. That’s in part because they didn’t use the puck well. Passes weren’t on the tape. The Stars can used their speed only if they move the puck as quickly and effectively.

2) Physicality – Matt Havens separated his man from the puck and it led to a goal. Even small guys can throw big hits and play big. The Stars are a wanting to be a fast and skilled team but they also still want to hit. And they have the guys to do it. Plus sometimes guys with great speed can hit harder than big guys who can’t skate. So use those strengths and the Stars could see success.

3) Vets: – The guys who have been here before. Guys who have letters on their jerseys. Guys with a lot of Junior A experience. They must show the way for the young guys tonight. A win on the road in the SJHL is not easy to get. So the road needs to be lit by guys with experience.

North Stars Lineup:


Statchuk – Vermeulen
Erickson – Sych
Robin Yew – Fransoo

Fountain – Keller – Heinrich
Saharchuk – Townsend – Axtman
Havens – Delainey – O’Sullivan
Regan Yew – Redding – Nachtegaele

Scratches: Bond, Smith, McMillen, Leonenko Kanter, McKinlay, Weston

Kramer Division Banner Presentation

Not the best angle from up in the booth but here is a video I took of SJHL president Bill Chow presenting former captain Kyle Schmidt and current captain Ryne Keller with the Kramer Division Championship Banner. I will have more on tonight’s game in tomorrow’s blog post. For now enjoy this:

SJHL Game #1 – Home Opener – Battlefords North Stars host Kindersley

North Stars 2014 Record: 35-17-0-3 – Kramer Division Champs

NorSask North Stars Hockey Broadcast Info:

  • 1050 CJNB in the Battlefords
  • 102.3 CJNS in Meadow Lake
  • Listen Live:
  • Ultra Print Pregame Show – 7:15
  • Puck drop – 7:30

Last game recap: – This is game 1 of the season. The last time the North Stars played? A loss to Melville way back in Early April. That ended a pretty remarkable season that will live long in the memory of North Stars fans. A 4-12 start all the way back to division winners.


  • Kramer Division Champs: The North Stars will raise a division championship banner to the rafters of the Civic Center prior to the game. The Stars turn around last season was incredible. The way the team came together to over come a really terrible start and pulled off that weekend sweep of Kindersley to clinch the title? Amazing. Truly an amazing season and one I will never forget. That banner will forever remind me of some of the most fun games, interesting players, intense fans and topsy turvy games that I have ever been lucky enough to be a part of. For the returning players I am sure it will provide for even more memories. And for the new players it sets a high bar that they can look to leap over.
  • Turnover: Gone are graduating players Dillon Forbes, Tanner Quinn, Michael Gudmandson, Kyle Schmidt, Cam Blair, Blake Young, Taylor Reich and Ben Greenaway. Not returning this season is Jack Petrino. There were also trades.
    Trades: Braeden Lacoursiere to Flin Flon to complete Cam Blair trade

    • Latrell Charleson to Lloydminster for Brock Weston
    • Luke McColgan to Chilliwack for Spencer Tremblay
    • Darren Martin to Langley for future
    • Adam Smith acquired for futures
    • Matthew Saharchuk acquired from Vernon as future for Betinol
    • Michael Statchuk acquired from Vernon for futures
    • Connor Vermeulen acquired from Dauphin for futures
  • Roster Makeup: The North Stars head into the season with 10 returning players. There are 5 that were picked up in trades. There are 8 recruits including a couple from Alberta and several from the USA. And a couple of players up from the AAA league including from the Battlefords Stars and Saskatoon Contacts. In total there are 18 players with some Junior A experience and 16 of those with significant time at this level. There are 8-10 local players depending on how broad you are with that definition.
  • New Look Staff: Blair Atcheynum is still with the team but in a reduced role as more of a special assistant. Taurean White has come in as the new assistant coach and assistant GM to the boss Kevin Hasselberg. Michelle Beatty has moved on as athletic therapist and has been replaced by trainer Sean Marcellus. The staff was incredibly energetic during preseason and that hasn’t ebbed at all as the season has approached. Travis Harrington is back as the goalie coach as well. That’s a great staff that these players are lucky to get to work with.
  • New Style: This is not going to be the same style of team that North Stars fans may be used to from the last 3 years of Coach Hasselberg’s tenure. Perhaps a little less size and grit and more speed and skill. The defense especially is a unit that will push the tempo, move the puck and force mistakes. There may also be some growing pains as an adjustment period takes place. But I think fans are going to have a lot of fun this season watching the North Stars.
  • Preseason: The North Stars, for the second year in a row, looked very good in preseason. They won the rookie game in Kindersley and then split a home and home with Kindersley before taking two straight from Humboldt. The wins and losses don’t matter in the standings and that part of the season is a distant memory now that the real games have arrived. But it’s always nice to go into a season with a good feeling and confidence.
  • Road Warriors: The North Stars had the SJHL’s best road record last season. Last season they won on the road to close out the regular season and clinch the Kramer Division title. That was against the Kindersley Klippers. Kindersley took the Rivalry Cup last season on the strength of a lot of early season wins.
  • Rivals: Took a while to get to it because it’s game one of the season. But this is a huge rivalry. One of the best in the entire league. The games between these two teams are fast, intense, sometimes over the edge and always so much fun. The North Stars and Klippers. That would be a big game all on it’s own. You add in the other facets of tonight’s game and it’s a recipe for a barn burner.
  • New Uniforms: The North Stars are sporting new home and away uniforms this season with the Stars logo on the front. They still have the LA Kings style black third jerseys as well. Those thirds are my favourite and I think the best in the league. These new uniforms look great as well though and no matter what happens this season the North Stars will look good all year.

Other Notes:

  • Moment of Silence: There will be one tonight for long time North Stars superfan Lee Ballendine. He passed away over the summer and is a big loss for the community. A fan of all local teams including the North Stars and AAA Stars Lee was always supportive, positive, outgoing and excited to be at the rink. A real role model and more than a fan. He will be missed.
  • Off Ice Officials: Tyler and Cheri. They’ve been down in the penalty box keeping time and score, as well as order, most nights that I have been at the Civic Center. But they have and are moving on. Both will be missed as they were excellent at their jobs. There may be some growing pains at times as Cheri turns the reigns over to a new generation.
  • New Rules: There are a few new rules in the league this season. The big one is the one fight rule. You fight and your night is over. The impact that has remains to be seen. And how the referees apply the new rules will be interesting as well.
  • Ag Project: The North Stars were able to harvest their crop Tuesday along Territorial Drive. The Stars would like to thank all those local businesses involved with provided the seed, chemical and fertilizer, elevator space, the labour hours, equipment provided and everyone else involved with the annual Growing with the Stars project.

Some Keys for the Stars:

1) Discipline – No brainer here. It was a key every time these two teams met last season. The Klippers were able to get under the Stars skin in the game played early last season. Once the Stars were able to overcome that and settle into their game later in the year they were able to win. It helped that later in the year the Stars were rolling and playing well of course. But a huge difference in those games was discipline.

2) Momentum – Last season the North Stars had an incredible preseason and then got off to that really slow start. Again this year the Stars were looking good in preseason. Now that the games matter nothing should really change. Instead of playing to make the team they are playing to stay on the team. And even though the games now have meaning the way the Stars played shouldn’t change. Fast, loose, intense, uptempo and fun are all words to describe the preseason hockey the North Stars demonstrated. No need to change that now.

3) Emotions: – There will be plenty of them tonight at the Civic Center. Control them, feed off of them, and use them as motivation. This is the home opener and it’s a big deal. But it’s also just another game. Find that perfect balance to intensity and looseness.

North Stars Lineup:


Erickson – Fransoo
Statchuk – Vermeulen
Robin Yew – Weston

Regan Yew – Keller – Heinrich
Nachtegaele – Redding – Smith
Haven – Delainey – O’Sullivan
Saharchuk – Bond – Fountain

Scratched: McKinlay, Sych, Axtman, Townsend, McMillan, Kanter, Leonenko

Player Links

Here is the North Stars roster. Click on their names to go their elite hockey prospects page for more information and stats.

9 – Matt Saharchuk
10 – Rusty Axtman
11 – Nick Fountain
12 – Logan Nachtegaele
14 – Jackson Bond
15 – Adam Smith
17 – Regan Yew
18 – Brenden Heinrich
19 – Ryne Keller
20 – Reid Delainey
21 – Kurtis Redding
22 – Jordan Townsend
23 – Brady O’Sullivan
24 – Jake McMillen
25 – Igor Leonenko
27 – Baxter Kanter
29 – Matthew Havens

2 – Curtis McKinlay
3 – Connor Sych
4 – Michael Statchuk
5 – Brock Weston
6 – Kendall Fransoo
7 – Robin Yew
8 – Connor Vermeulen
16 – Jake Erickson

1 – Spencer Tremblay
35 – Ryan Rewerts

Kick Off Breaktfast

The North Stars hosted their kick off breakfast this morning at the Civic Center.

The new staff members and the new look team were introduced to fans and sponsors. The Stars are carrying a few more players than I was expecting and assistant coach and GM Taurean White said that they have a very good group of players and look to have put together a very good team. They are going to be patient and make sure they have the right mix of players. So there are 27 players currently on the roaster.

There are a couple of interesting notes here. First of all this is a team with a real nice mix of size, speed and skill. The D is a very talented looking group with 8 guys who can really play. Spencer Trambley and Ryan Rewerts were both excellent in goal in the preseason. And up front the Stars have a lot of depth.

This year’s team is also very “local”. Robin and Regan Yew have been playing hockey in this community for a number of years. Connor Vermeulen has family in the area and his uncle played for the Stars. Rewerts, Keller, Weston and Delainey are from the surrounding areas. Sych, Fransoo, Nachtegaele are all from North Battleford.

There are only 10 returning players on the team but in total 16 who played Junior A last season. 18 have at least some Junior A experience. And there are 8 American players. The new import rules mean that all Canadian players are not imports and all out of country players are counted as imports. Even is they have played in the league before. I believe 6 imports are allowed in a team’s lineup. So there will be a battle to get on the ice with the depth this team has and because of those rules.

All in all based on what I saw in the preseason there are no real surprises here. This looks to me like a team that, at least on paper so far, can be very strong.

# Player Position Shoots Height Weight DOB Home town 2013-14 Regular Season
9 Matthew Saharchuk LW L 6’2″ 200 May 7, 1995 Fort St. James , BC Game by Game report
10 Rusty Axtman RW R 6’0″ 180 Maplewood , USA Game by Game report
11 Nick Fountain LW L 6’1 190 Jun 17, 1994 Wainwright, AB Battlefords North Stars Game by Game report
12 Logan Nachtegaele LW L 6’0″ 190 Nov 21, 1996 North Battleford, SK Game by Game report
14 Jackson Bond C R 5’6″ 145 Apr 13, 1996 Roseville, USA Game by Game report
15 Adam Smith RW R 6’2″ 220 Jul 15, 1994 Nanaimo, BC Game by Game report
17 Regan Yew LW L 6’1 195 Nov 8, 1995 Ile-a la-Crosse, SK Battlefords North Stars Game by Game report
18 Brenden Heinrich RW R 6’0 180 Dec 3, 1994 Kimberley, BC Battlefords North Stars Game by Game report
19 Ryne Keller C R 5’9 165 Oct 25, 1994 Wilkie , SK Battlefords North Stars Game by Game report
20 Reed Delainey C R 6’1 165 Jul 23, 1996 Edam, SK Battlefords North Stars Game by Game report
21 Kurtis Redding C R 5’10” 155 Mar 25, 1995 Spokane , USA Game by Game report
22 Jordan Townsend LW L 5’11” 175 Jan 27, 1995 Cedar Hills , USA Game by Game report
23 Brady O’Sullivan RW R 5’10 165 Oakdale , USA Game by Game report
24 Jake McMillen C L 6’0 150 Sep 19, 1995 Carievale, SK Battlefords North Stars Game by Game report
25 Igor Leonenko RW L 6’4 230 Feb 8, 1995 Santa Cruz , USA Battlefords North Stars Game by Game report
27 Baxter Kanter C L 6’2″ 195 Jul 20, 1995 Lincoln , USA Game by Game report
29 Matthew Havens LW L 5’7″ 155 St. Albert , AB Game by Game report
# Player Position Shoots Height Weight DOB Home town 2013-14 Regular Season
2 Curtis McKinlay D L 5’9″ 150 Apr 15, 1996 Provost , AB Game by Game report
3 Connor Sych D R 6’4 190 Jan 22, 1997 North Battleford , SK Game by Game report
4 Michael Statchuk D L 5’11 200 Apr 4, 1994 Wadena , SK Game by Game report
5 Brock Weston D R 6’0″ 195 Mar 19, 1995 Maidstone, SK Game by Game report
6 Kendall Fransoo D L 6’1 175 Jun 1, 1996 North Battleford, SK Battlefords North Stars Game by Game report
7 Robin Yew D L 6’0 175 Nov 8, 1995 Ile-a la-Crosse, SK Battlefords North Stars Game by Game report
8 Connor Vermeulen D R 6’2″ 195 Jun 15, 1996 Medicine Hat , AB Game by Game report
16 Jake Erickson D L 5’9 175 Nov 3, 1994 Grant , USA Battlefords North Stars Game by Game report
# Player Position Catches Height Weight DOB Home town 2013-14 Regular Season
1 Spencer Tremblay G L 6’2 185 Sep 24, 1994 Winnipeg, MB Game by Game report
35 Ryan Rewerts G L 6’2 190 Jan 30, 1996 Cutknife, SK Battlefords North Stars