Monday, August 31, 2009

Stars Rookies Shine against Kindersley.

The Battlefords North Stars are 1-0 on the preseason.

A lineup full of rookies defeated an older Kindersley roster 7-4 in front of 466 fans at the Civic Center.

The game did not start well for the Stars. They looked timid, slow and overwhelmed for the first ten minutes. Sean Flanigan (91), Pearce Gourley (92) and Tanner Kissick (93) scored quickly for Kindersley and they had a comfortable 3-0 lead.

The Stars would score twice before the first frame came to an end. Jordan Dymytryshyn (93) and Justin Lund (94) would capitalize, and the score was 3-2 after 20 minutes. The Stars were outshot 12-6.

The second period was a much better period for the Stars. They went back and forth with the Klipps, and seemed to find some confidence. Mitch Gartner (92) would tie the score at three, and then the Stars took a 4-3 lead when Chad Tichkowsky (92) scored a very nice goal.

The third period also belonged to the home team as Nick Wourms (93), Kolten Baptiste (92) and Jared Samborski (93) chipped in with goals. Kindersley would counter with a gino from Cody Thiel(93).

The highlight of the third period came at around the 10 minute mark when Jordan Dymytryshyn dropped the gloves with former Battlefords Midget AAA forward Jordan Hoffman. Hoffman had the height and age in his favor, but Dymytryshyn held his own, took his punches, and delivered several nice shots. The fight lasted about two minutes, and the crowd at the Civic Center was dilligent in applauding the two combatants.

After the game, Stars coach Ken Pearson applauded the effort of his team. He admitted that things got off to a slow start, but great goaltending, and physical defence allowed his team to get the edge on the competition.

"I really liked the way our young guys held their own. Once they got their feet moving they played really well," said Pearson after the game.

I watched the game with my fellow broadcast partners Matt Ryan and Cody Nickolet.

Cody wanted me to make mention of D Colton Smith (94) and D Kolten Baptiste (92). Both were very dependable in their own end, and both seemed to have the ability to either slow the game down or speed the game up.

My favourite players on offence were: Mitch Gartner, Jared Samborski and Justin Lund.

I was also pleased to see that the veterans decided to attend the game, it's great to see the older players showing their morale support to the youngsters. I know it's early, but I'm getting a really good vibe about the upcoming season.


Up next for the Stars, a home game on Thursday night with the Humboldt Broncos. I'm certain that you'll see a more veteran lineup that night. I'm already counting the days.

Thanks for reading, feel free to leave your comments! I'm trying my damndest to make this blog consistent and fun for it's readers.


- Dano

Sports Fix Tonight / Rookie Game Preview!

Good evening!

I've been excited all day, and I know you have too! The exhibition season begins tonight, and the actual battle for spots begins. The coaching staff has already announced that tonight's roster will be an extremely young one, so those of you reading from the USA expecting to see Josh Daley's name on the lineup may be a little dissapointed, but don't let that stop you from reading!

I'll post a full game recap later this evening after the game. Stars Assistant Coach Blair Atcheynum said earlier this morning that, "We're really happy with a lot of these younger kids, and they should do really well tonight. Kindersley's lineup is going to be older, but that shouldn't affect things too much."

I hope he's right.


As for tonight's talk show:

Battlefords North Stars forward Blake Peake will be a first-time guest. He's already turned a lot of heads at camp, and tonight Peaker and I will chat in depth about last year, and about what the team expects from itself this season.

I'm also going to speak with Kindersley Klipper's head coach and GM Larry Wintoneak.

Larry is one of the best in the biz. His name carrys swagger wherever it's mentioned, and you won't be dissapointed with our interview together.

For all of you out-of-towners that are reading the blog. Make sure you catch the show online tonight. It starts at 10:00 ET, 8:00 CST. Click here to catch the show.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

North Stars Black and White Game Recap...

Today was a bittersweet day!

The Annual Battlefords North Stars Black and White game was a tremendous success. Team White (coached by Trent Cey) defeated Team Black (coached by me) 10-9 in Overtime.

I'm not going to make excuses, and I will own up to my end of the bargain and give Trent his case of Coors Light, but I think the fans in the audience knew who coached their team better! I'm kdding.

The fan support was excellent too! The obvation that the players received at the end of the game was outstanding. I'm so pleased at the turnout, and I hope they keep it up.

I was really pleased with the overall tempo and effort put forth by the players in the game. Both teams had their share of studs, and I feel it neccessary to name names.

Team Black:

Josh Daley scored three goals, and probably could have scored two more.

Blake Peake showed a tremendous amount of confidence, and scored a beautiful goal.

Newcomers Ward Suzcki, Devon Spiess and Ben Morgan all contributed nicely.

Ryan Toporowski won a ton of faceoffs.

And defensively the efforts of Jesse Lebreton and Dusty Iron certainly did not go unnoticed.

And I must commend Captain Mitch Wall for his spirited fight with Tony Oak.

Team White:

Colton Graf scored the last three goals for Team White, and was easily their best offensive threat.

Blake Tatchell and Alex Leclerc were effective everytime they took to the ice, and Ryan Anderson showed off his speed, and some neat offensive ability with a great goal in the second period.

Skyler Dunser and Boyd Wakelin did a lot of good things at both ends of the ice, and Troy Watt was his usual pesky shot-blocking self.

I gotta give big ups to Tony Oak for his tilt with Wallsy.

Defensively Brody Malek and Coleman Brodbin worked well together.


Now the younger players will need to get rested up for the first pre-season game of the new campaign. The Kindersley Klippers are in town tomorrow night at 7:30.

See you at the rink!

Thanks for reading.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Early Thoughts on Training Camp - Day 1

Man it felt good to be at the rink! There was an unmistakable buzz in the air as the players, coaches, trainers and yes, even broadcasters arrived at the Civic Center for the dawning of the 09-10 Training Camp for the Battlefords North Stars.

First, before we get too far into things. Here are the two veteran lists of players that are currently participating at camp. Bear in mind, that several players from last year are excluded, because they are currently attending WHL camps:

TEAM 5 - Black

G - Coleman Young (91)
G - Brennan Smith (92)
D - Coleman Brodbin (89)
D - Zach Wourms (91)
D - Brody Malek (89)
D - Andrew Peeaychew (92)
D - Dillon Forbes (93)
F - Alex Leclerc (89)
F - Skyler Dunser (91)
F - Colton Graf (90)
F - Blake Peake (89)
F - Mitch Wall (89)
F - Troy Watt (89)
F - Matt Brown (92)
F - Jeremy Smith (91)
F - Tanner Schwab (91)
F - Derek Hoium (92)
F - Drew Tkatchuk (92)
F - Brett Penner (92)
F - Nathan Tomac (91)

TEAM 6 - White

G - Spencer Laycock (91)
G - Patrick Johnson (93)
D - Brandon Ambros (93)
D - Jesse Lebreton (89)
D - Dusty Iron (91)
D - Devon Spiess (91)
D - Logan Gloeden (90)
F - Boyd Wakelin (91)
F - Ryan Anderson (90)
F - Matt Luster (90)
F - Michael Pylypow (90)
F - Ward Szucki (90)
F - Ryan Toporowski (89)
F - Josh Daley (90)
F - Tony Oak (90)
F - Mitchell Gartner (92)
F - Blake Tatchell (91)
F - Chad Tichkowsky (92)
F - Tanner Sobkowicz (92)
F - Ben Morgan (91)


I guess I can start with naming the players that really impressed me during Day 1.

For the BLACK team I really have to hand it to the vets:

Coleman Brodbin seemed to be skating better than last year. Blake Peake showed some tremendous speed, and puck control, and Brody Malek, Troy Watt, Alex Leclerc, Mitch Wall and Colton Graf definitely did not dissapoint. As far as the nubies are concerned, I liked what I saw from Tanner Schwab. Defenceman Zach Wourms clearly has a ton of height, and now it's just a question of whether he can use it effectively or not.

As for the younger WHITE team, I was particularly impressed with a few of the rooks:

Josh Daley never eemed to miss a shot. Devon Spiess showed the exact poise that coach Ken Pearson raved about, and Blake Tatchell seemed so comfortable out there. Cody Nickolet, Matt Ryan and I also agreed that Forward Ben Morgan (Midget AA, Calgary last season) showed a lot of talent.

As for the veterans, all of them seemed to lead by example, and I couldn't find any real fault with anybody.


Tomorrow will be a great day, as scrimmages will really give the coaches a better idea of what to expect.

The first pre-season game is only three days away!

But don't forget that the Annual Black and White game is taking place at 2:00 on Sunday afternoon at the Civic Center.

Trent Cey is coaching one team, I'm coaching the other. We've got a case of the "good stuff" riding on the game, and I'm looking forward to a tough coaching battle!

See you at the rink.

Thanks for reading.

- Dano

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Training Camp Weekend Schedule

Friday August 28th


11:00-1:00 Civic Centre

1:00-1:45- Practice Team 1 (93 & 94)

2:00-2:45- Practice Team 2 (93 & 94)

3:00-3:45-Practice Team 3 (93 & 94)

4:00-4:45-Practice Team 4 (93 & 94)

5:00-5:45-Practice Team 5 (89-92)

6:00-6:45-Practice Team 6 (89-92)

7:00-8:15- Team 1 vs Team 2

8:30-9:45- Team 3 vs 4

Saturday August 29th

9:00-10:15- Team 5 vs Team 6

10:45-12:00- Team 2 vs 4

12:15-1:30- Team 1 vs 3

2:00-3:15- Team 5 vs 6

3:45-5:00- Team 2 vs 3

5:30-7:00 Team 1 vs Team 4

Camp will then be reduced to 4 Teams- 2 (93&94) that will play Sunday and 2 (89-92) that will play in the Black and White game.

Sunday August 30th

10:00 (93 & 94) Prospects All Star Game

2:00 Black and White Intra Squad Game

Rosters will then be reduced for Rookie game vs Kindersley Monday August 31 in North Battleford.

Monday, August 24, 2009

A few Player Updates, etc.

What's up!

I hope you all enjoyed your weekend, and I hope you are all starting to get antsy for hockey season to begin. I got a text message from North Star's Equipment Manager Dale Jackson today saying, "FOUR DAYS BABY!" It's definitely countdown time, and I don't think I'm alone when I say that I'm fired up for North Star's training camp to begin.

Whenever somebody on the street asks me "What's new?" I always seem to respond with the same thing: "I've got _________ days left of freedom, and then it's down to business with hockey."

Even though North Star's camp has yet to begin, there are several players from last season making headlines at WHL camps.


Here's an exert from Jon Keen's Blog. Jon Keen does the play-by-play for the Swift Current Broncos, and he has an update on Dane Meunch and what he has been able to accomplish at camp so far:

A nice surprise at camp is 17 year-old forward Dane Muench. He was the rookie of the year runner-up in the SJHL last season and has showed some great hands and instincts at camp.

The Broncos took Muench in the 4th round of the 2007 bantam draft. He dropped into the 4th because of his notions to play Junior "A" and go the college route.

Hampered by a wisdom teeth extraction which led to some complications, Muench was off the ice for a month leading up to training camp.

He thinks Swift Current is the place he needs to be at this point.

"It just seems like the best opportunity for me right now. It's a really good league and I have a pretty good chance to do some damage here in Swift. We'll see what happens."

He thinks the veteran forwards look solid.

"The top six forwards look really strong. Tassone may not be ready 'til November but guys like Dowling, Eakin and the others should put up some big offensive numbers."

As for Swift Current, he's enjoying the experience.

"I like it. The community seems really behind the team, it's a nice barn here, a nice new dressing room... I'm just trying to get used to everything."

So there you have it. One of the Battlefords North Star's biggest question marks heading into 09/10 may have just been answered. A lot of fans were looking forward to seeing Dane in a North Star uniform again this year, but it seems as if the Swift Current Broncos are pleased with what they've seen so far.

I'm not going to count any chickens before they hatch, but one thing that I think North Star fans need to grasp, and grasp quickly is the fact that if Dane stays in Swift Current, it's only a positive! Sure the Stars lose 24 goals, and their most dynamic goal scorer, but it also means that we've done a great job in developing talent, and putting Dane in a better situation.

Who knows?!? Maybe we see Dane in the Black and Gray come September 18th, but regardless of the outcome, it's great to see Dane finding success, and I personally wish him all of the best moving forward.


The Regina Pats recently made some cuts from their training camp, and one of notable names that was on the Cut-List was 19-year-old forward Colton Graf.

Graf only missed one game for the Stars last year, and was the club's second leading scorer with 33 points. If I know Graf like I think I do, I'm sure that he's going to be looking to make a real statement this season in the SJ. Ever since he arrived in the Battlefords in December of 07, it seems as if he's carried a ton of expectations on his shoulder to perform.

He'll be the first to tell you that he expects a lot from himself, and showed flashes of brilliance last year, and became one of the most dependable players for the team in the playoffs. His numbers may not have told the whole tale, but Graf may have been the best defensive forward on the team during the postseason.

I think Graf could score 60-70 points in this league if he plays with the right guys, and if he's able to really put his head down and play to his strengths. Regina's loss will once again be our gain. I'm looking forward to seeing Grafer at North Star's camp.


There are other members of the club that are currently trying out with WHL teams. If I forget any players, let me know, but if my facts are correct I can tell you:

Kyle Birch is trying out with Medicine Hat.

Brett Miller is back in Red Deer.

Woody Klaussen is skating with the Saskatoon Blades.

Jordan Lane is up North in Prince George.

Graham Hilldebrand is also at a Western Hockey League camp, and I want to say it's Prince George, but I'm not entirely certain. Anybody able to clarify?

Is Tony Oak in Red Deer too? Probably.


The Annual Black and White game will be taking place on Sunday, August 30th at 2:00 pm at the Civic Center and once again I will be one of the head coaches. This year, I'll be defending my winning streak against my newspaper adversary Trent Cey!

As long as Jesse Lebreton can score me another OT goal, I'll be set! I'm looking forward to seeing y'al at the rink.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Trades and some More SPORTS FIX news!

The Battlefords North Stars trade 1991 D Jon Dalton (Warman SK) to the Estevan Bruins for 1991 F Nathan Tomac (Moose Jaw SK).

Last year with Estevan, Tomac had 4 goals and 9 assists along with 31 PIM in 50 games as a 17 year old, he will be in North Battleford next Thursday as the North Stars open training camp on Friday August 28th.

Tomac will obviously bring more size to the club. He was largely used as a fourth liner last year in Estevan, and was likely added for depth purposes.

Realistically Dalton didn't have much of a chance to make the North Stars this season given their depth on defence. In speaking to Estevan coach Kerry Biette earlier this summer, Biette had mentioned that his team needed to get bigger on the blue line, and they certainly accomplished that with the addition of Dalton.

Overall, it's hard to find fault with this move


The Flin Flon Bombers have announced two players have committed to the team for the 2009-10 season.

1991 F Andrew Johnston (Saskatoon SK) comes to the club from the Saskatoon Contacts of the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League. Johnston ended 2008-09 like a house on fire as he led the loop in scoring with 15-goals and 10-assists in just 10-playoff games. That followed a regular season in which Johnston had 13-goals and 26-assists in 43-games.

1991 G Klynt Spencer (Lethbridge AB) backstopped the Y’s Men from the Alberta Midget AAA Hockey League to a 14-2-and-4 record. He had a tidy 2.40-GAA and .906-SPCT. His goals against average ranked third overall in the league.


August 17/09
Nipawin Hawks trade 1991 D Koltyn Miller (Redvers SK) to the Dauphin Kings of the MJHL for 1989 F Brad Biggers and 1990 F Curtis Brolund (Brandon MB).

August 17/09
Nipawin Hawks acquire 1990 F Taylor Epp (Moose Jaw SK) from the Weeks Crushers of the MarJHL for future considerations.

Taylor Epp started last season with the Stars, and actually performed quite well in the early going. Epp often found himself as the 12th or 13th forward on the Stars, and should see a heightened role playing in Nipawin.


You're going to want to tune into the Co-Op Leisure Time Sports Fix on Monday night for my interview with the CFL Commissioner Mark Cohon.

I don't want to spoil anything, but all I'll say is that Cohon was a total class act, and I am greatly looking forward to his next appearance on the show.

Catch the interview on Monday night, at 8:00 on CJNB/CJNS.


Training camp is only 8 more days away. Life is good!

Monday, August 17, 2009

An interesting Day at the Office.

So if you caught the CO-OP Leisure Time Sports Fix tonight, you'll have noticed that things worked a little differently.

I did interview Troy Watt, but his interview will run next week. He was busy for most of the morning and afternoon, so I improvised, and grabbed an interview with Midget AAA Stars governor Bruce Yockey instead. We had some technical problems, so Bruce ended up having to do two interviews with me. Thanks Bruce, it means more to me than you know. The interview itself was awesome, and I'll be replaying a ton of it during my sports updates tomorrow morning.

I also had the chance to interview New York Islanders forward Blake Comeau. I've got to hand it to him. He's definitely my favourite current NHLer that I've had on the program yet. Okay, maybe it's a toss up between him and Wade Belak, but he certainly held nothing back, and it's no wonder why he is held in high regard within the organization.

Big news for next Monday as well: I've just confirmed with the CFL that the Commissioner Mark Cohon will be on the program. What type of questions should I ask the commish?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Sports Fix, The Civic Center, Midget AAA News..

This weather is brutal. My heart goes out to all of those slowpitchers out their who had their weekend plans fizzled thanks to Mother Nature. This weekend though has been a good one for me, because it's allowed me to relax a little bit.

I'm watching the PGA Championship right now, and Y.E. Yang just chipped in for EAGLE on the 15th, and he now leads Tiger Woods by a stroke. Will he be only the second player ever, to come back and beat Tiger after he's led after three at a major?


The next two editions of the Co-Op Leisure Time Sports Fix are going to be excellent. For those that don't know about the show, it runs at 8:00 CST every Monday night in CJNB/CJNS (

Tomorrow night's show already has two confirmed guests.

North Stars forward Troy Watt will be on the program. He'll be helping out at the North Stars Annual Hockey School taking place this week at the Civic Center this week, and he's committed to taking some time to come onto the program.

Our other confirmed guest is Baseball Canada's CEO Jim Baba. I met Baba last night at the Saskatchewan Baseball Hall of Fame dinner, and he did not dissapoint. He'll be a fantastic guest.

Now I don't want to jinx it, but there's also a great chance that an NHLer will be on the program. A few hints:

- He's played for Canada at the World Juniors.
- He was born in Meadow Lake, SK.
- He'll be in Saskatoon for training camp.

Tune in tomorrow night to find out whether we locked him down.


Have you seen the Battlefords Civic Center after it's renovations? It looks tremendous. Fresh paint, tall glass, no netting, and a new staircase for the broadcast booth! You won't be dissapointed.


The Battlefords Midget AAA Stars are holding their training camp this weekend at the Civic Center, and after today the roster will be dwindled down by the new coaching staff.

It'll be an interesting season for the AAA's. Last year they badly under achieved, and this year they've already confessed that it will be another rebuilding effort. Maybe this team responds well without any pressure or expectations.

New coach Martin Smith, a long with Derek Scmidt and Wes Dust are certainly going to have their hands full, especially given the outright skill of the Midget AAA league in Saskatchewan. But do yourself a favor and get out to support this team. They've got a great rapport with the Jr. A North Stars, and you'd be amazed at what some real fan support can do for the confidence of young players.


I've gotten a lot of great feedback on this blog so far, and I'm genuinely grateful to all of you who have taken the time to read and follow it. I realize that I've still got some work to do in order to make this blog better and more consistent, but rest assured I'll get there.

Enjoy the Riders/Cats. I'm thinking Saskatchewan by 10 points.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Canada Cup Ball, SJHL, and other Sports Takes..

Good afternoon!

Those who read my last blog are aware of the fact that I've been covering the Canada Baseball Cup in Kindersley, and I've had the pleasure of calling two of Saskatchewan's night games.

Saskatchewan finished the round-robin with a 3-2 record, and as I type this, they are trailing Manitoba 4-0 in a placement game.

Earlier today, BC defeated Alberta 2-1 and will be facing either Ontario or Quebec in the championship tonight at 7:30. You'll be able to catch tonight's championship later this week on Access Communications.

Calling baseball has been a ton of fun this week.

The first game I called was the 10-9 win for Saskatchewan over PEI on Thursday night. Saskatchewan trailed 9-1 in the bottom of the 4th inning, and yet somehow managed to rally back to win the game.

Friday night, Saskatchewan faced Alberta and lost 3-1. They faced a pitcher named Alex Regan who absolutely dominated the game. He threw a complete game two-hitter, and received almost all of his offensive help from second-baseman Jimmy Ralph. Ralph stole six bases, and scored two of the three Alberta runs. I should also mentioned that he drove in the other.

I've been very impressed with Jamie Flanagan and the entire crew in Kindersley who have hosted this event. Everybody I've spoken too about the event has had nothing but good things to say, and Kindersley certainly has proven itself as one of Saskatchewan's finest baseball communities. I hope tonight's championship game goes well. It'd be great to see a close game.


For those of you who are interested in seeing the complete SJHL Preseason Schedule, you can do so right here.

The Battlefords North Stars are playing six preseason games. Two against Nipawin, Kindersley and Humboldt respectively.


I was very saddened to read yesterday about Texas Ranger's outfielder Josh Hamilton and his relapse with alcohol.

For those who aren't aware of Josh Hamilton or his story, you can read it here.

To make a very long story short: Josh Hamilton was drafted first overall in 1999 by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. He was a five-tool outfielder that reminded many of Ken Griffey Jr. During Hamilton's first year in the minors he fell into a deep and dark addiction to alcohol and drugs, and was one more positive drug test away from being banned from baseball for life.

I recently read Hamilton's book called "Beyond Belief" and since I read it, I've followed his career and his statistics very closely. Heck, I'd even go so far as saying that Josh Hamilton was one of my favourite ball players.

We all make mistakes, and Hamilton certainly showed plenty of remorse during a recent press conference, but I guess I'm bummed because I thought that he was through this type of thing for good.


This story is just plain funny to me. Really wierd, but still funny. I'm still bitter at the Chicago Blackhawks for eliminating the Canucks, and so reading today that Patrick Kane and his cousin assaulted and robbed a taxi driver because of 20 cents only adds to an incredibly awkward offseason for the Hawks.

Read the whole story here.


Only a few more weeks until hockey season! Time to get stoked!