Saturday, February 27, 2010

Stars Board of Directors to Host A 'Game Four Party' in the Hot Stove Lounge.

Fans of the North Stars have the unique opportunity to watch Game Four of the Bauer Conference Semi-Final Series between the Battlefords North Stars and Melfort Mustangs on live television.

According to the SJHL website, the SJHL Game of the Week will be called from Melfort on Friday, March 12 at 7:30, and the game will be carried live on the Internet.

The Board of Directors plans to wire the feed from the Internet to the Big-Screen TV in the HOT-STOVE Lounge, and will provide fans with the opportunity to gather together and watch the game while enjoying beverages and (possibly) some food from the HOT-STOVE Lounge.

"We just wanted to give fans the opportunity to support the team when they're on the road," said North Star's President Ray Adellman. "The bar will be open and drinks will be served, and if we get a good turnout, food is also an option that we're looking into."

A reminder to fans that playoff tickets are being sold at the Civic Center souvenir booth on Wednesday night (March 3) from 7-9 PM, and tickets can also be purchased through Kara Rosen at Scott Campbell Dodge's Service Department.

You're support for the Stars down the stretch is appreciated greatly.

Friday, March 12
Battlefords at Melfort, 7:30pm
SJHL Game Of The Week LIVE on the internet and rebroadcast on Access 7 the following Thursday and Saturday.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

February 23 Photos (Ring Presentation and Game)

*** All Photos By Julie Larson ***

Congratulations to our eight graduating North Stars.

Grant Fahnhorst

Brody Malek

Chad Filteau

Mitch Wall

Troy Watt

Blake Peake

Jesse Lebreton

Coleman Brodbin


Onto the game itself:

Josh Daley Worms His Way Through the Defence.

Neufeld Buries His 14th.

Birch Makes the Save!

Reflections of a (Regular) Season.

Expectations were high for the Battlefords North Stars when they started training-camp in late August 2009. Five months prior, the Stars had experienced some playoff success and made a statement to the rest of the league suggesting, "Our rebuild is over."


Some of the main questions heading into training camp were as follows:

- Who was going to score goals for this team?

- Would last year's MVP Dane Muench be back, or would he start the season in the WHL?

- What about Kyle Birch, Dominic Perrault, Woody Klassen, Jordan Lane, and Brett Miller who were also attending WHL camps?

The answers to those questions would begin to reveal themselves almost from the get-go of camp.

Newcomers Josh Daley, Ward Szucki and Blake Tatchell showed early on that they would provide offensive depth to the club. Good thing too, because Dane Muench signed with the WHL's Swift Current Broncos on September 1.

The Stars enjoyed a solid exhibition season, finishing with a record of 6-1.

Pre-season highlights included:

- The departure of Alex Leclerc (Nipawin), Colton Graf (Dauphin), Dusty Iron (Nipawin), and Skyler Dunser (Nipawin) out and in return the Stars acquired defenceman Cody Folstad (Nipawin), forward Shay Neufeld (From Camrose) and the rights to defenceman Koltyn Miller (Dauphin).

- Solid offensive contributions from the likes of: Blake Peake, Josh Daley, Ward Szucki, Blake Tatchell.

- Back-to-back preseason shutouts from Graham Hildebrand against Nipawin and Humboldt.

Right as the preseason was winding down, the Stars found out that Kyle Birch would be returning from Medicine Hat and a 6'7 bruising forward named Jordan Lane would be joining their team after failing to make the Prince George Cougars of the WHL.

The Stars had shown in the preseason that they could score goals, and goaltending was not going to be an issue with both Hildebrand and Birch back in the fold. Defensively the Stars were 'thin' when the regular season started, but that would soon change when Coleman Brodbin and Brody Malek finished their suspensions.


After a promising pre-season, the Stars got off to a rather mediocre start to the regular season. They fell in Kindersley 5-3 before beating them the next night 9-5 at home.

The Stars would beat La Ronge at home before falling to both Yorkton and Melville down south. The Stars climbed back to .500 with an impressive 5-4 victory in Humboldt on September 30th. It was the first time the Stars had won a regular season game at the Elgar Petersen arena since 2006-2007.

The Humboldt game also marked the return of defencemen Woody Klassen (Saskatoon Blades) and Dominic Perrault (Regina Pats) and forward Brett Miller (Everett Silvertips) had returned two games earlier in Melville.

September Play of the Month: Ryan Andersen.


The Battlefords North Stars made an early season statement in October. They had a record of 8-2-1-0 and went the entire month without losing at home.

The line of Blake Peake, Josh Daley and Shay Neufeld seemed to be scoring at will, while Brett Miller, Mitch Wall and Ryan Andersen were prooving to be just as reliable offensively.

Early in October, the Melville Millionaires came back to the Civic Center for a re-match with the Stars, and after building up a 4-0 lead, the Stars found themselves tied 5-5.

A year ago, the Stars would have folded and found a way to lose. But not this season. The Stars weathered the storm, and earned a 9-5 victory.

Other October highlights included:

- Three consecutive shootout victories at home (Oct. 16, 23, and 24) with Brett Miller scoring the winner in all three.

- A win in Weyburn on October 8th on a night where the first five inductees were enshrined into the SJHL Hall of Fame. The Stars scored three times in the first 6:57 of that game, and Kyle Birch was rock-solid.

- Brett Miller establishing himself as one of the premier power-forwards in the league.

- The Star's acquiring Kory Kimpinski and Kyle Hamm from Nipawin, only to ship them off to the MJHL days later for future considerations.

- Dane Muench returns to the Battlefords on October 30th after a stint with the Swift Current Broncos.

October Player of the Month: Brett Miller


November started with two close road losses (La Ronge and Nipawin), a home-win against Kindersley and a 5-2 home-ice loss to the Melfort Mustangs. The loss to Melfort haulted a lengthy nine-game winning streak at home for the Stars.

Attitudes got worse after another road loss in Nipawin. Trips to Tim Horton's in the morning would often feel like a post-game press conference for yours truely.


Fan: Dan, is everything okay with the Stars?

Dan: Yes. They're just fine.

Fan: But, (insert criticism of power-play, defenceman, forward, coaching decision here....)

Dan: Trust me, They'll be just fine.


How did the Star's respond? How about an O-T victory against Bob Beatty's La Ronge Ice Wolves on November 13th. Tony Oak's first goal of the season was the Overtime winner, and in the process, the Star's got some of their hunger back.

The next night, the Stars looked outsanding in a 5-2 victory in Melfort.

The real highlight of November though was the Strike Energy SJHL Showcase tournament which took place November 26 - 28th in North Battleford.

After a frustrating 2-1 loss to Humboldt on the 27th, the Stars and Klippers provided fans with a 'classic' on the 28th.

After jumping out to a 3-0 lead, the Klippers came back and made it 3-3. Blake Peake and Andrew Dommett trade goals, and it's 4-4. Neufeld makes it 5-4 for the Stars, then Kevin Clark ties it short-handed. Brett Miller makes it 6-5 in a brilliant give-and-go with Blake Peake, but Andrew Dommett scores his fourth of the game to tie the game at six. Taylor Duzan hits the goal-post in the final minute, otherwise Kindersley wins the game in regulation.

Earlier in the game, Ryan Andersen was benched by Ken Pearson. It wasn't out of angst, but more for tutorial purposes. How does 'Andy' respond? He scores the overtime winner by following up a Mitch Wall breakaway and knocks home the rebound.

November Player of the Month: Blake Peake


December 1st yielded some changes.

Leading scorer Brett Miller signed with the Chilliwack Bruins of the WHL and the Stars subsequently went out and acquired forward David Lawrence from the Dauphin Kings for future considerations.

December 5th in Melville the Stars won 7-3, but the win came with a steep price, as forward Mitch Wall left the game with a broken jaw after a fight with Tyler Howe.

Two nights later, the Stars beat Humboldt 5-4 in a shootout, and were bracing themselves for two games against Flin Flon at the Civic Center.

Heading into the December 8th matchup, the Stars trailed the Bombers by just two points for first in the Bauer Conference. The Bombers beat the Stars 1-0 in a shootout.

Four days later the Stars lost in another shootout. This time it was a 3-2 setback courtesy of the Weyburn Red Wings.

The Stars split their final two games of the season and ended the month of December eight points back of first-place Flin Flon in the Bauer Conference.

December Highlights:

- A come from behind 'shootout' victory on December 6th in Humboldt.

- Dane Muench scoring the OT winner against Nipawin on December 13th.

- Graham Hildebrand was named Goaltender of the Month after posting super-human numbers. Unfortunately he didn't any offensive help.

- Stars acquire Grant Fahnhorst on December 17th.

December Player of the Month: Graham Hildebrand.


January was turn-around month of sorts for the Stars. Some of their most impressive victories came in January, and in my opinion it was during this month that the Stars officially became a contender for a league championship.

2010 started with a 3-1 loss in Kindersley, and things weren't neccessarily looking too bright as the Stars headed North for their first match-up with the Flin Flon Bombers. However once the puck dropped, the Stars had full control. Blake Peake had a three-point night, and the Stars won 4-2 at the Whitney Forum.

That win became the first of six straight victories for the Stars. They handled Estevan, Yorkton, Melfort and La Ronge at home, and then went on the road and beat the Ice Wolves again 5-4. The winning streak came to an end on January 24th in Air Ronge, but the Stars regrouped and won their next three games at home.

The Stars went 9-2 in January and drew themselves back to within striking distance of the Flin Flon Bombers.

January 9th saw the North Star's land one of the biggest available names at the trade-deadline in Chad Filteau.

Two days later, forward David Lawrence announced that he was leaving the team for personal reasons.

January Highlights Included:

- Acquiring Chad Filteau from the Estevan Bruins in exchange for Justin Waskewitch, Ryan Andersen, The rights to Koltyn Miller and future considerations.

- A dramatic come from behind victory at home against La Ronge on January 16th. Shay Neufeld scores the winner in the sixth round of the shootout.

- Mitch Wall returns from injury.

- A 7-1 win at home against the Melfort Mustangs. Blake Peake had three goals, and an assist.

- Jesse Lebreton named SJHL Defenceman of the Month for January after achieving 12 points in 11 games.

January Player of the Month: Jesse Lebreton


It was in early February that the Stars achieved their greatest feat during the regular season - Three wins, in three nights down south.

In the past three years, the Stars had only won once in Weyburn (Oct. 8 2009) and no times in either Estevan or Wilcox. Friday the 5th, the Stars clumsily defeated Estevan 7-5. In all honesty, they probably should have lost the game, but somehow they snuck out a win.

The next night, the Stars came back from a 2-0 defecit to defeat Weyburn 4-2 and then wrapped up their road trip with another comeback victory against the Notre Dame Hounds.

The bus-ride home that night was unforgettable. Watching Dale Jackson singing Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" was the icing on the cake!

The Stars stumbled three days later when they dropped an 8-7 shootout decision to the Melfort Mustangs. Though they lost, the Stars did climb their way back from a 6-1 defecit to earn a single point.

The next weekend was a humbling one, as the Stars dropped two consecutive decisions to the Flin Flon Bombers at the Whitney Forum. The Friday game on Feb. 12th was close, but the game on the 13th was a little more one-sided.

However it's strange how the most awkward circumstances can help unite a team together. After the game on the 13th, the Star players got into an altercation with Flin Flon Bomber fans. The ensuing altercation would prompt a five-game suspension for Tony Oak, yet I feel as if the entire team left Flin Flon a little more inspired and a lot more united.

The Stars clinched second place in the Bauer Conference on February 17th after a 3-1 victory over the Melville Millionaires. That same night, the Melfort Mustangs fell to the Notre Dame Hounds allowing the Stars to clinch home ice advantage in round one of the playoffs.

The Stars won two of their three remaining games, and finished the regular season with a great record of 35-19-1-3.

February Highlights Included:

- Brett Miller's OT winner in Wilcox on February 7th.

- Aubrey. The best bussy we've had all season. He'll be our driver for the playoffs I'm told.

- The return of Troy Watt and Dane Muench to the lineup after injuries kept them out for periods of time.

- Ward Szucki's first SJHL Hat-Trick on February 21st against Kindersley.

February Player of the Month: Undecided.


If you are still reading this, I commend you. I started writing that piece at 11:30 pm last night, and just wrapped it up at 10:15 AM this morning (I did get some sleep). I wanted to be thorough, and I wanted to do my best to depict the regular season for what it was - A booming, resounding success.

The past 58 games have yielded some incredible highs, and some humbling lows, but here we are on the verge of the playoffs, and North Star Nation is as strong as it's ever been.

After Tuesday's win over Humboldt, Ken Pearson told his team, "We have just played 58 exhibition games, and now the real season begins."

I hope I'm not the only one with chills right now as I recite those words in my head. I've never found myself more attached to an organization, and never before have I craved victory the way that I do now.

For Mitch Wall, Jesse Lebreton, Coleman Brodbin, Brody Malek, Grant Fahnhorst, Troy Watt, Blake Peake and Chad Filteau - This is their last shot and it goes without saying that those eight won't be backing down from any of the upcoming challenges that await them in the post-season.

The North Stars have come too far, and have grown too much together for the season to end in mid-March.

Congratulations to Ken Pearson, Blair Atcheynum, the remaining North Star's staff and Board of Directors - You have officially produced a winner in the Battlefords again. Why stop here?

Fans have the chance to reclaim the title of 'Best fans in the SJHL.' You're loyalty, and loudness are going to be tested again and again once the playoffs start, and I know that every single one of us in North Star Nation will be able to rise to the occasion and do our part to ensure that we raise a banner into the rafters of the Civic Center.

Game one is March 6th. We'll see you at the rink.

Dan O'Connor (Voice of the North Stars)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

North Star's Award Winners - 2010. (Photos and Write-Up Still in Progress.)

Wednesday night at the North Battleford Civic Center, the North Star's Award Winners were announced. It was a truely special night for the likes of Troy Watt, Coleman Brodbin and Blake Peake, who cleaned up during the awards:

Players Choice Award (Most Inspirational) - Troy Watt

Humanitarian Award - Brody Malek

Most Gentlemanly Player - Shay Neufeld

Most Dedicated Player - Coleman Brodbin

Top Scorer Award - Chad Filteau/Blake Peake

Most Valuable Defenceman - Jesse Lebreton

Bertha Hill Trophy (Most Popular Player) - Troy Watt

Most Improved Player - Graham Hildebrand

Most Underrated Player - Blake Peake

Mr. Hustle - Troy Watt

Plus/Minus Award - Blake Peake

Alvin Gessner Memorial Rookie of the Year Award - Blake Tatchell

Northwest Hockey Development Association Scholarship for $2500 - Coleman Brodbin

North Star's MVP - Blake Peake


I will have photos posted for all of these awards within 24 hours. A big thanks to Dawn Cardell for taking photos tonight while I helped announce the awards.

All-in-all a terrific evening, and the overall consensus of the night was that, "Hopefully this isn't the last awards banquet and celebration for the club."

More details to come.


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Stars Prevail 4-2 over the Humboldt Broncos.

A 4-2 win for the North Stars in front of a solid crowd at the North Battleford Civic Center.

The Stars end their season with an impressive record of 35-19-1-3 and earned 74 points overall in the standings.

The Stars got goals tonight from Blake Peake (29), Woody Klassen (11), Shay Neufeld (14) and Blake Tatchell (10) and Kyle Birch grabbed his 24th win of the season with a fine performance.

Tomorrow night the North Stars are holding their awards banquet and will now have a lengthy break before their playoff begins with Melfort on March 6th.

More tomorrow, and thanks for your great support throughout the season. The best is yet to come.


Stars - Broncos Preview.

Predictions usually make a fool out of most people, but tonight I'm going to go 'out on a limb' and predict something.

Canada is going to beat Germany in Men's Olympic hockey. If you agree with me, take a quick look around you. Make sure nobody's looking, and raise your hand in front of your computer screen, and give me a quick nod.

Now that we have that out of the way, and now that we know that Canada is going to win tonight - You have no excuse to NOT be at the Civic Center for tonight's regular season finale between the Stars and Broncos.

The North Star's are the most improved team in the SJHL, and have already won 19 more games this season than they did last year. These men deserve your support and applause as they wrap up their regular season tonight.

Add the fact that the Humboldt Broncos are in town, and this gives fans one last chance in the regular season to see this rivalry rekindled.

Lets get to the preview before I receonsider posting a prediction on the blog:

Record: 24-25-1-7 (Fifth place in the Bauer Conference. They're facing La Ronge in the Bauer Conference Survivor Series starting Friday in La Ronge.)

Who's Up Front:

If Humboldt dresses a full lineup they'll be very difficult to defend. The trio of Justin Buzzeo, Spencer Braaten and Cameron Gibson have been very consistent for Dean Brockman's team this year. Buzzeo leads the way with 53 points and could challenge the likes of Josh Thorimbert and Marc-Andre Carre for rookie of the year honors.

Who's on D:

Kyle Cowan is the main offensive weapon for Humboldt on the backend. He leads the team in defensive-scoring with 21 points. Cowan has an underrated supporting cast around him. Josh Roach will be a great defenceman in this league before too long, and Kenton Valliant and Colten Allan are both gamers who can log some key minutes for the 'Broncs.

Who's in Goal:

Call it a hunch, but I doubt we see Andrew Bodnarchuk in goal for Humboldt tonight. Kirk Croswell's numbers are nothing to scoff at either. He's 5-7-1 with a GAA of 3.07 and a save percentage of .907. Bodnarchuk will be relied upon to perhaps steal series for Humboldt when they face La Ronge, and Dean Brockman may want to give him a break before the playoffs. If not, the Stars are in tough because Andrew Bodnarchuk has ALWAYS had their number.


I've never seen Kirk Belyk play, but in speaking with friends of mine from the AJHL, the kid has a good skill-set. His numbers are underwhelming since coming to the SJHL on January 10 (six points) but the Star's cannot afford to take anybody lightly, as the defending champs will never quit on anybody.

Record: 34-19-1-3 (Second place in the SJHL's Bauer Conference. They'll face Melfort in the Bauer Conference Semi-Final which starts March 6th.)

Who's Up Front:

Dane Muench returns to the North Star's lineup tonight and hopefully can make in impact. Muench's numbers are impressive given how few games he's played this season (28 points in 30 games) and he'll no doubt be relied upon for help fill the net for the Stars come the post-season.

Who's on D:

Woody Klassen and Jesse Lebreton are dead-even in points with 35 points. Will one of them leap-frog the other?

Who's In Goal:

Does it really matter? Either way we're golden.


One more goal from Ward Szucki and he's got 20 on the season. I'd expect a gutsy effort from his line with Blake Tatchell and either Muench/Wakelin.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Stars - Mustangs Playoff Dates

The dates for the Stars/Mustangs Bauer Conference Semi-Final have been announced.

Game 1 Saturday, March 6th Melfort @ Battlefords
Game 2 Monday, March 8th Battlefords @ Melfort
Game 3 Wednesday, March 10th Melfort @ Battlefords
Game 4 Friday, March 12th Battlefords @ Melfort

***If neccessary***

Game 5 Sunday March 14th Melfort @ Battlefords
Game 6 Monday Mar 15th Battlefords @ Melfort
Game 7 Wednesday Mar 17th Melfort @ Battlefords

All games will start at 7:30 PM

Fishing Derby Recap..(With Photos)

*** For more photos, go the North Star's website, and click the PHOTO icon on the list on the left. All of the photos were taken by me.***

The 14th Annual Jackfish Lake Ice Fishing Derby was a tremendous success.

The weather was stellar, and so was the event's attendance. Over 2300 North Star supporters showed up to fish, and some fantastic prizes were handed out.

Danny Trulong of Saskatoon caught the biggest fish which weighed in at 5.15 pounds. He went home with a gorgeous boat courtesy of Princecraft. (PRINCECRAFT Pro 164SS with 75 HP Mercury 4 Stroke Motor & Trailer)

Mike Bertness of the Battlefords took home 2nd prize, and Dale Cholowsky won third.
Both took home boats and trailers courtesy of Princecraft.

The Battlefords North Star players did an outstanding job with 50/50 sales. The 50/50 jackpot ended up being around $7300.

***Josh Daley and Grant Fahnhorst were dressed appropriately.***

All proceeds from the event go directly back to the North Star's organization. The Battlefords North Stars would like to recognize each and every participant and sponsor in the 14th Annual Jackfish Lake Ice Fishing Derby. People came from all over to take part in the Derby, and you're financial contributions towards the North Star's organization is very much appreciated.

As for our sponsors, the Stars would once again like to thank each of them for their contributions.

2010 Jackffish Lake Ice Fishing Derby Sponsors

• Silvester R.V. Centre •
• Princecraft • Fountain Tire •
• Norsask Farm Equipment •
• Battleford Furniture •
• L7 Electric Inc. • TNM Concrete Ltd. •
• Cockburn Construction Ltd. •
• Porta Bella Restaurant •
• Battlefords Bait & Tackle •
• Battlefords Co-op • Proline Sports •
• Napa Auto Parts • J. J. Lamon Inc. •
• Fishin’ Hole - Saskatoon •
• Factory Sports - Lloydminster •
• Phoenix Source for Sports •
• Able Septic Service •
• Sky-Tech Equipment Rentals •
• Gold Eagle Lodge •
• Big Way Store - Cochin •
• Battlefords Wildlife Federation •
• Northlands Rentals •
• Over The Edge Yard Care Services •
• Kramer Auction Sales Ltd. •
• Magnet Signs • K & B Construction •
• Sad Sack’s Welding & Machine Ltd. •
• Fishing Saskatchewan •

Strike Energy were also involved by supplying a crane.

Finally, a special thanks to North Star's board member Darren Huxley and his team for coordinating the derby and allowing everybody to have such a great time.

We'll see you next year.

Some more photos are posted below:

Dale, Me and Ken Pearson.

Not quite a Winner.

Photo Note: I had what I thought was a great photo from above the lake of the entire crowd, but the camera I was using had auto-focus, and all three attempts were too blurry to use. I'm really bummed out, because unfortunately the photo above is the 'next best thing' to capturing how vast the crowd actually was. I apologize for the let-down.

Darren Huxley and Danny Trulong (Grand Prize Winner).

Sports Fix Tonight..

Tonight's edition of the Co-Op Leisure Time Sports Fix is designed to get North Star fans excited for the upcoming post-season. My first guest on the show tonight is North Star's goaltender Graham Hildebrand.

Hildebrand has won eight of his last nine games and is having a breakout season as an 18-year-old goalie with the North Stars.

My second guest tonight will be the Head Coach and the Director of Hockey Operations for the Melfort Mustangs, Darrell Mann. Mann and I will tee up the first round series between the North Stars and Mustangs. This is an interview that you definitely will not want to miss.

Up third tonight, is former North Star Brett Harrison. Harrison is now teaching in Maidstone and is playing for the Maidstone Jets of the NSRHL. Harrison led the league in scoring for a second straight year, and his team is set to duke it out with the Paradise Hill Hawks in round two of the playoffs.

Catch the show tonight at 8 on CJNB/CJNS and on

Szucki Lifts Stars Over Klippers.

North Star fans got a fantastic glimpse of the team's future last night.

The Battlefords North Stars defeated the Kindersley Klippers 6-3 on the
strength of three goals from rookie forward Ward Szucki.

Szucki scored the first three goals of the game and has now notched 19 goals this season.

After the game, Assistant coach Blair Atcheynum commended the line of
Szucki, Tatchell and Waklin and said that they, "Set the tone for our forward lines early in the game. They're keeping it simple and are
getting rewarded for it."

The Star also received goals from Chad Filteau, Woody Klassen and Brett Miller.

The Stars led 2-0 mid-way through the hockey game before Kindersley made a game of it.

Klipper defenceman/forward Riley Down scored his first goal in the SJHL at 13:19 of the second period to draw Kindersley within one. Then in the final seconds of the second, Taylor Duzan stole the puck away from the North Star's defence and finessed the puck home with just one second left in the frame to tie the game at two.

Roughly eight minutes into the third period, Szucki's third of the game gave the Stars another lead. The Klippers countered with a goal from
Jordan Hoffman at 12:12 and the game was tied yet again.

Chad Filteau (23) responded 24 seconds later for the Stars on a gorgeous back-hand deke, and the Stars were solid from then on.

Woody Klassen (10) tallied one minute later, and Brett Miller (23) put the game out of reach at 17:50 of the third period.

A scary moment for the Stars late in the third, as goaltender Graham Hildebrand left the game with a charlie-horse in his right leg.
Initially it looked scary, but after the game Hildebrand said he's fine and likely won't miss anytime.

Injury aside, Hildebrand earned his sixth win in his last eight games.

The Stars have one more game remaining in their regular season, and it goes tomorrow nght against the defending champion Humboldt Broncos.

The puck drops at 7:30, and you'll want to be a part of the festivities,
because the Scott Campbell Dodge 'Shoot To Win' Competition is now set
for $2000 and it WILL be given away. Come to a Stars game and have a chance at 2000 dollars. It's just that simple.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Stars - Klippers Preview (And then some..)

First off, what a great time yesterday at the 14th Annual Jackfish Lake Ice Fishing Derby. Darren Huxley and his team did a 'bang up' job at putting everything together and making things run smoothly. The weather was fantastic, and over 170 fish were caught overall, the heaviest of which was 5.15 pounds.

I didn't fish but I did manage to snap some great photos. The photos will be posted ot the blog and website no later than tomorrow.

The North Star players did a great job, and represented the team with dignity and class. The 50/50 jackpot was $7300 and that is due to the hard-work of the players who sold every last ticket available.

Great job fellas.


We have now officially learned that the Battlefords North Stars and Melfort Mustangs will square off in the Division Semi-Final starting either March 5th or 6th. The Mustangs clinched third place with a victory over Nipawin last night.

The North playoff picture looks like this:

Bauer Survivor Series (Best-Of-Five):

Humboldt Broncos (5th) vs. La Ronge Ice Wolves (4th)

- The winner of the Survivor Series will face Flin Flon in a best-of-seven series.

Down South, we know that Yorkton will be facing Melville in the Survivor Series, and Kindersley will face Notre Dame in one of the division semi-finals.

Weyburn awaits the winner of the Yorkton - Melville series.

All-in-all some pretty intriguing matchups. I hope to make it to Humboldt for one of the Wolves - Broncos games. Bob Beatty coaching against his former team, lots of ex-Broncos now play for La Ronge, it has the makings of a brilliant series in my opinion.

As for the Stars and Mustangs - I have no doubt that we're in for some exciting hockey in early March. The Stars regular season record against Melfort this season was 2-2-1-1.


With Canada facing the USA in Olympic Round-Robin hockey tonight, the attendance at the Civic Center tonight 'could' see somewhat of a dip. I truely hope this isn't the case.

Don't get me wrong, I would LOVE to watch Canada face the USA. But I know for a fact that the game is being replayed later on in the evening, and will likely be on again tomorrow in the afternoon.

What I'm trying to say is: Come watch the North Stars, and catch the Canada/USA game later. It's not like it's for the Gold Medal or anything. Yet.


All of that being said, lets get to the preview of tonight's game.

Record: 31-20-3-3 (Third place in the Sherwood Conference.)

Who's Up Front:

Kindersley's depth may have won them the game on Friday in Eston. They got goals from three different lines, and played a gritty, solid game. Andrew Dommett once again remains the biggest threat. He leads the Klippers with 36 goals, and always seems to 'bring it' when he plays in North Battleford. The last time he was here (November 28th) he scored four goals in a 7-6 OT loss.

Who's On D:

Jordan Braid, that's who! With Tabin, Ahl and Leedahl sidelined with injuries on Friday, Jordan Braid was thrust into duty on the blueline and was outstanding. Matt Ryan pointed out during the broadcast that Braid ls ALWAYS an offensive threat, it doesn't matter if he plays forward or defence. In my three years of covering this league, Jordan Braid sticks out as one of the 'best' that I've seen.

Who's in Goal:

Josh Thorimbert was fantastic for Kindersley on Friday against the Stars. His angles were solid, and he made point-blank saves on Daley, Filteau, Wall and Neufeld in a 10 minute section of play in the second period. He was the first star in my mind Friday. Will he be able to bring that same swagger to the Civic Center tonight? I guess time will tell.

EDIT: Scott Hellyer is apparently getting the start for the 'Klips tonight.


Andrew Dommett gets a lot of attention and a lot of recognition for the type of season he's having and rightfully so. But his two linemates John Calkins and Braedon Adamyk have been just as good. Calkins has 50 points and Adamyk has 47. If the Stars want to win tonight's game, it is imperative that they do their best to neturalize Adamyk, Calkins and Dommett.

Record: 33-19-1-3

Who's Up Front:

Ken Pearson made a change to his lines on Friday night when he flipped Blake Peake and Mitch Wall. Peake ended up playing with Chad Filteau and Brett Miller while Wall skated with Josh Daley and Shay Neufeld. Both combinations seemed to work well, and Ken Pearson hinted that maybe he tries that combination again tonight. Filteau and Peake seemed to compliment each other really well, and both are gunning for the team lead in scoring. With two games remaining, they are tied with 62 points each.

Who's on D:

Defensively the Stars are healthy and raring to go. Jesse Lebreton and Woody Klassen have a bit of a 'point-battle' going on. Lebreton has registered 34 points this year while Klassen has 33. Perhaps these next two games will help dictate who will win 'Defenceman of the Year' for the North Stars.

Who's in Goal:

If Ken sticks with his rotation than it's Graham Hildebrand's turn. With each passing game it seems like Graham Hildebrand is gaining more of a following in North Star Nation. That being said, it's never a 'gimme' when it comes to guessing goaltenders.

EDIT: It's Hildy.


The crowd. If this team gets some good attendance tonight, and fans can momentarily by-pass a round-robin Olympic hockey game, I'm sure the team would be grateful and it would help get them 'fired up' for a batttle with the Klippers.

Tonight we're on the radio and on TV. I'll be calling the SJHL's Game of the Week with Cody Nickolet tonight and I'm really excited to do it. Enjoy the game tonight.


Saturday, February 20, 2010

Stars Fall Just Short in Eston

Last night in Eston, the Battlefords North Stars fell 4-3 to the Kindersley Klippers on the strength of some great goaltending from Josh
Thorimbert, and some timely Klipper offence in the second period.

The game was tied 1-1 after one, and after ten scoreless minutes of the
second, the Klippers started clicking.

Andrew Dommett (36) made it 2-1, and then Braedon Adamyk and Beau Taylor
chipped in with goals to make it 4-1.

Early in the third, the Stars killed off a 5-3 man-advantage and used
that momentum to their advantage. Boyd Wakelin (7) made it a 3-2 game after following up a Blake Tatchell shot, and then Blake Peake inched the Stars within one at 5:15 of the third.

Unfortunately the Stars weren't able to grab the equalizer as Josh Thorimbert returned to 'early game' form.

The Stars finished the game with 31 shots, and 1-6 on the man-advantage.

The Stars get another crack at the Klippers Sunday night at the N.B. Civic Center.

Only two games remain for the team, and both are at home. Do these boys
a favor and show your support before it really starts to matter most!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Oak Suspensded For Five Games.

After a day or two of speculation, it officially came down today.

North Star's forward Tony Oak(90) has been suspended five games effective February, 17th due to innappropriate conduct after a game in Flin Flon on February 13th.

Oak's suspension will carry over into the playoffs, where he will miss Game One of the Star's first-round series.

Stars - Klippers Preview (From a Blackberry)

The next three games are going to be very interesting from a North Star's perspective. Aside from pride and stats, the team doesn't have anything 'tangible' to play for down the stretch, and I'm curious to know which North Star's team shows up tonight. Do we see a hungry, inspired team who wants to improve upon their habits and compete at the highest level? Or do we see a team who's simply going through the motions and trying not to get hurt?

I for one will be very dissapointed if tonight's game is a 'stinker.' The Stars have played too well, and have come too far in their improvement to let the next three games slip away. It's key to head into the post-season on a high note, and I'm certain that the coaching staff will be harping on this during the morning skate today.

Thankfully, the three remaining games happen to feature opponents who I would consider to be the Star's two greatest rivals. The Kindersley Klippers can force a tie for second place in the Sherwood Conference with a win against the Stars tonight, and no doubt the Stars would like to do some 'spoiling.'


Record:  30-20-3-3 (66 points. Two points back of Notre Dame for second place in the Sherwood Conference.)

Who's Up Front:

The Kindersley Klippers have outstanding depth, and boast two lines that are equally as dangerous. Not only do the Stars have to concern themselves with stopping the likes of Jordan Braid, Taylor Duzan and Sanfred King/Jordan Hoffman, but the line of Braedon Adamyk, John Calkins and Andrew Dommett is fantastic. Dommett in particular has been brilliant against the Stars. Who could forget his four-goal effort on November 28th at the SJHL Showcase? In speaking with Kyle Birch yesterday, he confessed that he may be one of the toughest shooters to face in the entire league.

Who's on D:

Steven Turner leads the way defensively for the Klippers with 31 points in 55 games. He's reliable at both ends, and is a key cog in the Klipper's power-play. Kurt Leedahl, Jonothan Sonntag and Sean Flanagan are also quality players who can make an impact if given the opportunity. Offensively though, the two biggest threats in my opinion are Turner and Flanagan.

Who's in Goal:

In a game of such importance, it is almost a foregone conclusion that we'll the 17-year-old Josh Thorimbert. Thorimbert is my choice for SJHL Rookie of the Year. If Jordan Braid and Andrew Dommett don't play for Kindersley, Thorimbert is the team's MVP. Thorimbert has been dynamite for the Klippers this season. His save percentage is very impressive at .917% and his GAA is not too shabby at 2.65. Thorimbert has been streaky though against the Stars this season. On January 3rd he looked brilliant in a 3-1 Kindersley victory, but has looked human against the Stars in other instances this season.


Taylor Duzan. He's only 18 but he's in the midst of a fantastic season for the Kindersley Klippers. He's listed at 5'4 and 163lbs, but he plays like he's 6'4. His 42 points in 55 games are nothing to sneer at, and he's only going to get better with time. This kid could lead the SJHL in scoring when he's 20 if he keeps up this type of play. If the Stars can limit his time and space, they'll give themselves a better chance to win.


Record: 33-18-1-3 (Clinched second place in the Bauer Conference.)

Who's Up Front:

The Stars depth was once again on display Wednesday night in their 3-1 win over Melville. Mitch Wall (14), Woody Klassen (9) and Ward Szucki (16) were the goal scorers, and all will be expected to bring a similar effort tonight. The line of Josh Daley, Blake Peake and Shay Neufeld may have been the most dangerous combination Wednesday, as they had chance after chance to score. I look for those three to bring another strong effort tonight.

Who's on D:

Tonight it's all about developing good work-habits. If the Stars collectively can stop the likes of Braid, Dommett, Duzan, they'll find success. Perrault and Brodbin need to be physical, Fahnhorst needs to use his size, Folstad needs to make good passes and Woody and Jesse need to establish a presence at both ends tonight. No one clear defenceman will be under the microscope tonight, it will definitely be a 'committee'type' effort tonight for the Stars to be successful on the road.

Who's in Goal:

So, what did you think about Canada/Switzerland game last night????

(That is me, dancing around this subject.)


I haven't used this one yet this year, so here it goes - Coaching. Ken Pearson and Blair Atcheynum are tonight's x-factor. They have the unenviable task of trying to motivate a team that is playing on the road, in a game where nothing is at stake. I have no doubt that both Ken and Blair are going to treat tonight's game with a real sense of urgency, and it's up to the players as well to 'buy in' and produce results.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Hildebrand Shines as the Stars Clinch Second.

The Battlefords North Stars will be starting the post-season on home ice. Wednesday night at the Civic Center, the Battlefords North Stars defeated the Melville Millionaiers 3-1 and clinched second place in the SJHL's Bauer Conference.

Graham Hildebrand was the big story for the Stars. He turned aside 36 of 37 shots for the Stars, and made most of his saves look rather effortless in the process.

The Stars grabbed a 1-0 lead at 15:04 of the first period when defenceman Woody Klassen(9) intercepted a pass at center, skated across the blue-line and wired a shot by Zach Rakochy. Klassen's ninth was unassisted.

Late in the first, the Stars would make it 2-0. Shay Neufeld forced a turnover inside the Melville zone, and a Mil's defenceman threw the puck in front to a wide-open Mitch Wall(14) who snuck one through Rakochy. Wall's goal was also unassisted.

The first period could have looked a lot different had it not been for the steady play of Hildebrand. He stopped all 16 Melville shots, many of which were good chances.

The Stars increased their lead at 12:03 of the second period when Ward Szucki(16) banged home a rebound off a Jesse Lebreton point-shot. Hildebrand was again spotless in the second stanza, stopping 12 more Melville shots.

The Mil's would capitalize once in the third period when Derek Wasylyshen scored his first of the season on a mad-scrum in front of Hildebrand. Wasylyshen's low shot somehow found it's way through Hildebrand to ruin his shutout bid.

In the end, the Stars went 0-4 on the power-play, but Melville went 0-6.

Hildebrand was named the first star on the Northland Rental's Broadcast. Klassen was star number two, and Blake Peake was the third star.

The Pro Sound Music Warrior of the game was awarded to Ward Szucki.

With the victory, the Stars improve their record to 33-18-1-3 and clinched second place overall in the Bauer Conference thanks to a 4-3 Notre Dame victory over Melfort.

Now the Stars will look to keep the good habits going as they head to Eston Friday for a home-and-home with their rivals from Kindersley. Friday's game in Eston marks the final road game of the season for the Stars.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Stars - Mil's Preview (February 17th)

The Melville Millionaires will be back at square one when they face the Battlefords North Stars on Wednesday, February 17th at the Civic Center. The Mils dropped a 4-2 decision in Eston Tuesday to the Klippers, and had their nine game winning streak snapped in the process.

The North Stars are 2-1 against the Millionaires this season, but are in the midst of a modest three-game losing streak.

A win by the Stars would inch them closer to clinching second place in the Bauer Conference. A Star's win coupled with a Mustang's loss on Wednesday would clinch second place.

Earlier this morning, Ken Pearson said that home ice advantage was definitely a priority for the Stars, and you can expect a hungry Star's team to hit the ice on Wednesday against the defending Sherwood Conference Champs.

Record: 27-25-2-1 (Fourth Place in the Sherwood Conference. They can finish no higher or lower than fourth.)

Who's Up Front:

The scoring depth which made Melville such a tough team to face last year is seemingly back. While the usual suspects like Matt Kinnunen, Michael Jordan and Logan Herauf will all be threats, the Stars are also going to have to concern themselves with two impressive newcomers to Melville. Cody Gross (11 points, 10 games) and Colten Kennedy (13 points in 13 games) are two 20-year-olds who have come in and made an immediate impact. If the Star's aren't careful, those two may be able to fly under the radar and have a big night.

Who's on D:

There are few defenseman in the league who are as consistent as Melville 20-year-old Austin Krahenbil. He's 6'3, 218lbs and has tremendous strength. He's reliable defensively and can also chip in offensively (27 points in 43 games). He will likely log a lot of minutes on the back-end a long with fellow 20-year-old blueliner Jordan Reeve.

Who's in Goal:

Another key pickup at the deadline for Melville was goaltender Deszi Wiens. His record is 8-4 and his save percentage is at .911%. According to Ken Pearson, "When he's on his game, he's very good." Wiens previously played in the MJHL. However it is possible that we'll see 16-year-old goaltender Zach Rakochy given the fact that it's their second game in two nights, and Melville really has nothing to lose down the stretch.


Justin Hollinger (90) can do it all for Melville. He can play forward, defense and is an absolute sniper on the power-play. Hollinger's slap-shot may be one of the best in the league, and he's used it to hinder the North Stars before. Hollinger has 37 points in 50 games for Melville this season, and will need to be silenced if the Stars want to find the win column.

Record: 32-18-1-3 (Second Place in the Bauer Conference. Their magic number to clinch second place is 2.)

Who's Up Front:

Although the Stars dropped two up North this past weekend, Brett Miller had a fine weekend. Miller scored twice for the Stars in two games against Flin Flon, and has recorded 47 points in 40 games. The question that I pose outloud right now - If Brett Miller had stayed here a whole season, does he lead the team? Does he even make a run at the league lead? Miller's consistency has been one of the many positives for the Stars this season.

Who's on D:

Defensively the Stars are going to be in touch on Wednesday. Herauf, Jordan, Kinnunen, Hollinger, Kennedy, and Gross are all legit scoring threats, so specifically I'm going to target the defensive pair of Woody Klassen and Dominic Perrault. Perrault has quietly played some pretty good hockey as of late. He's been physical, he's getting good shots on net, and he's proving to be more reliable recently in his own end. His defensive partner Woody Klassen has been the epitome of consistency all year. A good game from these two, and the Stars will be in good shape.

Who's in Goal:

Kyle Birch played two games in two nights up in Flin Flon, which means in all likelihood we'll see Graham Hildebrand get the call against Melville.


Chad Filteau is due for a breakout game. He's gone five games now without scoring a goal, and you can be that he'll be looking to make a solid impact Wednesday night at the Civic Center.

Schedule Change.

Just a quick schedule change to let you know about.

The SJ Website says that the 'Klips are in the Battlefords Friday night. Instead, the Stars are in Eston to face the Kindersley Klippers at 7:00. Kindersley will then com back to the Battlefords Sunday night for a 7:30 start.

The SJ schedule says that the Stars in Eston for Saturday night, but the schedule had to be shuffled around due to the fishing derby.

So again,

Friday, February 19th - Stars @ Kindersley (7:00)
Sunday, February 21st - Kindersley @ Stars (7:30)

A Melville-Stars preview is coming up later tonight.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Monday Notes..

Heading into the final week of the regular season, here is what the standings in the Bauer Conference tell us:

Bauer Conference Team GP W L OTL SOL PTS GF GA

(X) Flin Flon Bombers 55 36 15 1 3 76 205 147

Battlefords North Stars 54 32 18 1 3 68 212 186

Melfort Mustangs 54 28 19 2 5 63 184 175

La Ronge Ice Wolves 56 27 21 3 5 62 200 190

Humboldt Broncos 55 23 24 1 7 54 150 169

(dnq) Nipawin Hawks 55 19 29 6 1 45 162 223


(X) - Clinched First Place in the Bauer Conference.
(dnq) - Did Not Qualify for Playoffs.

What else do these standings tell us?

Melfort would have to win their next three games, and hope for three North Star losses in order to leap-frog the Stars in the standings. Again, two wins from the Stars in their next four games, and they'll wrap up second place in the Bauer Conference. It's no gimme for the Stars, given the fact that they host Melville (Nine straight wins), then play in Kindersley (always tough), then host Kindersley (yup) before ending their season at home to Humboldt (Always a barn-burner).

The Melfort Mustangs have a home game Wednesday against the struggling Notre Dame Hounds. Then they face Nipawin twice, and then will end their season against Flin Flon. Statistically their schedule is easier, but Notre Dame will be playing desperate hockey, and you know that Nipawin would love to spoil the fruits for the Melfort Mustangs.

All the Stars need to do is win twice and they'll have that 'coveted' home-ice spot in round one.

In the words of AC/DC, "It's a long way to the top." The Stars just need to help themselves.


Tonight's edition of the Co-Op Leisure Time Sports Fix was a great success. My first guest was long-time Battlefords North Stars board member Darren Huxley. Huxley is coordinating the 14 Annual Jackfish Lake Ice Fishing Derby on Saturday afternoon on Jackfish Lake.

This event is ALWAYS fun. This coming from a guy who has fished twice in his life. You can get more information through the
Battlefords North Star website. Click the Fishing Derby icon on the left-list and you'll be set.

My next guest was Wilkie Outlaws coach/defenceman Bruce Yockey. Yockey's club is currently up 1-0 on the defending NSRHL Champion Edam 3 Stars in the first round of the NSRHL Playoffs. Wilkie's got a great team, and they boast a couple of recent ex-North Stars in Rick Cey, Will Rathje, Ryan Schaefer and Barrett Penner.

My final guest was Craig Stein, the voice of the Yorkton Terriers, and Melville Millionaires for GX 94 Radio in Yorkton. Steiner's got a great blog which you can find linked to the right of my blog. We talked about Melville's recent nine-game winning streak, and we also talked about Luke Boechler, the Yorkton goalie who was recently diagnosed with leukemia. If you haven't seen the story yet, go
here to check it out.


Being a Vancouver boy, I find myself particularly enthralled with the 2010 Olympics. Up until Friday, I couldn't really have cared less that the games were taking place in my home city, but now I confess that I'm incredibly envious of many of my friends and family members back home that get to take in the experience.

I watched the Men's Free-Style Moguls yesterday in their entirety, and I think it's fantastic that Alexandre Bilodeau captured gold. I think that all of Canada should feel enormous pride that we are hosting the Olympics, and the fun will really get going tomorrow when Canada takes the ice against Norway.

Tonight I watched a fantastic feature on SportsNet about Canada's Men's Hockey Team. It was a one-hour documentary about Steve Yzerman's construction of the club. It got me totally pumped, and even though we are facing Norway tomorrow, I'm expecting a great battle, and I'm expecting Canada to make an early statement. That, and my favourite NHLer Roberto Luongo is getting the start for Canada!


Is it Wednesday yet? I'm stoked for the upcoming broadcast! Hope to see you all at the rink. I may post my Melville-Battlefords preview tomorrow if I can find the time. That's how stoked I am for that game!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Stars Magic Number.

With four games remaining in the North Star's regular season their magic number is 3.5 to clinch second place in the SJHL's Bauer Conference.

What does this actually mean?

Any combination of North Star wins (-1) and Melfort losses (-1) heading down the stretch would shrink that magic number down.

Mathematically the Stars can finish no worse than third place in the Bauer. Melfort has a three point edge on the La Ronge Ice Wolves, and have two games in hand on them. Barring a Melfort Mustang's flop down the stretch, it appears as though the Stars may soon have a date with the Melfort Mustangs in the playoffs.

The Stars are next in action Wednesday night against the hottest team in the SJHL - The Melville Millionaires. The Mil's are winners of nine straight and are making some real noise late in this season. The Stars are in the midst of a modest three game skid, and would no doubt love to do some 'slump busting' in more ways than one.

Stars Drop Their Third Straight, Bombers Clinch First.

For those who weren't at the game or for those who didn't listen on the radio, here is the skinny on what went down last night.

Flin Flon scores three goals on the man-advantage en-route to a 5-2 win. The game had numerous fights. The game was delayed at least two seperate times due to questionable behavior from fans.At the end of the night, things got a little wild.

I've been debating in my own mind for the past four hours whether or not to share my personal account and opinions of the events which took place afterwards. Frankly I'm still undecided. I'll sleep on it, and I'll most likely share my thoughts on the matter later today.

From a hockey perspective, I thought the Stars were beaten twice by a good Flin Flon team who took advantage of their opportunities and showed what maybe they are truely capable of. For that I commend them.

As for the Stars? They'll be just fine. They're ending their season with three games at home and one other in Kindersley. Mathematically the Stars can clinch second place with either two wins, or two losses from the Melfort Mustangs.

I know that some fans will likely see the results of this weekend and will continue to doubt this teams validity as a contender. But anybody who is still left that is still questioning Ken Pearson's club right now needs to give their head a shake.

This team has come so far in the past two seasons, and it'll take more than two losses in Flin Flon to deter them from their pursuit of the ultimate prize.

So for the die-hards of North Star Nation, consider this weekend's result a minor 'speed-bump' en-route to a promising future.

More later, I promise. .


Saturday, February 13, 2010

Stars - Bombers Part Two

It's simple.

A Flin Flon win tonight and they clinch first place in the Bauer Conference.

After a 4-3 victory last night, Flin Flon is in the driver's seat and are naturally feeling very confident.

This afternoon I joined Rob Hart, Mike Regan, Trevor Sack, Dominic Martel, Michael Young, David Dykstra,and Brennan Cox on CFAR 590's Bomber Show. Outnumbered I was, but I held my own on the radio and didn't get wedgied by the Bombers!

But seriously, the Bombers are stoked. Mike Regan said that his team showed the most 'focus' that he's seen all year. They also made it clear that they're not intimidated by the size of the Stars.

From the Star's stand-point, things are just fine. Ken Pearson applauded the efforts of his team who had to overcome not only the Flin Flon Bombers - But also some lopsided penalty calls (only my opinion) and the exodus of Chad Filteau just 67 seconds into the game.

The Stars had their chances, and were silenced. The Bombers just a 'tad' more opportunistic.

If the Stars win tonight, this road-trip will be considered a success. The Mustangs and Ice Wolves are still flirting with second place, so a Stars win tonight would probably make everybody in North Star Nation a little more relaxed.

I'm not going to do the standard preview for tonight's game, because in this situation there are so few secrets and surpises.

The ultimate key for the Stars tonight - Beat Matt Weninger. For all of the gorious saves made by Kyle Birch last night, it was Weninger will two breakaway saves in the third which allowed Flin Flon to win.

Defensively the Stars will be just fine. They just need to get some offensive confidence against Weninger. Easier said than done, but tonight first place is literally on the line.

I'm expecting an even better game tonight. Enjoy the broadcast tonight!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Feb 10 Pictures

*** All Photos Taken By Julie Larson ***

Congrats to Jesse Lebreton - January Player of the Month.

Nathan Tomac Makes it 6-4.

Here Comes Malek!

Tough Loss, but one that we can all Learn From...

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Stars - Bombers Preview (And then Some...)

Six games remain for the Battlefords North Stars in their regular season. Three games are on the road, and three are at home. Heading into this weekend's road swing up North, the Stars have a road record of 11-13-1-0.

So far this season, the Stars have a 2-2 record against Flin Flon. One win came at home, the other at the Whitney Forum back on January 6th.

Record: 34-15-1-3 (72 Points. First place in the Bauer Conference.)

Who's Up Front:

The Flin Flon Bombers are a highly offensive squad, and can beat you a number of different ways. Leading the way for Flin Flon is Mike Rey. Rey is second in league scoring with 69 points, and is always a threat to score. Combine Rey with the likes of Brody Haygarth (41 points), Deven Stillar (52 points) and Matt Lecours (4o points) and the Stars are going to be tested defensively against the Bomber forwards.

Who's On D:

The Bomber defense is anchored by Michael Young (89) and Taylor Thiessen (89). These two d-men have 78 points between them, and are always dangerous on the power-play. Discipline is going to be a HUGE factor for the Stars heading into this weekend. If they can minimize the Bomber power-plays, they'll be in good shape. Though don't kid yourself, Thiessen and Young are dangerous during ANY game situation.

Who's in Goal:

The Flin Flon Bombers have one of the most dependable goalies in the league in Matt Weninger. His save percentage is brilliant at .927 and a GAA of 2.30. The last time the Stars were up North in Flin Flon, they faced Klynt Spencer and scored four times. My intuition tells me that we're not going to be seeing much of Spencer this weekend unless some type of injury takes place.


Bomber forward Alex Lamontagne has the ability to be a game-breaker for Mike Regan's Bombers. Last season, it seemed like he couldn't miss against the Stars. This year, his numbers are 'decent' but 33 points for a player of Alex's calibre seems a little low. A breakout weekend for 44 in maroon, and the Stars are going to have their hands full.

Record: 32-1-6-1-3 (Second place in the Bauer Conference. Four points behind Flin Flon for First Place with one game in hand.)

Who's Up Front:

Blake Peake had a strong game for the Stars on Wednesday night against Melfort. He led all forwards with a goal and two assists, and is now tied with Chad Filteau for the team lead in scoring with 59 points. The last time the Stars were in Flin Flon, Blake Peake put on a show, scoring twice and adding an assist in the 4-1 win. Another strong night from Peake, and the Stars will be just fine!

Who's On D:

Woody Klassen led all Star players Wednesday with a goal and four helpers against the Mustangs. Klassen now leads all Star's defenceman with 32 points, and will once again be one of the 'go-to' guys moving forward down the stretch. A big game from Klassen defensively and offensively tomorrow night should bode well for the team.

Who's in Goal:

If Ken Pearson sticks to his rotation, than we'll see Kyle tomorrow night.


Mitch Wall is my x-factor and it's only fitting that heading into a road-trip of this importance that you look to your leaders to take charge. Wall's presence will need to be felt at both ends of the ice if the Stars want any hope of taking four points from the Flin Flon Bombers this weekend.


Games at the Whitney Forum are always entertaining, but tomorrow night's game will be the most important statistical game for both teams so far this season. I'm sure the Stars would be satisfied with a split this weekend, but a Northern sweep over the Bombers would get this community buzzing.

What would be more impressive: Winning three in a row down south? Or winning two straight at the Whitney Forum. I vote for the Whitney, merely for the fact that Flin Flon and the Stars are division rivals. Are the Star's up to it? I guess time will tell.

Both Mike Regan and Ken Pearson are well aware of what's at stake, and in my opinion coaching will have a lot to do with the end result of this weekend series.

Whichever coach is able to keep their team focused and distraction-free for a longer period of time will find the most success?

In the end it's just another game, and the coaches are going to do their darndest to keep that mindset. But for fans in the Battlefords and in Flin Flon, this goes well beyond 'just another game' and here's hoping that these two teams give us a couple of classics this weekend.


Nipawin Makes A Coaching Change.

According to the Twitter account of Mike Stackhouse:

Colin O'Hara has resigned as Nipawin head coach. Duane Thorpe will
finish season. More details later today.


Photos from the Melfort game will likely be posted later tonight, and I will preview the Flin Flon trip too.

Enjoy your Thursday North Star Nation!

Stars Fall Just Short in Another Comeback Effort.

Where do we even begin?

Last night at the Civic Center, the Battlefords North Stars dropped an
8-7 decision to the Melfort Mustangs in a shootout. Halfway through the
hockey game, the Stars trailed the game 6-1, yet still managed to
finagle a point, and are now within four points of Flin Flon.

It was tied at one, after one, but early in the second it was all
Mustangs. They scored five unanswered goals in the first seven minutes
and eight seconds, and grabbed a commanding lead of the game.

Josh Daley (23) and Woody Klassen (8) scored goals late in the second
and the table was set for an even crazier third period.

Nathan Tomac (3) scored 48 seconds into the third, and from there the
Stars took over. Cody Folstad (7) scored to make it 6-5 on a power-play.

Melfort's Gary Childerhose made it 7-5 on a power-play, but shortly
thereafter Dominic Perrault (5) made it 7-6.

With 4:55 remaining, the Stars tied it again! Cody Folstad (8) scored
his second of the night, and the Stars had somehow forced their way back
into the game.

Overtime solved nothing, and a shootout was needed. Blake Peake, Chad
Filteau and Brett Miller all missed their shots, and it all came down to
Melfort's Cole Gibson. Gibson skated in down the right side of the ice,
and roofed one over the right shoulder of Kyle Birch.

The Mustang's (27-18-2-5) got the valuable second point, and are now in
sole possession of third place in the Bauer Conference. The Stars get a
single point (32-16-1-3), and move within four points of Flin Flon with
a game still in hand.

Although the Stars made a game of it, Star's coach Ken Pearson was
unenthuised with the overall effort:

"We had our moments tonight, but we had a lot of very bad moments
tonight. I thought we very casual throughout the game," said Pearson
last night during the Valley Ford Post-Game Show.

Up next for the North Stars, a northern road-trip to Flin Flon for two
games in two nights. Game one goes tomorrow night at 7:30 from the
Whitney Forum, you can catch the broadcast right here on CJNB/CJNS
starting at 7:15.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Stars - Mustangs Preview.

Tonight's game has 'playoff preview' written all over it. Statistically, the Melfort Mustangs are in a great position to leap over La Ronge and grab a hold of third place in the SJHL's Bauer Conference. The Mustangs trail La Ronge by one point in the standings, but still have three games in hand.

What does this mean for the North Stars?

They'd better be darn careful is what it means. The Stars will be squaring off against a desperate hockey team tonight. A team who is looking to avenge a 7-1 loss that they suffered against the Stars back on January 19th.

A win by Melfort tonight, and they'd become the first team to win their season series against the North Stars.

Record: 26-18-2-5 (59 points. Fourth in the Bauer Conference.)

Who's Up Front:

The Melfort Mustangs have plenty of offensive weapons that can strike at any time. Blake Hietela and Todd Chinova though are the two main threats to look out for. Hietela leads the 'Stangs in scoring with 53 points in 51 games. He's especially dangerous on the power-play and always seems to do some damage against the North Stars. He's also got 90 minutes in penalties, which shows that he won't shy away from rough stuff. Todd Chinova has 40 points in 31 games, and might just be the best puck-handler in the league.

Who's on D:

The last time the Mustangs were in town, their d-core was decimated with injuries. This time, they'll be a lot healthier. Harrison Tribble will likely cause the most grief for the Stars. He's got 30 points on the season, and is the power-play quarterback for the Mustangs. Tribble has a good first pass, and can skate extremely well for a d-man.

Who's in Goal:

Chris Ward is the likely candidate to get the start for Darrell Mann's team tonight. Ward's numbers are respectable with a GAA of 2.88 and a save percentage of .907. I've seen Ward face the North Stars three times this season, and two of the three times he's looked fantastic.


Former Battlefords Midget AAA Star Gary Childerhose is one of the best kept secrets in the SJ. He's got great speed, he's a great puck handler, and he's crafty. Childerhose provides the Mustangs with solid depth, and will likely see some big-time minutes in a rink that he's very familiar with. The Stars need to contain him, in order to find success tonight.

32-16-1-2 (67 points. Second place in the Bauer Conference.)

Who's Up Front:

Brett Miller has been Mr. Clutch for the North Stars this season. It may come as a surprise that Brett has scored seven game-winning goals this season. SEVEN!!! That's outstanding, considering the fact that he's got 20-goals on the season, and he missed a good chunk of the season thanks to his stints in the WHL. Miller scored the OT winner on Sunday night in Notre Dame, and should be fired up for this one tonight.

Who's on D:

Jesse Lebreton is OUT of the lineup tonight for the Stars, so again the Stars will have to make it a 'group effort' on the back-end. The most impressive defenceman on Sunday night was Woody Klassen, and he'll have to be impressive again as the Stars look to earn their seventh straight game. Klassen has seven goals, and 20 assists so far this season.

Who's in Goal:

Graham Hildebrand looks to earn his seventh straight victory tonight.


Shay Neufeld gets the nod as x-factor tonight. The reason? He's facing his former team. Neufeld's numbers are excellent with 12 goals, and 29 assists this year. He's fifth overall in team scoring, and has contributed greatly to the team's PK over the past few months. A strong game from 'Neuf' and the Stars will be in good shape.


The North Stars NEED to win this game tonight if they want to make a run at first place in the Bauer Conference. With two games in hand on Flin Flon, they can ill-afford to lose any of them. Home has been a great place for the Stars who have only lost three times in regulation at the Civic Center.

One of those time's though was a 5-2 setback courtesy of these very Mustangs.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Waiting Is the Hardest Part.

I'm sure a lot of North Star fans will have their eyes closely glued to the SJHL Website tonight.

Tonight the Flin Flon Bombers host the Nipawin Hawks, and one could easily classify this one as a 'must-win' for both teams. Nipawin needs a victory to keep their slim playoff hopes alive, while Flin Flon needs a win in order to force some more separation between themselves and the North Stars.

Heading into the action tonight, the Bombers have a three-point lead on the Stars, and have played one more game. A Nipawin victory (in regulation), and the Stars remain three points behind Flin Flon with two games in hand.


All the while, the Melfort Mustangs are in Eston tonight, battling the Klippers. The 'Stangs are desperate for victories too. They need to start making the most of their games in hand on La Ronge. A win for Melfort tonight and they'll be tied with La Ronge for third in the Bauer with three games still in hand.

Tomorrow's matchup between Melfort and the Battlefords could very easily be classified as a playoff preview. But before we go that far, the Mustangs need to win tonight. No easy task, against a Kindersley team that is going to be 'out for blood' after a really dissapointing weekend down south.


The Stars are no doubt aware of all of the possible scenarios, but the most important thing for the Stars right now is to keep winning. If the Stars can keep winning games, their destiny will unfold smoothly.

The Melfort Mustangs are going to be an extremely tough opponent tomorrow night, and if even one of the Star players thinks that they can look past Melfort and start prepping for this weekend's voyage to Flin Flon, they're kidding themselves!

The Stars have only lost three times in regulation all season at home, one of those games was a 5-2 setback courtesy of the Melfort Mustangs.


We need to pack the Civic Center tomorrow night, and for our final three home games afterwards too. The Stars have won six in a row, and are 12-2 so far in 2010. Anything less than 1000 fans at the Civic Center for a home game is unfair.

In three long years, the Stars have gone from a five-win team to a championship contender. I think they've regained the trust of even their harshest critics within the community, and it's time that hockey fans in the Battlefords regain their reputation as being the best fans in the SJHL.

You ask the fans across the SJHL, and quite often you'll hear fans raving about Flin Flon, and how crazy their fans are, and how 'intimidating' it is to go to the Whitney and get two points.

Let the record show that the Flin Flon Bombers are 19-5-0-1 at home while the North Stars are 21-3-0-2.

Since I've arrived in the Battlefords, I've heard from many folks that back in the glory years of the North Stars, the team would average well-over a thousand fans per game. This year, I think there have been maybe four games where the Stars have eclipsed the 1000 fan plateau. You and I both know that we're capable of more.

All that being said, the Stars have an incredibly loyal fan-base, and it warms my heart to see many of the same faces at the Civic Center every night. At least when the Star's are making their run in the post-season, you'll be able to look yourself in the mirror and truthfully say, "I supported them from the very beginning."

There is still plenty of room at the Civic Center for you, your friends and your family. As always, I'm looking forward to seeing you all at the rink, and I look forward to our visits in the stands, in the lounge and in the lobby. Talking about the team with the fans is one of my favourite things, and I feel blessed to be able to do so on a weekly basis.

Enjoy the games tonight, and we'll see you at the rink tomorrow night.


Monday, February 8, 2010

Sports Fix Tonight

You voted, and now you'll receive. Tonight's Sports Fix will feature an interview with new North Star's forward Chad Filteau.

Not Only That, but I'll also chat with Notre Dame Hound's coach and GM Darren Evjen (pictured on the left).

***Photo borrowed from Notre Dame's Official School Website.***

And my final guest this evening is based in Los Angeles. He is a boxing ring-announcer, and is the co-host of one of the most famous North American Sports Radio shows across the nation. Tomm Looney will be on the show to talk about the Super Bowl and as well he'll shed some light on the NBA.

Remind me to share with you sometime how I met Tomm Looney. It's a really cool story, and I consider him to be one of my greatest broadcasting mentors out there. He's HILARIOUS and is extremely animated. You'll love the interview.

Check out the Sports Fix, tonight at 8:00 CST on CJNB/CJNS or

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Please Pray...

***From Craig Stein's Blog***

With permission from the Boechler family, I am passing on information that Luke, a 19-year-old goalie with the Yorkton Terriers, was diagnosed with Leukemia late last week, and is beginning treatment in Regina today (Monday, February 8)

.The following is a portion of an email from Luke's dad Brian:

Luke is now in the Pasqua Hospital (in Regina) - feeling quite well and in good spirits - awaiting chemotherapy which begins (today, Monday). Doctors tell us the first two rounds of chemo will run over the next 42 days (21 days each) and further treatment/action will depend on how he responds once this chemo is completed. The course of the treatment is likely to run for close to 6 months - and it is possible that he may be required to stay in hospital throughout.

Our family would like to thank you all for your kind thoughts and prayers.May God's blessings be with you all - and if you find the time, please sneak in a little prayer for Luke.- Brian & Jeannine Boechler


Let's step it up North Star Nation. Let's all say a prayer and show our support for Luke.

This battle goes far beyond anything on the ice.

Check out and if you feel compelled to leave a comment, I'm sure the Boechler family would appreciate it.

Stars Win Sixth Straight!

The comeback kids did it again!

Down 2-0 halfway through, yet again the Stars found a way.

Goals from Mitch Wall and Boyd Wakelin tied the game in the second, and Brett Miller scored the OT winner on a power-play.

With the win, the Stars improve their record in 2010 to 12-2 and have won six in a row.They now trail the Flin Flon Bombers by three points in the Bauer Conference with one game in hand.

Don't get ahead of yourselves though. The Stars have Melfort on Wednesday at home.

Best weekend of my broadcasting career.

North Star Nation, you got anything to say about this?!?

Stars - Hounds Preview.

The Battlefords North Stars are looking to wrap up an already successful southern road-swing with their third straight road win, and sixth straight victory overall. Their opponents tonight - The Notre Dame Hounds. The Stars are 2-1 against the Hounds so far this season.

Record: 30-15-1-4 (Second place in the Sherwood Conference.)

Who's Up Front:

The last time these two teams met, the Hounds were without the services of their second leading scorer Kyle Ireland. Ireland was injured during the pre-game warmup and did not dress. This time the Stars won't be so lucky. Ireland has 59 points so far this season, and has been a tremendous source of leadership for Darren Evjen's club. Combine Ireland with the SJHL's leading scorer Travis Janke, and the Hounds have no shortage of offensive weapons in their arsenal.

Who's on D:

Blayne Stevenson was great for the Hounds when these teams met eight days ago. He logged a lot of minutes and scored a goal late for Notre Dame which put them within one of the Stars. His numbers are impressive with seven goals and 15 assists.

Who's in Goal:

Similar to the Stars, the Hounds have two goaltenders that they use, and use often. Russell Abbott played Thursday night and the Hounds haven't played since. Does that mean we see Matt Smidt get the call tonight for N.D.?


The Hounds have better depth than a lot of teams realize. One player who truly stood out for me last Saturday was 17-year-old forward Trevor Cameron. He's shifty, he's tough and he has a nose for the net. He's got 43 points in 45 games, and should be one of the clear candidates for Rookie of the Year in the SJHL.

Record: 31-16-1-2 (Second place in the Bauer Conference with 65 points. They trail Flin Flon by five points for first with two games in hand.)

Who's Up Front:

Last night the Stars defeated Weyburn because of their depth and their hustle. Tonight they'll have to be 'no different.' Blake Peake scored a wonderful goal last night, and should be heading into tonight's game with a lot of confidence. The Star's will need Peake to use his speed, and his experience in order to come out on top tonight in Wilcox.

Who's on D:

With so much open ice, it's imperative that the Star's defence don't take too many foolish chances. Jesse Lebreton WILL be playing tonight, and his speed will be a great asset for the Stars.

Who's in Goal:

After two solid games from Graham Hildebrand, it will be awfully difficult decision for Ken Pearson to make. That being said, Kyle Birch was nothing short of spectacular the last time he faced the Hounds, and I for one would LOVE to see him get another crack at them. Not to mention the fact that Kyle is a very competitive guy, and no doubt he wants to show his teammates and coaching staff that he's up to the task. I predict Kyle, but by no means would I be surprised if Ken goes with Graham again. Does that answer your question? Haha. Sorry.


It's been a quiet road-trip so far for forward Chad Filteau who has recorded two assists. He's definitely due for a breakout game tonight as his speed and skill will no doubt be on display with such a big ice surface. If Filteau can pot a goal or two, the Stars will be in really good shape.


A win for the Stars tonight, and that will give them six in a row. But more importantly, a victory tonight will move them within three points of the Flin Flon Bombers for first place in the Bauer Conference.

Don't let the Superbowl distract you, THIS is the game that North Star supporters need to be paying attention to.

Enjoy the broadacast tonight, I'm really looking forward to bringing you the call.



PS: Go Indy!