Monday, May 31, 2010

Monday Update (Sports Fix Preview)

Good afternoon. I hope you were all able to find fun in the midst of a rain-soaked weekend. The start of my week is always the busiest, and today is no exception.

Tonight's edition of the Co-Op Leisure Time Sports Fix is going to be jam-packed.

My first guest tonight will be the co-chair of the 2011 Provincial Men's Curling Championship committee Doug Fehr. The 2011 Tankard will be held February 2-6 at the North Battleford Civic Center, and Fehr will give us all of the details surrounding the event - Including details on how YOU can get involved from a volunteer or sponsorship basis. I'll also be asking Doug about the current state of curling in the Battlefords.

Guest number two will be a Sports Fix regular, Darryl Skender. Skender is the play-by-play voice of the Humboldt Broncos, Melfort Mustangs and Nipawin Hawks for CK750 and CJVR radio based out of Melfort. Skender will come on the show and he'll shed some light on the 2012 Royal Bank Cup which was recently awarded to the city of Humboldt. Skender has covered two of the past three R.B.C.'s with the Broncos and he definitely knows his stuff.

Finally I'll be speaking with the Director of Golf at the North Battleford Golf and Country Club, Dana Johnson. Johnson is another guest to the Sports Fix, and he'll come on to give the latest updates on the new irrigation system and current promotions at the Golf Course. The
crew at the N.B.G.and C.C. work hard on a daily basis to provide their patrons with a relaxed, enjoyable atmosphere and I am excited to bring you this interview.


On the North Star's front, Ken Pearson continues to travel the country scouting out talent for the upcoming season. June 1st is typically the day when teams start to announce their commitments for the upcoming season. I can't say for certain when Pearson will be making his announcements, but I'd expect some North Star news shortly.

As for the Golf Tournament on June 26th, we're still accepting applicants and teams. Go to or call 445-7827 (STAR) to submit your team. I look forward to this event every year, and even my Dad wants to get involved and play this year, I'm stoked!


On a personal note, I celebrated my 25th birthday last Tuesday, and I am taking Julie to Las Vegas on Saturday for a mini vacation of sorts. We'll be staying at the MGM Grand for three nights (June 5th - 8th) and maybe we'll strike it rich in the desert! If not, at least we'll get some time away together and a chance to re-charge the batteries a little

Keep checking back from time to time, and don't be a stranger!

- DO

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Former Star's Shine in NHL Playoffs.

By: Dan O'Connor and Ken Pearson

Hockey fans in the Battlefords have extra incentive to watch the NHL Playoffs this spring.

Two former North Stars are in the running for Lord Stanley's Cup and are currently opposing each other in the NHL's Western Conference Final.

San Jose Shark's head-coach Todd McLellan (Melville, SK) is largely remembered for his six years behind the bench in Swift Current (WHL) and coaching the Houston Aeros to an American Hockey League Championship in 2002-2003 - But McLellan got his first head-coaching gig in the Battlefords, coaching the North Stars for two years, starting in 1993.

"I was 24-years-old and I was coaching young fellas who were only a few years younger than me at the time," said McLellan in a 2008 interview on the "Co-Op Leisure Time Sports Fix" on CJNB/CJNS radio (North Battleford, SK). "The team struggled immensely the first year. We only had 15 or 16 wins. The next year we were the most improved team in the league, we made the playoffs and then it was off to Swift Current."

"It would have been really easy for fans to turn a young coach," recalls McLellan. "I remember the support from the board members and the fans. It is a very good hockey town, something that the people in Battleford should be proud of."

Long-time North Star's fan Terry Lumsdon says that the McLellan era was an exciting time.

"They were strong, they were fast," recalls Lumsdon. "I remember Todd McLellan as one of the better coaches that we've been fortunate enough to have in North Star's/Baron's history. He had the ability to bring in top-quality players."

Lumsdon was adamant that McLellan's recruiting helped mold the North Star's into a regular championship contender from the mid 90's on.

Conversely, Chicago Blackhawks's defenceman Jordan Hendry (Nokomis, SK) played junior hockey in the Battlefords for one season (as a 17-year-old) before heading to the University of Alaska-Fairbanks on a scholarship.

Hendry's offensive numbers weren't exactly 'eye-popping' at the collegiate level, but he proved to be steady and reliable. Hendry dressed in 71 of 78 games during his first two years in Alaska.

After an injury in 2004, Hendry bounced back to record four goals and 14 points in his Senior year (2005-2006).

After completing his Senior year in Alaska, Hendry was signed by the Norfolk Admirals of the A.H.L. and tallied five points in 13 games.

Hendry made his NHL debut in 2007 with the Chicago Blackhawks, and three years later is now a fixture on the Hawk's blue line.

"I just try to go out there and play a simple game," said Hendry in a "Sports Fix" radio interview on Monday, May 24th. "Playing behind guys like Keith, Seabrook, and Campbell - They're always telling me little tips, and helping me with my confidence."

Hendry has dressed in 10 playoff games so far this season, and has been paired with veteran Brent Sopel.

Hendry's stay in the Battlefords was a short-one, but he definitely left an impression with the locals.

"He had poise and maturity beyond his age, and definitely had good skill," said former North Star's President Lee Ulmer. "He was able to hold his own as a 17-year-old in a league of mainly 19 and 20-year-olds."

Hendry's Hawks are leading McLellan's Sharks 3-0 in NHL's Western Conference final.

Regardless of the series outcome, North Star's fans can watch with added excitement knowing that part of their past will be represented in the Stanley Cup Final in 2010.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Monday, May 17, 2010


First off, The Battlefords North Stars are pleased to announce that the Northwest Hockey Development Assocation has generously provided the Battlefords North Star's hockey club with a check for $10,000.

The presentation was made at the Civic Center Monday afternoon courtesy of N.W.H.D.A. treasurer Hugh Martin to North Star's coach Ken Pearson and Board of Director Darren Huxley.

The Northwest Hockey Development Association has long been one of the primary partners with the North Stars and has donated a ton of time and money towards the North Star's over the years.

Fans may not realize it, but when they go to the rink and buy a snack and a drink, they are being served by N.W.H.D.A. volunteers. The money spent goes directly back into Minor and Junior Hockey in the Battlefords.

If you run into a volunteer or member of the N.W.H.D.A. make sure you thank them because their tireless efforts are appreciated greatly.

As for the upcoming season, Darren Huxley expressed full confidence moving forward that the Stars will be in the running for a league championship. Huxley said, "There's still a sour taste in our mouths, but Ken (and the coaching staff) has our full support moving forward."

Keep checking the Star's website and the blog, because details regarding the Annual North Star's Golf Tournament will be posted shortly.


Don't miss the Co-Op Leisure Time Sports Fix tonight. Guests include: NSRBL Co-Commissioner Kelvin Collier, The voice of the Brandon Wheat Kings, Bruce Luebke, and the Toronto Blue Jay's beat writer for the Toronto Star, Morgan Campbell.

It was one of those days where I went to the office with a blank canvas, and thanks to the above three, I was able to put together a really exciting, informative show.

Enjoy the weather and make sure you don't burn yourself!


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Stars Part with Szucki As Part of Filteau/Hall Trade.

Ward Szucki is now an Estevan Bruin.

The Battlefords North Stars have sent Szucki (91 - Neepawa, MB) to Estevan to complete a trade that took place on January 9, 2009 which saw the North Star's land the services of forwards Chad Filteau (89) and Kyle Hall (92 - Assiniboia, SK).

In addition to Szucki, the Stars parted ways with forwards Ryan Andersen (90) and Justin Waskewitch (92) in the deal.

Szucki enjoyed a fine rookie season with the North Stars and chipped in with five goals and seven points in 10 playoff games. He will bring strong offensive upside to the Bruins a long with great size and character.

The price for Chad Filteau was steep, but he did not dissapoint during his tenure in the Battlefords. Filteau recorded 12 points in 11 playoff games and provided the Star's with game-breaking speed and scoring prowess.

Hall is a left-winger who tallied 37 points in 44 games last season with the Tisdale Trojans of the SMAAAHL and assuming he commits to playing with the Stars this season, he'll enter training camp as a favourite to land a roster spot.

Monday, May 10, 2010

SJHL Headlines

One day after the Junior A hockey season came to an end, the Melfort Mustangs have made headlines with the announcement that F - Brody Haygarth (90) is now a member of their hockey club.

Darryl Skender broke the story on his blog earlier today. Haygarth joins the Mustang's as the future considerations from the Deven Stillar trade from January 10 of this year.

Haygarth split his time with Estevan and Flin Flon last year and scored 24 goals and assisted on 17 others for 41 points in 47 games.


For a second consecutive off-season, the Notre Dame Hounds are seeking a new head-coach.

Jon Keen (Voice of the Swift Current Broncos) writes the following:

Swift Current Broncos General Manager and Head Coach Mark Lamb has announced the organization has signed Darren Evjen to a 3 year deal as an assistant coach with the club.

Evjen spent last season as the head coach and general manager of the Notre Dame Hounds Junior ‘A’ team in the SJHL finishing the season as runner up for coach of the year. He had been with the Hounds since 2007 serving as team governor, director of player personnel and assistant coach. Darren served as an assistant with the Moose Jaw Warriors in 2006-2007. Previous to his WHL coaching experience, Darren coached the SMAAAHL Saskatoon Contacts from 1998 – 2006 winning a national midget championship in 2005.

Head Coach and General Manager Mark Lamb is looking forward to having Darren on his staff. “I have known Darren almost all my life and we have kept in contact over the years. I have followed his coaching career since he started with the Contacts. His teaching background has also impressed me, the skills and patience in teaching directly translates into hockey. Darren has experience as a head coach and general manager in Junior ‘A’ and he was runner up for coach of the year. It’s a nice asset to have WHL experience as well, he knows the league and he is a passionate individual. We’d like to welcome him, his wife Andrea and kids Rhett and Reese to the Bronco organization.”

Evjen, originally from Swift Current, is currently teaching high school in Saskatoon. Evjen has a bachelor’s degree in education and has been a teacher in Saskatoon for the past 11 years including 9 years at an alternative high school. He is excited to be able to join the Broncos’ staff. “It’s a great opportunity to be a part of the Bronco tradition and for our family to return home to Swift Current. To be able to work alongside a great friend and hockey mind in Mark Lamb is also a big part of the decision to accept the position.”

Evjen will start with the Broncos on July 1st.


Some North Star news is expected to be released soon. When I know, you will too.

Let the Off-Season Begin!

Congratulations to the 2010 Royal Bank Cup Champion Vernon Vipers. They captured their second consecutive championship in fine fashion by defeating the Dauphin Kings 8-1 in yesterday's final.

The La Ronge Ice Wolves are also to be commended for a season well played. They lost out in the R.B.C. Semi-Final, but put a great run together, and I'm sure the state of hockey in La Ronge has been forever changed by the 2010 team. All of their success was warranted, and well deserved.

From a North Star's perspective, we can all hold our heads high because this season we were beaten by the best team.

The junior hockey season is not officially over yet. The Memorial Cup gets started shortly and won't be wrapped up until the middle of this month.

For the Battlefords North Stars, the off-season begins now.

Over the next month, fans can expect SJHL teams to start announcing commitments for the 2010=2011 season. Last year Ken Pearson got a lot of
his worth done early. Fans may remember that Blake Tatchell and Ward Szucki were the two big-named recruits from last season who both lived up to their lofty expectations.

Star's Assistant Coach Blair Atcheynum will be a guest on the Sports Fix tonight at 8:00 and we'll hear from the coach as to what the North Star's have in mind for the next month or so. On paper things look promising for the upcoming season, and now it'll be up to the coaching staff to full in the holes. Here's hoping that the players put in the necessary time during the off-season to improve their skill-set for next season.

Blake Peake will also be a guest on the show tonight. We'll talk to Blake about his recent commitment to A.I.C, and we'll recap his M.V.P
season from 2009-2010.

Friday, May 7, 2010

The Battlefords North Stars are pleased to announce that graduating forward Blake Peake (Lethbridge AB) has committed to AIC (NCAA Div I) for the upcoming hockey season.

Peake was named MVP of the 2009-2010 North Star's team, and was among the team leaders in points (65).

Peake was acquired by the North Stars in November of 2008 and immediately made an impact with the team. For his career, Peake played 148-games in the SJHL, scoring 43-goals and 69-assists.

American International College has recruited in the SJHL in past seasons, most
notably Jereme Tendler(Weyburn) a number of seasons ago. Peake, however, would become the only SJHL alumni on the current roster.


A tremendous accomplishment for a great hockey player. Watching Blake play the game was a treat, and I look forward to hearing good things down the road.

Peake will be my guest on Monday's edition of the CO-OP Leisure Time Sports Fix.

Don't miss it.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Tuesday Thoughts

Where do I even begin.

Last night's CO-OP Leisure Time Sports Fix was a ton of fun. My guests included: Rawlco Radio sports reporter Jamie Nye (Regina), Nashville Predators forward Wade Belak (North Battleford), and PGA Golfer Graham DaLaet (Weyburn).

Nye and I discussed the recent CFL draft and also dissected some of
the NHL playoffs, Belak provided some insight as to why he chose to resign with the 'Preds' rather than testing the free-agent waters, and DaLaet gave us a glimpse of what life on the PGA Tour is really like.

I greatly enjoyed all three interviews, and I say with the utmost honesty that I still get such a kick out of hosting the show each week.


I also had a chat with Battlefords North Star's assistant coach Blair
Atcheynum yesterday. The interview with 'Atch' will run next Monday night. Blair shed some light into the team's recruiting plans for this
off-season, and said many nice things about the community and the support that they provided for the team during this past season.

Rest assured that Ken Pearson and Blair Atcheynum have a plan in place, and are hell-bent on bring a championship banner back to the Battlefords.


Tonight the Dauphin Kings go head-to-head with the La Ronge Ice Wolves in a rematch from April's Anavet Cup series. The Wolves will no doubt be seeking a measure of revenge and would love to be the first team to hand Dauphin a loss at the R.B.C. By all accounts the action so far at the Royal Bank Cup has been dramatic and exciting. If you want some good R.B.C. coverage, check out the blogs from Bill Burfoot and Kevin Jeffery to the right of this one.


If you had told me that the Vancouver Canucks would split with the Chicago Blackhawks during the first two games of their division semi-final series I would have taken it, but I can't help but feel like
they let one slip away. The Canucks took an early 2-0 lead and then completely took their foot off the gas. The Sedins were invisible, Kevin Bieksa played his worse game as a pro player and the Chicago Blackhawks found their next gear and looked outstanding.

I can't say I'm shocked. Years of playoff failure have practically numbed me to this type of display. Here's hoping the Canucks can find their identity again and regain the series lead tomorrow.


Bill Lankhof wrote a very good piece in the Toronto Sun a few weeks ago about the Toronto Raptors and how they'll "Never Be a Winner" until something drastically changes within the organization. It's a very good read, and while I wouldn't classify myself as a Raptor fan or even a fan of the NBA for that matter - It is still well written and provides some
interesting perspective. Check out the article here:


I would like to thank the many folks who have been praying for my Mom.

Today is the day when we learn more of the details and the extent of her cancer. Here's hoping that it's in an early stage, and can be eliminated quickly. To those who have sent e-mails and words of encouragement - I am very grateful and your friendship and support are greatly appreciated.

Expect more writing over the next few days and weeks.