EAST CENTRAL — Melfort Mustangs defenceman Nolan Kadachuk believes in giving back to the Junior A hockey team’s young fans.
“It seems to me it is every kid’s dream in Melfort Minor Hockey to play with the Mustangs one day,” said the 20-year-old hometown product. “Our youth fans bring a lot of energy to our rink, and even give the other team a hard time sometimes. Our team likes to give back to the youth by helping out with minor hockey practices and having a seventh man join us for the national anthem.”
Kadachuk’s involvement in the community, including with youth, earned him recognition as this year’s Mustangs’ RBC Community Ambassador. The honour recognizes a player from each Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League team for their dedication, sportsmanship and a commitment to volunteerism. Jeremy Bisson earned the honour for the Nipawin Hawks, while recently traded Zach McIntyre, now with Melville, was the Humboldt Broncos’ ambassador.
Last week the Mustangs went 3-1. They downed Melville on the road on Tuesday, shutout Humboldt at home, 3-0, on Friday – with Tanner Martin making 21 saves – and fell 5-3 to Yorkton Saturday at the Northern Lights Palace. As of Sunday, the Mustangs sported a 19-9-2-1 record and were third in the SJHL standings.
Kadachuk volunteers with the Melfort Fire Department, helps out the Northeast bantam AA squad, and reads to young people, among other activities.
“I like to take part in reading with the kids at [Maude] Burke [Elementary School] at noon hour,” Kadachuk said. “They come into the library with big smiles so excited to read with us. I also enjoy helping in minor hockey because we get to meet many different kids and hope to be a role model to all of them.”
Local kids also look up to Kadachuk for his strong play. As of Sunday, the 6-foot-1, 190-pounder was third in the SJHL in blue line scoring. He had 26 points with four goals.
“I have been really confident every night in my play,” Kadachuk said. “I have not overcomplicated anything on the ice and try to make good easy plays. I have put a lot of pucks on net this year and have got better at getting pucks through this year. My teammates have been hungry around the net and put in a lot of rebounds.
“I think the biggest part to my success this season is the chemistry with my D partner Alex Rondeau. This is our second year playing together and I know he makes me a better player. We always know where each other are on the ice and move the puck back and forth a lot.”
He enjoys many aspects of playing for his hometown Mustangs.
“We have one of the best crowds in the league,” Kadachuk said. “The community strongly supports our games and fundraisers – making it all possible for us to play and be well looked after. Being a local, I get to stick around all year and help with CLUTCH hockey camp, which allows me to build relationships with the young players and hopefully be someone they can look up to.”
The Hawks went 1-1 last week. In a strong performance Friday at home, they defeated the Yorkton Terriers, 4-1. Zach Cox lit the lamp twice for Nipawin. Dawson McKenzie had two assists. McKenzie has recorded an assist in each of the four games he has played for the Hawks. He has seven assists since joining the team.
Nipawin’s three game winning streak came to an end on Saturday when it fell on the road, 5-3, to the Flin Flon Bombers. The Hawks tied the game three times in the first two periods, but the Bombers got the game-winning goal early in the third. They added a shorthanded, empty net goal as well.
The Broncos lost its lone game last week 3-0 to Melfort. It was Humboldt’s fourth straight setback. The Broncos will look to turn things around when they open a three-game homestand this week.
“Our focus on the homestand is getting back to what makes us successful,” assistant coach Curtis Toneff said. “Utilizing our speed, creating second chance opportunities and cleaning up our special teams.”
Toneff is leading the Broncos with the support of volunteer assistant coach Rhett Blackmur and athletic therapist Tyrol “Skip” Deeg while head coach Scott Barney serves as an assistant coach for Team Canada West at the World Junior A Hockey Challenge in Dawson Creek. The event runs Dec. 7 to 15.
The SJHL last week
Tuesday, Dec. 3 in Melville
Melfort 2, Melville 1
Mustangs Scorers: Adam Nobes, Nolan Kadachuk
Millionaires Scorers: Luke Nkwama
Goalies: Tanner Martin, Melfort, 24 saves on 25 shots; Berk Berkeliev, Melville, 25 on 27
Notes: Melville took a 1-0 first period lead. The Mustangs tied the contest in the second session and won it in the third.
Friday, Dec. 6 in Melfort
Melfort 3, Humboldt 0
Mustangs Scorers: Tyson Meyers, Tian Rask, Kenzie Arnold
Goalies: Michael Harroch, Humboldt, 38 saves on 40 shots; Tanner Martin, Melfort, 21 on 21
Notes: After a scoreless first period, the Mustangs took a 1-0 lead in the second. It was the Broncos’ fourth straight loss. Matt Hennessey of the Beardy’s Blackhawks midget AAA team served as Martin’s backup.
Friday, Dec. 6 in Nipawin
Nipawin 4, Yorkton 1
Hawks Scorers: Zach Fox (2), Carson Erhardt, Jordan Simoneau
Yorkton Scorer: Kaeden Taphorn
Goalies: Dalton Dosch, Nipawin, 26 saves on 27 shots; Ryan Ouellette, Yorkton, 30 on 34
Notes: Nipawin led 1-0 and 3-1 at the intermissions. Nipawin’s Max Johnson and Yorkton’s Gavin Ingram fought in the third period.
Saturday, Dec. 7 in Flin Flon
Flin Flon 5, Nipawin 3
Hawks Scorers: Jordan Simoneau, Davis Chorney, Zach Cox
Bombers Scorers: Easton Haygarth (2), Dane Hirst, Caleb Franklin, Jaeden Mercier
Goalies: Ross Hawryluk, Nipawin, 44 saves on 48 shots; Jacob Delorme, Flin Flon, 37 on 40
Notes: In the first two periods, the Hawks battled back from deficits of 1-0, 2-1, and 3-2. In the third, the Bombers scored twice, including once into an empty net, to take the win. Burke Simpson and Simoneau each had two points.
Saturday, Dec. 7 in Melfort
Yorkton 5, Melfort 3
Mustangs Scorers: Tyson Meyers (2), Ryan MacLean
Terriers Scorers: Chantz Petruic (2), Alec Zawatsky, Jordan Guiney, Kaeden Taphorn
Goalies: Tanner Martin, Melfort, 14 saves on 19 shots; Ryan Ouellette, Yorkton, 38 on 41
Notes: Yorkton scored took a 3-0 first period lead and led 4-1 after the second period. Zach Anderson had two assists for Melfort.
The Nipawin Hawks (17-12-2-0) play a home and home series with the La Ronge Ice Wolves this weekend. Things kick off on Friday in La Ronge before heading to the Centennial Arena on Saturday.
The Melfort Mustangs (19-9-2-1) play in La Ronge on Tuesday, Weyburn on Friday, and Estevan on Saturday.
The Humboldt Broncos (15-12-3-2) host Flin Flon on Thursday and Melville on Saturday. They wrap up a three-game homestand when the Battlefords North Stars visit on Dec. 17.