1. Tisdale Trojans
The midget AAA hockey team made it to the Telus Cup national championship and claimed the bronze medals. The Trojans fell in the league semifinals but, as host of the Telus Cup Western Regional, earned a national tourney berth with four straight wins on home ice. Several players from that team are now competing at the major junior and Junior A levels.
2. Broncos rebuild
In 2019, stories connected to the devastating April 6, 2018 Humboldt Broncos bus crash continued to dominate sporting news in the region: the sentencing of the truck driver involved in the crash, survivor Ryan Straschnitzki taking his first steps since being paralyzed from the chest down, fellow survivor Tyler Smith speaking publicly about mental health, Sports Illustrated chronicling the Logan Boulet Effect, assistant coach Scott Barney taking over the squad just after Christmas and guiding it to a playoff spot, survivor Graysen Cameron returning to the team and captaining it for the 2019-2020 campaign …
3. Tia Zimmerman
Englefeld’s Zimmerman was named the Special Olympics Canada Female Athlete of the Year. As well, she was selected as the Special Olympics Saskatchewan Female Athlete of the Year. At the 2019 Special Olympics World Summer Games in the United Arab Emirates, the standout swimmer won gold in the 4x50 metre freestyle relay and bronze in the 800-metre freestyle.
4. Logan Hofmann
The pitcher from Muenster was chosen by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 35th round of the Major League Baseball Draft. He was the only Saskatchewan player chosen and one of 25 Canadians picked in the draft. After competing for Colby (Kan.) Community College and in the high-level Cape Cod collegiate summer league, Hofmann is playing and studying at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, La.
5. Albrecht and Ball
Captain Carson Albrecht and Justin Ball gave Melfort Mustangs’ fans a lot to smile about last hockey season. Ball basically led the league in scoring all season as he racked up 54 goals and 103 points. He had a 33-game point scoring streak. Ball was named the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League’s SGEU Most Valuable Player. Linemate Carson Albrecht posted 33 goals and 89 points. He was the league’s RBC Player of the Year. Ball now plays for the University of Saskatchewan, while Albrecht is a member of the University of North Dakota men’s team.
6. Melfort Comets football
The Melfort and Unit Comprehensive Collegiate gridiron squad capped a dominant season with the 4A provincial nine-man championship. It was the Comets’ first since 2014. The team went 6-0 in the regular season and won all three of its postseason tilts by almost 40 points. In the provincial final, the Comets beat Martensville, 51-15.
7. Paige Crozon and Team Canada
Humboldt’s Crozon helped Canada’s women’s 3x3 basketball team win four tournaments, go 27-7, and post a 19-1 record from August onward. However, a complicated points system and a rule that states only one national team per gender can get into the Olympic qualification tournament – with some exceptions, the 2020 Olympics unfortunately do not appear to be attainable for Crozon and her teammates.
8. Hawks & Mustangs Success
Each season it seems like the Nipawin Hawks and Melfort Mustangs are contending for a SJHL championship. In 2018-2019, Nipawin posted the league’s best regular season record at 38-15-2-3. The Mustangs had a strong season as well and, in the playoffs, made it all of the way to the SJHL finals, where they fell to the Battlefords North Stars, who are led by former Humboldt Bronco player and assistant coach Brayden Klimosko. At the start of the current hockey season, Nipawin head coach Doug Johnson recorded his 300th win to become the team’s all-time leader in coaching victories. In December, Melfort head coach Trevor Blevins earned that honour for his squad as he won his 212th game.
9. Softball success
Two area female teams competed at prestigious softball championships. The Melfort Spirit sent a team – the U14A squad – to a national fastpitch championship for the first time ever. The Tisdale Riverdogs U16 squad competed in Biggar at the Western Canadian championship.
10. Bernice McCosh
Golf Saskatchewan recognized the 92-year-old McCosh, who is hanging up her clubs, for 70 years involvement in sport. In the past, she had been active with the Melfort Ladies Golf Club, helping with junior girls golf, and instructing young people to the game. In other golf news, Carla Odnokon became the first woman in the 16-year history of the Scotia Wealth Management Open to compete in the event in Nipawin.