THE TERRIERS: IN YORKTON, THE NAME MEANS HOCKEY
From Daniel Fink’s Blog, the Yorkton Terrier name has been associated with hockey in Yorkton for much of the 20th century.
Before that, the senior Terriers played great hockey in the days when the best senior team in Canada would often represent the country in the Olympics, and when the players were often former NHLers who had completed their careers in the tough six-team pro league.
In the winter of 1972, the senior Prairie Hockey League was on its last legs, and that became the catalyst for the birth of the Yorkton Terrier Junior A team.
Because the PHL was on the verge of folding, the executive of the Yorkton Terrier senior organization changed its name to the Yorkton Terrier Hockey Club paving the way for adding the word “Junior”.
The annual meeting in the summer of 1972 agreed to send an application to the Saskatchewan Amateur Hockey League for membership in the 1972-1973 season.
The new executive under president Jim Caudle was charged with the responsibility of bringing Junior A hockey to Yorkton.
On June 25, 1972, the Yorkton Terriers officially became part of the SAJHL, as the league expanded for the third consecutive year. The Terriers became part of the Northern Division with the Melville Millionaires, Humboldt Broncos, Saskatoon Olympics and Prince Albert Raiders.
Gerry James, who had played senior hockey in Yorkton in the previous years after both a distinguised hockey career with the Toronto Maple Leafs and a CFL football career with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, was recruited as the first coach. Jerry Bulitz, another senior Terrier, served as general manager.
The first official Terrier goal in league play was scored by Brian Lauder, assisted by Clayton Pachal only a minute into the first period of the first game against the Melville Millionaires, which was to set the tone for a Highway 10 rivalry that continues to this day.
The first decade playing in the SAJHL was challenging for the Yorkton Terriers. It wasn’t until 1983 that the team, then under the private ownership of Jerry James, won the league title.
The 1982-1983 season fulfilled its promise. Along the way to the league championship, the Terriers established an unbelievable feat, winning 31 of 32 home games. They set a new league record of 464 goals surpassing the Prince Albert Raiders 1981-82 record of 454 goals. Darrell Spelay completed a fourth season as a 50-goal scorer and set a new scoring record of 401 points.
In 1983-84, the Terriers once again became a community-owned organization after a short five-month tenure under new private ownership.
The 1980s brought many challenges, along with memorable events such as the 1987-88 league final against the Notre Dame Hounds. Under Dennis Polonich, the Terriers were eliminated in an action-packed final series. The Hounds went on to win the Centennial Cup national championship with 14 midget-aged players.
The Terriers returned to national prominence in 1990-91 and 1995-96 by representing the SJHL at the Centennial Cup in Sudbury, Ontario and Melfort, Saskatchewan.
Celebrating the team’s 25th anniversary in 1997, the Yorkton Terrier organization moved into its next quarter century by securing the Royal Bank Cup tournament for May, 1999.
When that event rolled around, Terrier hockey fans witnessed the best-ever Royal Bank Cup as the Terriers finished second in the round robin before losing the semi-final in double overtime to Vernon.
The Terrier past has been exciting and colorful, and thanks to the continuing hard work of dedicated volunteers and the support of the community, the future looks promising.
In Yorkton, the name Terriers means hockey, and both the team and the sport are an integral part of the community fabric.
1972-1973 – Jim Caudle
1973-1974 – Dave Rohatynsky
1974-1975 – Ed Laurence
1975 – Al Ottenbreit
1976-1978 – Harvey Stebner
1978-1980 – Reg Coles
1980-1984 – Private ownership: Gerry James/Jerry Bulitz
1984 – Yorkton Terrier Booster Club Inc.; President Vern Pachal
1985-1986 – Vern Pachal
1986-1992 – Gene Krepakevich
1992-1996 – Don Zazula
1996-2005 – Glen Kozak
2005-2006 – Don Bielinski
2006-2008 – Sid Matsalla
2008-2013 – Lyle Walsh
2013-Present – Dave Baron
1972-1974 – Gerry James
1974-1975 – Rollie Wilcox
1975-1976 – Doug Dilts
1976-1977 – Brian Harding
1977-1978 – Barrie Ross
1978-1979 – Barrie Ross, Ron Coates, Jerry Bulitz
1979-1980 – Jerry Bulitz
1980-1984 – Gerry James (Private Ownership)
1984-1985 – Don Pankewich (July-Dec. 1984: private ownership); Kevin Ginnell (Jan. 1985: community owned)
1985-1986 – Kevin Ginnell
1986-1987 – Norm Johnson, Barry Marianchuk (interim); Dennis Polonich
1987-1992 – Dennis Polonich
1992-1993 – Drew Famulak
1993-1998 – Lee Odelein
1998-1999 – Wade Klippenstein
2000-2002 – Blaine Gusdal
2002-2004 – Don Chesney
2004-2010 – Ed Zawatsky
2010-2016 – Trent Cassan
2016-2017 – Casey O’Brien
2017-Present – Mat Hehr