Story Coming In:
The Terriers kick off their 50th anniversary facing a familiar foe. Having been swept in the SJHL semi-finals by the Estevan Bruins, Yorkton looks for a measure of revenge as they return to Affinity Place. These two teams met each other last year to open the season, with the Bruins winning a pair of one goal games. The rosters look quite a bit different for both sides, compared to last season. Gone for Yorkton are the likes of Steven Norum, Erik Boers, Kael DePape, Parker Jasper, Tanner Sklaruk and Tyson Janzen, just to name a few. However, there are some exciting pieces looking to make their Terriers debut. On the backend, Cade Van Brabant, Lohgan Nimmo and Dalton Mayes look to form a tough defense core that is rugged and likes to jump up in the play. Up front, Dylan Ruptash, Jackson McDonnell and Brett Butz hope to add an offensive side to the Terriers game that was lacking last year. And don’t sleep on the returning players either. Maddux Nollski is a goal scoring threat every time he steps on the ice, JD Hall and Greg Nelson are rugged and excellent vocal leaders, Clay Sleeva and Logan Cyca provide tons of speed that drives defenders mad, and a healthy Tyson Perkins returns to the defense core looking to become one of the league’s elite.
View From Estevan:
Gone are the days of Mark Rumsey, Olivier Pouliot, Eric Pearce, Nolan Jones, Boston Bilous, Mikol Sartor and Dayton Deics terrorizing the league. The 2022/23 version of the Estevan Bruins are almost unrecognizable from the group that won the 2022 SJHL championship. Now, some intriguing pieces do return like Cody Davis, Mitch Kohner and Kade Runke on forward, and Alex Von Sprecken and Aleksa Babic on defense, but on paper the Bruins are not as strong as they were a season ago. Alex Blanchard is a great recruit for the defense, while Emile Tremblay looks to provide some offensive punch, but will Jason Tatarnic’s new players provide the depth needed to survive in the tough SJHL. Cam Hrdlicka inherits the starting job in between the pipes. While his numbers last year were terrific, questions will surround Hrdlicka’s ability will a much weaker team in front of him. With the Bruins being the defending champs, they will have a target on their backs every game of the season, which makes it interesting to see how Estevan defends their SJHL crown.
Between The Sticks:
One of the biggest question marks coming into this season for the Terriers is, “Who will replace Kael DePape?”. Last year, DePape, the local product, came out of nowhere to solidify the blue paint for the Terriers, en route to a playoff berth, an upset of the Melfort Mustangs, as well as Rookie and Goalie of the Year awards in the Viterra Division. DePape departed for Maine in the North America Hockey League leaving a massive hole, however, the Terriers believe they have the answer. Caleb Allen joins the Black and Orange from the Loomis Chaffee School in the United States High School Prep League. A product of the Colorado Thunderbirds system, Allen has put up good numbers through all levels of hockey, and looks to keep that going with Yorkton.
The Lone Tree, Colorado product is an athletic goaltender, who reads the play well and has the ability to make jaw dropping saves. One of his strengths is the ability to play the puck. Allen is aggressive when it comes to moving the puck and is like a third defenceman in his own zone. Yes, we won’t know how good Allen is until the regular season gets underway, but so far he looks like an excellent pick-up by Mat Hehr.