With the preseason now complete, the Yorkton Terriers turn their attention to the start of the 2021/22 Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League season. The Terriers finished the preseason with a 2-4 record. This year’s dogs are a younger pack, with the graduation of the Taphorn twins, Ryan Ries and Philippe Bond. The preseason showed that this team is working on finding chemistry. With 15 rookies listed on the roster, it will take time for Yorkton to bond. This was evident in the team’s losses, where they fell behind early in all four contests. However, the Terriers also proved that if they get off to a good start, they can stick with any team, as shown in their 3-0 and 4-2 victories over Weyburn and Melville, respectively.
The team’s identity is changing this season compared to previous years. New acquisitions includes the 6-foot-4 Erik Boers, the 6-foot-4 Tyson Perkins, 6-foot-3 Campbell Mclean and 6-foot-2 JD Hall. The Terriers have become a team of size that looks to bring a high intensity game to the ice. There’s also some speed on this roster in the form of Canora’s Clay Sleeva and Kamsack’s Kishaun Gervais. Returning Terriers in Steven Norum and Carson Henry also look to lead this team on the score sheet, on a nightly basis.
Defense may be the strength of this roster, which is a major change from previous editions of the Yorkton Terriers. Tyson Janzen returns for a fourth season and is expected to be a leader on the blue-line, while Parker Jasper is expected to take a large step forward this year. Kody Norberg, Reagan Sweeney and Cole Buehler also provide some youth and the potential to be the future faces of the franchise.
Goaltending may be a question mark this year. With it uncertain whether or not Jacob Herman will return from the Swift Current Broncos training camp, Kael DePape and Drayden Ramage will be asked to carry the load in goal. DePape posted a shutout in his first appearance of the postseason, but struggled in his other two performances, having been pulled in both contests. Ramage was solid in relief of DePape, and was rewarded his a win over the Melville Millionaires in the Rail City. If either goalie can lay claim to the starting role and thrive in it, Yorkton could make some noise early in the season.
The 2021/22 SJHL season could see some growing pains for Yorkton early on, but Mat Hehr has a talented squad. A solid top 6 is in place with Gervais, Boers, Norum, Henry, Vranai and Sleeva, while Perkins, Janzen, Tanner Skraluk and Jasper will provide a solid spine on defence. If the goaltending holds up, Yorkton could easily qualify for the playoffs this year.