St. Walburg recruits Stamps players for provincial run

by Phil Ambroziak

Three Meadow Lake Stampeders will temporarily join the ranks of the St. Walburg Eagles when the North Saskatchewan River Hockey League (NSRHL) team competes in Saskatchewan Hockey Association Senior ‘D’ provincial action later this month.

DJ King, Jamie Jeanotte and Darren Schwartz, along with a selection of players from Goodsoil, were chosen by St. Walburg coach Duane Larre in an effort to improve the Eagles’ chances at securing a provincial championship this year.

“The SHA has a lot of rules when it comes to how many people you can bring onto your team,” Larre explained. “In the ‘D’ division, the combined population of where your players are from cannot exceed 1,250. St. Walburg has a population of 716, Goodsoil is 281 and Makwa has 97. Jamie and Darren are both originally from Makwa. We’re also allowed three imports, so we’re using DJ as an import.”

In spite of this, Larre said all three players have a lot to offer.

“They all obviously bring something,” he said. “DJ brings a lot of experience, leadership, hard work and intimidation. Jamie is one of the more skilled players in the league this year and we’re hoping Darren will help tighten our defence, an area we really want to solidify heading into provincials.”

While a schedule for provincials has yet to be confirmed, Larre said games will likely be underway by Jan. 25.

Last year, St. Walburg competed in the ‘A’ division where they were eliminated in two straight by the Rosthern Wheat Kings. Joining the Eagles in that endeavour were Meadow Lake players King, Ashton McIntyre, Ryan Corrigal, Dustin Gorst, Logan Gorst and Jeff Vidal, who served as backup goalie. Stamps coach Ian Turberfield also shared duties behind the bench. It was the first time in recent history Meadow Lake did not ice a team in the provincial competition, a trend that continues this year.

“We just don’t have a strong enough team,” Turberfield said. “The only way I feel we could go is if we’d been able to pick up a line or two from one of the other teams in the league. With Wilkie playing in the ‘C’ division this year and St. Walburg in the ‘D’, neither of those teams were willing to do so.”

Teams had until the end of December to submit their rosters. The Stamps have had their share of success at provincials in the past. The team won the ‘A’ division championship the year before Turberfield came on board and again a few years later.

“The competition is just so strong now,” Turberfield continued. “A lot of the teams feature players from the U of S or former WHL players – guys with a lot of experience at a high level of hockey. But, I do hope we’ll be able to take part next year.”

In spite of what promises to be some stiff competition, Larre remains optimistic St. Walburg, with the assist from Meadow Lake and other “new” players, will be able to find at least a certain level of success.

“With the added Meadow Lake guys, I believe we have a good shot at it,” he said. “The biggest concern will be the commitment and the travel. If everyone is able to be there, I like our chances.”

Big win for Stamps
Meanwhile, the Stamps tamed the Turtleford Tigers on Saturday with an 8-4 victory.

“Going into the third period, the score was 4-3 – we had a lot of chances, but our shots just weren’t going in,” explained Stamps assistant coach Corey Demmans. “We controlled the puck throughout the game, but it wasn’t until the third period when the flood gates opened.”

Scoring for Meadow Lake were Jeanotte with two while Darren Caron, Scott Fransky, Jorden Iron, King, Les Ludwig and Ashton McIntyre each had one.

This weekend, Meadow Lake will also be represented on the NSRHL all-star team when they take on the AAA Rosetown Redwings in a Jan. 19 game in St. Walburg. Stamps who made the cut include Jeanotte, Dustin Gorst and King with the latter serving as team captain.

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