2013: The Southwest Booster sporting year in review

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This past year was a memorable sporting year across Southwest Saskatchewan.

There were a number of championships on the ice and on the field, and some individual accomplishments also generated headlines.

The Southwest Booster looks back on a series of headline events from 2013.

January 10

Merkley joins Broncos after Derko dealt to Lethbridge

The Swift Current Broncos have made a two for one deal with the Lethbridge Hurricanes to acquire Jay Merkley from the Lethbridge Hurricanes.

In the deal announced late on Jan. 7, the Broncos acquired Merkley in exchange for veteran forward Josh Derko and a third round pick in the 2014 WHL Bantam Draft.

Merkley, who was the WHL’s third overall selection in the 2010 Bantam Draft, is a talented offensive prospect, already having 14 goals and 22 points in 44 games so far this season. In his rookie 16-year-old season the 5’11, 187-pound Calgary product had 12 goals and 23 points over 58 games.

Martin excels at World Hockey Challenge

Swift Current Broncos rookie defenseman Brycen Martin had a spectacular tournament for Team Pacific at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in Drummondville, Quebec.

Martin, 16, registered at least a point in all five games to help Team Pacific finish fifth at the 10team event comprised of five regional Canadian teams and five international squads. He finished the tournament with two goals and seven assists to lead all defenseman at the tournament and tied for sixth in tournament scoring overall.

Lowry named Player of the Month

A torrid month of December has resulted in HUSKY WHL Player of the Month honours for Swift Current Broncos captain Adam Lowry.

Lowry, 19, registered 21 points during the month of December with 13 goals, eight assists, and a plus-seven rating.

The 6’5’’ centre rode a 17-game point streak into Wednesday’s game with 30 points during a streak that began back on Nov. 27.

Lowry currently sits seventh in WHL scoring with 56 points in 43 games and had already set career highs with 27 goals and 29 assists.

Wall caps year with Baseball Canada award

When Bradi Wall looks back on 2012 she may remember it as the pinnacle of her athletic career.

The Swift Current Minor Baseball product played her first NCAA season with the Iowa State Hawkeyes womens softball team and flawlessly made the transition back to baseball to help lead Team Canada to a bronze medal at the IBAF Women’s World Baseball Cup in Edmonton in August of 2012.

Her year was capped in November when she was named the recipient of Baseball Canada’s Jimmy Rattlesnake Award, which recognizes great performance and sportsmanship on the Canadian Women’s National Team.

January 24

SCCHS Colts gallop to top spot at home tournament

An uptempo offensive attack carried the Swift Current Comprehensive High School Senior Boys Basketball team to a gold medal showing at their home tournament and helped improve their season start to 9-0.

The Colts utilized all 12 players on their roster to push the offensive pace of their games, a tempo which teams with a shorter bench were unable to match as games went on.

February 7

Broncos rounding up new memberships with ‘Saddle Up’ campaign

The Swift Current Broncos held a press conference Feb. 4 to announce their membership drive that will focus on regeneration of the franchise’s voting membership.

“Today we are starting a new membership campaign and we’re dubbing this ‘Saddle up for Success’,” said Liam Choo-Foo, Chairman of the Board. “We see this as a very natural step in the flow from our town hall meeting that occurred last spring, where the board announced renewal and a new vision for this hockey team.

“At that meeting we heard from our Bronco Nation the importance of renewing our membership as we renew excitement of this organization, so we are trying to be responsive to our Nation in providing what they asked for.”

Since the original members of Bronco Nation stepped forward 25 years ago to bring the Broncos back from Lethbridge, the original 200 members have dwindled to less than 100.

February 14

Koster just misses Senior Provincials

The Ken Koster rink from the Swift Current Curling Club finished just one win short of advancing to Provincials at the 2013 Affinity Credit Union Senior Men’s Southern Playdowns in Moosomin. Koster recovered from a tournament opening loss to win four of his next five games to reach the final game of the C Event.

Koster and the rink of third Dan Kennedy, second Mitch Minken and lead Rod Quintin were one of the 16-rinks at the triple knockout bonspiel to determine the four Southern teams advancing to the Affinity CU Senior Men’s Provincial Championship in Assiniboia on Feb. 20 to 24.

February 21

Lowry leads Broncos awards winners

Swift Current Broncos captain Adam Lowry was the big winner at the team’s annual Awards Banquet Saturday when his name was called five times.

The fourth-year Bronco won the MacBean-Tessem Top Scorer Award, Innovation Credit Union Coaches Award, and the Warren & Son Ltd. Award for Leadership and Maturity. He also shared the JayDee Ag Tech King of the Road Award with goaltender Eetu Laurikainen.

Lauirkaianen, a 19-year-old rookie from Finland also won the Standard Motors Rookie of the Year. Laurikainen has been among the top goaltenders in the Western Hockey League all season with a 2.54 goals against average and a .919 save percentage.

Lowry was also the recipient of the Rittinger’s Men’s Wear 3 Star Award.

February 28

Legionnaires’ season comes to an end

The Swift Current Home Hardware Legionnaires finished up their season over the weekend with a pair of games at home against the Yorkton Harvest to conclude the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League regular season.

The Legionnaires missed the playoffs for the eighth time in the past nine years after ending a seven-year drought last season.

The Legionnaires finished the season in 11th place with a 9-25-7-2 record.

March 7

SHSAA Champions from Frontier

Congratulations goes out to the Frontier mixed curling team who captured the SHSAA provincial curling title on March 2 in Moose Jaw. The team was composed of skip Kent Evenson, third Cassidy Onerheim, second Adam Keith, lead Adrienne Keith and coaches June Evenson and Jay Peterson.

March 14

Broncos clinch first playoff spot in three seasons

The Swift Current Broncos are heading back to the Western Hockey League playoffs for the first time in three years.

The Broncos did everything they could over the weekend with a pair of road wins and also got a little help in the standings as well.

Swift Current clinched their first playoff appearance in three seasons with a 2-1 win over the host Moose Jaw Warriors. The win, combined with a Lethbridge Hurricanes loss to the Red Deer Rebels that same night, means the Broncos will finish no lower than eighth in the Eastern Conference this season.

Hilts wins gold at SHSAA Wrestling Provincials

Congratulations to all 13 wrestlers from SCCHS who competed in the 2013 High School Provincial Championships.

Erin Hilts put together her best tournament of her high school career with all of her matches extremely challenging while winning the Provincial gold in the female 105 kilogram division.

Meghan Chisholm ran into a most talented opponent in the 90 kilogram category final and was unable to capture the win.

Jon Neustaeter suffered his first loss of his rookie season in the Provincial Gold Medal match in the male 90 kilogram class.

Wildcats push Wings to five games before elimination

The Swift Current Diamond Energy Wildcats were knocked out of the Saskatchewan Female Midget AAA Hockey League playoffs Thursday with a 31 loss to the host Weyburn Wings.

The Wildcats went down fighting as they pushed the third seeded Weyburn Wings to five games in the SFMAAAHL playoffs.

The sixth seeded Wildcats won games two and three over the third seeded Wings but were unable to close out the best-of-five series, losing game four at home and game five on the road.

March 21

Evenson wins second provincial title this month

Years from now Kent Evenson won't likely remember March of 2013 for unusually cold temperatures and terrible driving conditions. Instead he will probably remember the month when he won two provincial curling titles in a 16-day span.

Just two weeks after winning the SHSAA Mixed Provincial Championship in Moose Jaw, Evenson's rink won the Provincial Juvenile Open Championship hosted by the Shaunavon Curling Club last week.

Evenson, representing the Frontier Curling Club, was joined by third Cassidy Onerheim, second Adam Keith, lead Adrian Keith and were coached by Jay Peterson.

Edge earn PAC title with last-minute heroics

The Millar College of the Bible Edge men's basketball team claimed another Prairie Athletic Conference title at Provincials this past weekend.

They did it with some last minute heroics from tournament MVP Andrew Gottselig, who hit a three-pointer with only 14 seconds left to life the Edge to a 56-53 win over the Kelsey Amaruks in Saturday's final in Swift Current.

Edge women defend PAC title

The Millar College of the Biblewomen's basketball team repeated as PAC Provincial champions with three straight wins this weekend.

The Edge women took on First Nations University of Canada in the championship game and won 77-61.

March 28

Meachem wins mixed curling provincials

The Shaun Meachem rink made Swift Current curling history when they won the Tim Hortons Provincial Mixed Curling Championship in Eston on Sunday, becoming the first Swift Current rink to win the event in its 50-year history.

Meachem made good on his word when he vowed to return to Mixed Provincials and improve on his 12-4 loss to Jeff Hartung in the 2012 championship game. He did so with an entirely different cast this weekend, when he was supported by third Kelly Wood, second Carl deConnick Smith, and lead KelseyDutton.

Meachem faced Darren Engel for a third time in Sunday’s championship game. He scored a single in the fifth end and then stole two to lead 4-1 after six ends. They traded singles in the seventh and eighth ends for a 5-2 Meachem lead heading into the ninth end. They allowed a single in the ninth and a steal of one in the 10th but held on for the 5-4 win.

Lowry named to WHL All-star Team

Swift Current Broncos captain Adam Lowry was a unanimous selection as a WHL Eastern Conference First-Team All-Star.

Lowry was the only unanimous selection to either of the Conference First AllStar Team rosters. Lowry was joined on the Eastern Conference roster by forwards Curtis Valk (Medicine Hat), Michael St. Croix (Edmonton), defencemen Darren Dietz (Medicine Hat), Morgan Rielly (Moose Jaw), and goaltender Patrik Bartosak (Red Deer).

Lowry was the first Bronco named a First-Team All-Star since the 2003-04 season when forward Jeremy Williams led the WHL with 52 goals.

The Winnipeg Jets prospect was 12th in league points after scoring 45 goals and 43 assists for 88 points along with a +18 plus/minus rating. He was named the WHL Husky Player of the Month in December with 13 goals and eight assists in 11 games.

Shadows win bronze at 3A Hoopla

The Shaunavon Shadows boy’s basketball team earned a bronze medal at Hoopla in Saskatoon with an 81-74 win over Osler V.C.A. in the 3A Boys bronze medal game Saturday.

Grade 12 guard Matthew Benesh led the Shadows with 31 points in his final high school game.

The Shadows finished another outstanding season with a 30-7 record. They won four tournament titles, added three silver medals, and won bronze at Hoopla. The Shadows also won the SWAC league for the 16th time in the past 17 seasons that they have competed in the league.

April 4

Broncos can’t recover from game four OT heartbreak

The Swift Current Broncos season came to an end on March 28 with a 3-1 loss to the host Calgary Hitmen in game five of the best-of-seven Eastern Conference quarterfinal series.

The series was much closer that the 4-1 final win/loss total would suggest, as three games went to overtime.

The series may have officially concluded in Calgary but it essentially ended in Game Four when Calgary’s overtime winner, scored as the result of a gloved pass, ended the Broncos hopes of tying the series 2-2.

Wild ending to Midget A Provincial Playoffs

An outstanding playoff run from the Swift Current Midget A Wild came to a disappointing conclusion Wednesday in a blowout loss to the visiting Unity Lazers.

A talented Unity squad invaded the Credit Union iPlex for the second game of the two-game total-goals Provincial Championship series. They scored early and often on their way to a 12-1 win to take the series 17-5.

Peewee Ice Cats win Provincials

The Swift Current Pee Wee Provincial Ice Cats won the Provincial Female A Division on Sunday, March 24 in Lumsden. The two-game, total-goals series between the two teams saw Swift Current defeat Lumsden on March 23 at the iPlex with a score of 3-1.

May 2

14U Sundogs win bronze at Provincials

The 14U Junior SunDogs are provincial medalists after placing third out of 33 teams at the 2013 Provincial Volleyball Championship in Saskatoon.

May 9

Broncos opt to add offensive talent early in Bantam Draft

The Swift Current Broncos opted to add to their offensive arsenal when they used the 12th overall pick in the 2013 Western Hockey League Bantam Draft to select forward from Tyler Steenbergen.

The Sylvan Lake native tied for 15th in Alberta Major Bantam Hockey League scoring with 39 goals and 28 assists in 32 games for the Red Deer Rebels White.

The Broncos used their second round pick, 34th overall, to select left wing Cole Johnson from Marwayne, AB. The 5’10’’, 186pound forward was 12th in AMBHL scoring with 40 goals and 31 assists in 33 regular season games.

Lowry wins Four Broncos Memorial Trophy

In what could be Adam Lowry’s final act as a member of the Swift Current Broncos, the 19-year-old forward accepted the Four Broncos Memorial Trophy as the Western Hockey League Player of the Year Wednesday in Calgary at the WHL Awards Luncheon.

Lowry beat out Tri-City’s Justin Feser to become the first Bronco to win the Player of the Year Award since Sergei Varlamov in 1997-98.

The Broncos captain led the Broncos with 45 goals and 43 assists while appearing in all 72 games this season. He also posted a +18 rating and compiled 102 penalty minutes.

He was named the Husky WHL Player of the Month in December and was the only unanimous selection when he was named to the Eastern Conference First All-Star Team.

16U Junior Sundogs make Provincial final

The 16U Junior SunDogs men’s volleyball team concluded a wildly successful club season with a silver medal performance at Provincials in Saskatoon.

15U Sundogs earn bronze at Provincials

The 15U Junior SunDogs boys volleyball team brought home a bronze medal from the 11-team Provincial Championships in Saskatoon over the weekend.

May 16

Kosolofski caps career with third straight Provincial title

Fox Valley’s Spencer Kosolofski capped an incredible badminton career with a third straight gold medal at SHSAA Provincials in Wilcox Saturday.

His fourth straight provincial badminton medal came with unexpected challenges this season after his longtime boys doubles partner, Austin Dirk, opted not to return to the court to challenge for a third straight provincial title. With only one other senior badminton player in Fox Valley, Kosolofski chose to play mixed doubles with grade 12 Shannon Bakanec in their final season.

May 30

Two United teams win gold at Soccerfest

The 17th edition of the Southwest SoccerFest Classic proved to be the Swift Current United Soccer Club’s largest ever tournament with 34 teams from Saskatchewan, Alberta, and Manitoba in competition.

Two Swift Current United teams were able to win their home tournament. The Under-12 Boys United Red captured gold with a win over Kindersley Storm FC in a shootout. The Under-18 United Boys won their second straight tournament as they finished ahead of Kindersley and the second place Regina UCT Mustangs.

June 6

Redneck Betties knock off national champion Mindfox

The host Swift Current Redneck Betties roller derby team pulled off a major upset with a 205-165 win over the national champion Saskatoon Mindfox Saturday.

The Redneck Betties led from start to finish, including a 15-7 lead after the first jam and a 111-76 halftime lead in front of a boisterous crowd at the Credit Union iplex.

June 20

CHL moves to ban import goaltenders

It is possible that Eetu Laurikainen will be the final European goaltender to ever suit up for the Swift Current Broncos.

The Canadian Hockey League announced rule changes last week that will soon ban European goaltenders from playing in the three Major Junior Leagues in Canada.

Addressing a perceived lack of quality goaltending in Canada, the CHL announced that goaltenders will only be allowed to be selected in the first round of this year’s Import Draft, the final year they will be eligible to be selected.

July 4

Blue Jackets take Heatherington in second round

Swift Current Broncos defenseman Dillon Heatherington heard his name called at the National Hockey League Entry Draft Sunday. When the Columbus Blue Jackets called his name in the second round, 50th overall, Heatherington became the highest drafted Bronco in 13 years.

Heatherington led the Broncos with a plus-25 rating in 2012-13. The Calgary native nearly tripled his offensive production with four goals and 23 assists in 71 games on the Broncos blueline. The 6’4’’, 196-pound defenseman added 80 penalty minutes after registering 63 minutes during his rookie season.

July 11

Stellar soccer season

The Swift Current United Soccer Club’s Under-18 Boys won silver at the Saskatchewan Soccer Association’s Div II Provincials in Moose Jaw. Swift Current’s Sebastian Torres was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.

Broncos add intrigue in Import Draft

With both of their current imports entering their overage seasons, the Swift Current Broncos drafted a pair of 18-year-old Europeans in the 2013 Canadian Hockey League Import Draft last week.

Defenseman Richard Nedomlel and goaltender Eetu Laurikainen could both return next season, but with only two spots for imports and three for overagers available, and Nedomlel having signed with the Detroit Red Wings, the Broncos acted to add two potential options going forward.

They added Finnish defenseman Julius Honka with the 32nd pick and then drafted Belarusian forward Igor Leonenko 73rd overall in the second round.

July 25

Mosquito Indians three-peat at AA Provincials

The Swift Current Mosquito Indians capped an incredible season with a third straight Provincial AA title in Martensville.

The Indians defeated the rival Weyburn Beavers 11-3 in the final to clinch a third straight provincial title.

Bantam Indians earn silver at Provincials

The Swift Current Bantam Indians came up just short of a championship at the Bantam AA Provincials in North Battleford.

Swift Current met Melfort in the semifinal and advanced with a 7-3 win to set up a rematch against Muenster in the gold medal game where they lost.

August 8

Three Indians named to WMBL all-star team

A trio of Swift Current Indians were rewarded for standout regular season performances with Western Major Baseball League AllStar honours.

Outfielder Jake Gonzalez was named one of three outfielders on the First Team after finishing second in the league with 10 homeruns.

Indians starters Anthony Armanino and Chris Haddeland were among the four pitchers named to the First All-Star Team.

Broncos add three players in two trades

The Swift Current Broncos made headlines last week with a pair of trades that brought one promising defenseman and a pair of veteran forwards into the fold.

In a swap of first-round defencemen from the 2011 WHL Bantam Draft, the Broncos parted with 13th overall selection Zach Gonek to acquire 10th overall pick Jordan Harris from Prince George.

Swift Current continued to shuffle the deck by acquiring forwards Connor Sanvido and Andrew Johnson from Seattle. The move was partially in response to the confirmation of three forwards’ absences next season. Lamb confirmed that overager Brent Benson and Shea Howorko, 18, have both been forced to retire from hockey due to concussions.

Chambers wins PGA provincial championship

Jeff Chambers came out on top of 43 other golfers at the PGA Saskatchewan Championship at Cooke Municipal Golf Course in Prince Albert July 29-30.

Chambers, representing the Elmwood Golf and Country Club, was tied for top spot headed into the second round and fired a tournament low 68 to finish four-under-par for $2,800.

August 15

Indians eliminated in Game 5 by Melville

The Swift Current Indians’ season came to an end one win short of a Western Major Baseball League championship series appearance.

The Central Division champion Indians and East Division champion Melville Millionaires split the opening four games, each team winning once at home and once on the road.

The Tribe struggled to hit with runners in scoring position Saturday in a 5-1 loss to the visiting Millionaires in game five of the best-of-five WMBL semi-final series. The Indians knocked out 10 hits but stranded a total of 15 base runners to see their season come to an end.

CONTINUED ON PAGE 2

Organizations: Millar College of the Bible Edge, Great Plains College SunDogs, Baseball Canada Swift Current Comprehensive High School Senior Boys Basketball team Saskatchewan Female Midget AAA Hockey League Swift Current Curling Club Swift Current United Soccer Club Shaunavon Curling Club Frontier Curling Club Winnipeg Jets Columbus Blue Jackets Saskatchewan Soccer Association Elmwood Golf and Country Club Swift Current Trap Club Swift Current Broncos Hockey Club Moose Jaw High School Soccer League Moose Jaw High School Football League Fox Valley Legends Swift Current Indians Western Major Baseball League

Geographic location: Swift Current, Bronco Nation, Finland Fox Valley Saskatchewan Glentworth Southwest Saskatchewan Shaunavon

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