Second half of 2018 had many sports highlights

The months of July through December featured a lot of big events in the local sporting world. Many things captured the attention of local sports fans and followers as the months went on.

July:

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Estevan hosted provincial indoor lacrosse provincials for peewee, bantam and midget age groups. The local lacrosse association’s Voltz fielded teams in peewee and bantam, and the bantam Voltz won B-side gold. “This was a great way for the boys to finish their year,” said bantam Voltz head coach Dion Wagstaff, whose team got to use the Power Dodge Estevan Bruins dressing room for their final game. “It was just a good exclamation mark on a great regular season.” The peewee Voltz won the B-side silver. “The kids came out hard and we took a Saskatoon team which picked up players to a fourth period,” said peewee head coach Trevor McNabb. “The kids fell hard but we just ran out of gas at the end. It was a great, fun season with these kids.”

The Saskatchewan Swat selected Kaden Chrest of the bantam Voltz in the first ever bantam draft for junior A lacrosse players. “They’ll bring the top 10 kids over the winter, and work with the junior A kids that they have in their program. It’s a developmental thing, is what they’re trying to do,” said Kaden’s father, Blaine Chrest.

An Estevan quartet featuring TS&M Woodlawn Golf Course president Jeff Ward won the PGA-Sask Scramble event at Woodlawn in early July. “We all have different skill sets,” Ward said. “We’re all pretty good off the tee so getting the minimum three drives per person wasn’t as difficult as maybe some teams have. We have some people that are fairly good from the fairway in so we gave ourselves some birdie putting opportunities and we drained quite a few of those that were pretty lengthy.” They would go to the Royal Regina course for a regional event in September with the goal of hitting nationals in Nova Scotia.

The Southeast Performance Pump Twins lost in the final of the midget AA baseball provincials in Unity.  “There was a lot of emotions there with the players there that were on our team last year and of course the players from Weyburn that are on our team. It was more of an emotional game than it needed to be but it is what it is,” said Twins assistant coach Kent Phillips. “The focus for the weekend was making it to Sunday,” Phillips said. “If you’ve made it to Sunday, that means you played well enough on the weekend that anything can happen in that final game.”

The Estevan Drillers hosted over-45 Twilite Masters at Mets Field at Woodlawn Regional Park. “The ball teams like to come here,” said tourmament organizer Joe Lingelbach. “It’s a smaller diamond and it’s got a grass infield. You don’t get many bad hops. If you get a guy falling down in the outfield, it’s not a bad injury it’s just bouncing back up.” The Drillers lost the C final 13-0 to the Weyburn Merchants. 

The Estevan Tap House Wolves celebrated their second consecutive Harbourne Cup championship for winning the final of the Saskota Baseball League. They beat the Oxbow Chiefs 3-0 in the final game. “It was kind of nerve-wracking because they were the top seed this year and everyone kind of saw how good of a hitting team they are,” said Wolves catcher Jolen Lingenbach. “We had a one-run game and a two-run game against them this year so we knew they were a really good team and we would need a lot of good pitching to keep them down.”

August:

Weyburn’s Rick Hallberg won the Frametech Classic at the TS&M Woodlawn Golf Course with a three-day total of 65-74-69-208 for a four-stroke victory over Daryl Donovan and Carson Harcourt. “I was just trying to play solid golf,” Hallberg said. “There was such a good field down here and in the championship there were 12 guys in there and anyone could win it. They’re all really good players. I guess it was my weekend. Another weekend, somebody else probably wins.” Hallberg also won the Dave Price Memorial Horse Race, a golf event at the course which was put on hold for an hour while a drenching thunderstorm hit the area. “I’ve won this horse race several times before but this one meant more than anything,” said Hallberg. “It’s for Davey.”

The Baseball Canada Cup was a great experience for local coach Blaine Kovach and umpire Kevin Culy. Kovach was the assistant coach for the Team Saskatchewan, which had won gold the previous year, and Culy worked one of the semifinal games at the annual midget-aged tournament that took place Aug. 8-12 in Moncton, N.B. “It’s great to see pitchers out there throwing 91, 92 miles an hour regularly, and hitters are out there hitting home runs and doubles, guys are fast,” said Kovach, at the time, the head coach of the Southeast Performance Pump Twins’ midget AAA team based in Estevan. “It was a really good experience and a really good time.”

Estevan’s Hunter Chipley won gold and silver at the Canadian Archery Championships in Truro, N.S. “The first day was really windy, probably 20-mile an hour gusts,” Chipley said. He was in the cadet recurve division of the field competition and won silver there, while he also spent two days at the double 720 target competition, shooting 72 arrows a day at a distance of 60 metres to win gold. “It was blowing more that what most people were used to. I had all my form working and I didn’t have to worry about what was working (with that). I just had to remember to keep my head in the game and focus on where my arrows were landing.”

With a lot still on the line in most classes, championship night at the Estevan Motor Speedway Saturday was full of drivers in all four classes looking to make their presence known on championship night. Minot’s Robby Rosselli won the sport mods, Leevi Runge won the hobby stocks, Jeremy Swanson won the street stocks and Chris Hortness won the modifieds series. Hortness’ victory in the series meant he was the model of consistency as he never won a feature race at EMS this year. The slingshots class was won by Ryder Raynard.

September:

Two exciting evenings of rodeo thrilled crowds on Labour Day weekend once again at the 2018 Estevan Exhibition CCA Rodeo. The rodeo is one of the last stops on the Canadian Cowboys Association Tour and competitors earned points that they hoped would get them in the top 10 for the CCA finals later this fall in Swift Current.

The Estevan Mermaids said goodbye to their former head coach as she moved to other career opportunities in Saskatoon, but Brenda Lyons will carry with her the countless memories made with the synchronized swimming team. “That was probably one of the hardest parts about making the decision to move from Estevan,” she said. “Estevan had been my home for over 25 years and I probably spent a dozen of those years as a member of the Estevan Mermaids club.

“I had the privilege of working with some amazing young women over the dozen years and making some really good friends in the club.”

The Estevan Elecs football team doused their coach Mark Schott with Gatorade after the team won their first game in two years, 26-7 over the Vanier Vikings at home.  “It’s really amazing to come out here and win another game when a lot of people look at Estevan and think that we’re just underdogs,” said Elecs player Jonah Bachorcik. “But to come out here and show how great of a team we really are this year it’s just awesome.” The Elecs only had four first downs in the first half. “(There were) a lot of mix ups, a lot of people being in new positions having to learn new plays,” said Bachorcik. “We adjusted and we adapted and got used to how we played. We picked up on their defence and we just did what we could.”

The Power Dodge Estevan Bruins won a pair of games over the Melville Millionaires to start the 2018-19 SJHL season. “Melville played hard and they didn’t go away,” said Bruins head coach and general manager Chris Lewgood. “The good news is we didn’t get scored on a lot this weekend for any reason we should be alarmed about. We had some breakdowns that were mental errors and things that come from playing hockey at this time of year.”

Unfortunately, Bruins forward Matthew Chekay had to retire due to an accumulation of concussions. “It’s not an easy decision, but after careful consideration, I’ve decided it is in my long-term best interest to move on from contact hockey,” said Chekay in a press release from the Bruins.

October

The Estevan Meter peewee AA Bruins lost the third place game, 4-3 in overtime, of their home tournament to the Weyburn Red Wings. “I think our whole weekend was good (even though) our record doesn’t indicate how well we played,” said Bruins head coach Aren Miller. “We never gave up more than four goals in a game. We told the kids that three-on-three here is getting the game over with because we’re tight on ice time. If we had kept playing five-on-five I think we win that game for sure.”

The Esetvan Curling Club hosted their annual open house where curlers got to test out the ice – and the new carpet beside the ice – for free. “With league play starting (this month), not many of our players have had the opportunity to be out on the ice this year,” said the club’s Pauline Ziehl Grimsrud. “We wanted people to come out and get their legs under them. The leagues start (Tuesday) night and also the ice is green.

More people are coming out for pool leagues in Estevan, as evidenced by the busier nights for pool at the city’s bars. “It was about two years ago… I always bumped into the same people but they were never in a league,” said Dave Dayman, local pool organizer.  There are two leagues in town on Monday nights and Tuesday nights and the ranking is a little bit different for each league. Monday has a five-person team with fluke shots and Tuesday is a four-person team with called shots.

November

The Estevan atom tier one Western Star Signature Hotel Bruins had a dramatic B-side gold medal final victory against the Weyburn Red Wings, with a wild third period on the scoresheet at Affinity Place in their home tournament early this month. “The guys played well, they played the full 60 minutes we’ve been trying to get the entire year,” said Bruins head coach Andrew Tait after their 4-3 win. The team was undefeated in the round robin, beating Moose Jaw 11-5 and the Regina Mustangs 8-5, while tying the Minot Wolves 5-5. Minot went to the A-side final based on the goals-against tiebreaker.

The Estevan Minor Box Lacrosse Association capped the year by handing out its second annual awards. The bantam Voltz team went undefeated in league play and the bantam, peewee and atom Voltz teams hosted provincials in the summer. Mark Tribiger won the Harris Oilfield volunteer of the year, Kelsey Magnien won the TS&M female player of the year, Chase Foord won the TS&M male player of the year and Jase Malaryk won the Fast Trucking official of the year. Dion Wagstaff was named the JL’s Bike & Skate coach of the year.

The Elecs football team handed out their awards on the season, with Jonah Bachorcik taking both offensive and defensive player of the year as well as most valuable player. “Just coming up to the team this year, I knew I wanted to play an important role on the team but I didn’t think this much,” said Bachorcik, who played nearly every down on the season. “I love my team so much for sticking with me through the year.” The Elecs suffered through an injury-plagued 2018 season but won their first game in two seasons. “Everyone on our team knew that the road ahead became more challenging,” Schott said about the injuries. “But they also knew that complaining or pouting about it wouldn’t help the situation at all.”

Estevan’s Brent Gedak skipped the winning rink at a Saskatchewan Men’s Curling Tour Event in Moose Jaw. Winning this particular event doesn’t quite give an automatic berth into the Tankard but it does get Gedak a lot closer with the 10 tour points that are awarded to the winner.

December

Jennifer Jones and Mark Jacobs skipped rinks that won the Home Hardware Canada Cup at Affinity Place. “We got a nice early deuce and really controlled that game. I’m just really proud of the way the three guys in front of me played all week,” said Jacobs, who won 8-7 over Kevin Koe. “Getting one in the five-rock rule is always challenging, to hold them to not take two in the last end,” said Jones after getting the trophy. “We thought it was worth the risk and I like throwing that shot. It looked good out of my hand and we knew it was going to be close. I just wasn’t sure if we would stick the shooter,” said Jones, who won 8-5 over Kerri Einarson.

The new timing system was an issue in the final, however. An internal review by Curling Canada indicated Koe should have had a different time allowed on his final stone of the fifth end of the men’s final. The event was the first to use a set amount of time per end, rather than for the whole game, and many skips complained throughout the week about the time. The clock showed Koe had two seconds left for the shot but an investigation concluded he had 11, and the situation was called ‘an officiating mistake’ by Curling Canada in a statement they released in December.

Dustin Kalthoff won a spot at the Tankard with a win at the Saskatchewan Curling Tour event at the Power Dodge Ice Centre. “We tried to catch on to the ice as best we could, as soon as possible,” said Kalthoff. “The ice was really good with lots of curl, which is nice to see. You don’t always see that on the SCT.”

Jack McGeough committed to the University of Saskatchewan for their volleyball program for the 2019-20 season. “They have a pretty new group of young guys there,” said McGeough, a 6’9” middle blocker who has been a member of the ECS Elecs and the Southeast Giants in club volleyball in recent years. “They recently got a new coach there and I thought that would be a good thing. He’s pretty experienced.” Saskatchewan Roughriders voice Rod Pedersen released a compilation book of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League’s history entitled ‘Heart & Soul of the SJHL’. “I started asking people in each community who would be the best to write that for each club,” said Pedersen.

© Copyright Estevan Mercury

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