It was nice to finally see real scores from games that mattered in the world of local sports, especially when it came to the Kindersley Jr. Klippers of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League, and Kindersley Stallions of the North Saskatchewan River Baseball League.
Read a 2021 recap of west central’s two most busy teams this year below:
Kindersley Jr. Klippers
The Kindersley Jr. Klippers have seen tons of roster turnover since the pandemic began, something that’s not surprising considering the teams roster mentality, and fact that almost two years have gone by the wayside and ate away at the older SJHL players eligibility as an older age player.
Klippers Head Coach and General Manager Ken Plaquin only got a few games with his new team before the original league shutdown, and subsequent cancellation at the start of 2021, and has used the time to reform the Klippers roster into a fast and talented team, complete with some exciting young and local talent.
Back in January the official word came out that the Saskatchewan government would be assisting the provinces junior leagues with funding, as $1 million went directly to the SJHL. That news was likely followed by looking into plans on how to get players back on the ice to complete a season, and that did happen, but only for the provinces WHL teams as Major Junior got the go ahead that the SJHL would not.
With a bubble style environment for SJHL players teased to take place in Weyburn, players from around town returned to the ice, while others from out of town planned their trips back to Kindersley. Coach Plaquin would eventually get some players back on the ice, but all of the practice was for not as the SJHL season was ultimately cancelled late in March, almost a month after the original Return to Play Proposal was submitted to the government by the SJHL.
The Klippers coach was rather disappointed with the decision, as the plan to play in Weyburn seemed like a pretty solid one, that seemed like it had legs when looking at the governments decision to go ahead with the WHLs bubble. As a coach he was devastated with the decision, not for his sake, but for the players as many of them had their final year of hockey ripped away for nothing. Not only that, but most players were quarantined at home since at least March 2nd, making his teams mental health also a big factor according to Plaquin.
With the news set in stone, the team would turn its focus to next season. During the SJHL pause a few of the Klippers graduating players would make their next move. Klippers assistant captains Kyle Ford and Eric Sorensen each committed to their respective colleges where they would continue their hockey career. In the meantime the Klippers had began making moves, signing a few young blue-liners, a Calgary area prospect, and another player from Calgary who actually cracked the team this year in Carson Baylis.
The team was quiet for a while before making a big splash, that has paid off well for the team so far as rookie and Kindersley local Tylin Hilbig has been an amazing acquisition for his hometown team. His brother Ethan also cracked the Klippers roster, and all of that home cooking has inspired Hilbig to a team leading 12 goals and 21 points in the SJHL’s first half of the 2021-2022 season.
Other moves from the Klippers in the off-season saw them sign another prospect defenseman in Josh Danis, while also announcing the hiring of trainer Kacey Marcinkiw, and a re-signing of assistant coach Mitch Topinka.
After a quiet summer the Klippers got back to their phones in August, trading away 2002 born forward Boston Maxwell to the Melfort Mustangs in exchange for a player-development fee. A month later the Klippers would acquire a forward to fill the open spot, Cash Arntsen, an SJHL rookie who has performed admirably this year as a player who became a fan favourite right away with his gritty style of play.
The many new Jr. Klipper faces were ready to go by training camp, with a few key returning players in Jaxon Georget, Logan Linklater, and goaltender Matthew Pesenti expected to be big pieces this year. Defenseman Mark Snarr was another player who had big expectations to start the year as he was named captain, and after the Klippers slow start to the year, coach Plaquin began to turnover his roster starting with a trade of his captain along with another strong defensive piece to Melfort. Kindersley would acquire Unity product Karson Blanchette in the deal, and another signing later on saw them bring in a AAA goaltender from Swift Current who they hope cracks the team next year.
With the season finally here the team has been riding a wave all year, with inconsistent performances to stake them to a 12-18-1 record headed into the new year. Nonetheless, it has been a fun year of Klippers hockey so far, with a brand new marketing department complete with the teams new play-by-play announcer and West Central Online’s own Nick Nielsen adding a broadcast element to the team.
The Jr. Klippers will not be back on the ice until January 5th as players return home from their holiday break. They will open up against this years Centennial Cup hosts in the Estevan Bruins, as the second half of hockey looks to be nice to the young Klippers as the young team continues to grow under Head Coach Ken Plaquin.
More Klipper content from the past year is available at the bottom of the page.
BONUS: Kindersley Stallions
The Kindersley Stallions were unable to make it to the big dance in their first year in the NSRBL, making it an important goal for the team to win the title in their second year in the league. The Stallions have never lacked confidence, and saw an impressive start to their championship season starting 5-1, only to meet up with an impressive Wilkie Brewers team that would end up in first place to end the year.
The Stallions were unfortunately saddled with a loss as the team celebrated their Nickelback night later on against the Border City Blue Jays, but the team was still in a good mindset headed into playoffs.
The entire NSRBL playoff picture from this season can be viewed here, as it was an exciting time that saw Kindersley and Wilkie face off in a second round series, only to have the NSRBL title in sight after a sweep of the first place Brewers.
The team ponied up for their parade after an exhilarating Championship Series against the Standard Hill Lakers, that was helped in large part thanks to starting pitcher Kyle Donaldson staying hot after dominating the opening rounds, and slugger Dylan Flasch doing his part as well. Flasch was a big key to the Stallions lineup as a power threat, but the team might need to look into replacing his important bat as the teams superhero has an uncertain future.
They will have a chance to defend their title next year, as the it only took two years for the young team out of Kindersley to conquer the northern league, and make a name for themselves in the stables for years to come.
MORE KLIPPER CONTENT