The SJHL's Melfort Mustangs are now back home after their run at the Centennial Cup in Oakville, Ontario. The Mustangs carried momentum from their Canterra Seeds Cup victory to begin May, all the way to the tournament finals, the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League's second appearance in the CJHL's gold medal game in as many years.

The Mustangs, who lost a 1-0 to the OJHL's Collingwood Blues in the championship game, joined the Battlefords North Stars as the last two year's runners up. Even though the last two trips have only resulted in silver medals, the two contending squads have done nothing but make the league proud.

thumbnail_image0 (2).jpg Kerrobert's Austin Shepherd and Macklin's Kaden Veller, after facing off in a preliminary round game

Commissioner of the SJHL Kyle McIntyre was honoured to be in attendance every step of the way at this year's Centennial Cup, and provided his thoughts on the 10+ day stretch in Ontario.

"The community of Oakville did an outstanding job hosting the Centennial Cup." said McIntyre, giving a shoutout to the other nine teams in attendance, playing the over 25 games between May 9-19. McIntyre was glad to see Melfort made for a very-worthy addition to the pack of champions, calling them excellent ambassadors on and off the ice.

Although the SJHL hasn't been able to claim gold the past two seasons, McIntyre says it's still tremendous for the league.

"Unfortunately we have been the bridesmaids in both those events, but it really speaks to the high caliber in the league, and the high caliber of the teams that have represented the SJHL in the past couple of years."

Its a big deal anytime a team advances to the National championship. While hockey was the main focus of the trip, McIntyre shared that the Saskatchewan champs made the most of their time out east. 

"A by-product of travelling out east, like a lot of kids on the Melfort Mustangs, if they weren't there for that event they would have never gotten the opportunity." said McIntyre, as their Toronto area trip included a trip to a Blue Jays game, and the Hockey Hall of Fame. "I think that coach Blevins and coach Scherger recognized that this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and trip for some of these players.

They made it more than just hockey, wanted to take in some festivities, and events, and attractions in the Toronto area.

438174480_829011742587957_7436905755307007290_n.jpgMcIntyre (left) and Mustangs assistant coach in Macklin's Tye Scherger (right) enjoying a Blue Jays game during an off day at the Centennial Cup (Photo via SJHL on Facebook)

As you can see above, McIntyre was lucky enough to experience the team bonding first hand.

"Fortunately for me they invited the commissioner to be part of it. Tye Scherger and I enjoyed sitting by third base and watching the game."

It was a memorable experience for McIntyre, who made his first trip to Rogers Centre. The commish can only imagine how the players feel.

"Some of the camaraderie and friendships that were built as a result will probably continue for the rest of those players lives. A real neat thing, that sometimes you can have a life experience outside of hockey. Hockey can be the vehicle for those experiences."

Now with the CJHL season complete, preparations for next season have already begun. WestCentralOnline gained some insight from McIntyre into June 11th's SJHL draft, and more can be expected as we move into next month.