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    SPOTLIGHT ON OUR YOUNG GUNS

    Keaton Holinaty, F
    Battlefords North Stars

    by Dave Leaderhouse

    The Battlefords North Stars made relatively short work in capturing their first Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League championship in 17 years outscoring their opponents 63-25 in winning all 12 games they played in the post-season.
    The North Stars’ top two offensive players from the regular season – Coby Downs and Layne Young – were front and center in the playoffs amassing impressive 25 and 23-point totals, respectively, but it was Keaton Holinaty who lead the way in goal production as the overage forward potted 10 goals in the 12-game sweep enroute to claiming the championship.
    The 6-foot-2, 200-pound Holinaty certainly found a home in the Battlefords this year as the just-turned 21-year-old had career bests in every category in his final year of junior hockey.
    The Hardisty, Alta., product played in 56 regular-season games with the North Stars netting 20 goals and setting up 15 others. In 98 games with the Drumheller Dragons of the Alberta Junior Hockey League during the previous two seasons, Holinaty managed just seven goals and 16 helpers offering moderate expectations when he first arrived in the Battlefords last fall.
    Being on one of the most explosive teams in the entire Canadian Junior Hockey League, Holinaty was given opportunities in every situation and he answered the call admirably scoring 12 goals while playing with the man advantage in the regular season and adding four more on the power play in the playoffs.
    Prior to embarking on his junior career, Holinaty spent two seasons at the Midget AA level in Wainwright, Alta., where he more than held his own scoring 53 goals and assisting on 30 more in just 55 regular-season games. Holinaty also spent one season with the Camrose Midget Kodiaks where again he showed his offensive capabilities collecting 33 points in 38 games.
    The North Stars continue their quest for an RBC championship this weekend when they begin play at the Western Canada Cup in Penticton and they will need continued secondary scoring from players like Holinaty to secure one of the two berths available for the national tournament in Cobourg, Ont., early next month.

    Logan Nachtegaele, F
    Battlefords North Stars

    by Dave Leaderhouse

    The last time the Battlefords North Stars won a Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League championship Logan Nachtegaele was just three years old, but now 17 years later the homegrown forward is playing a key role in helping the club continue its quest for a national title.
    The 6-foot, 180-pound winger played in 46 games with the North Stars during the regular season, his third with the team, and while his numbers paled to those of others on the club Nachtegaele had three game-winning tallies and provided plenty of support for a team that was by far the best defensively in the entire league.
    Nachtegaele finished the regular campaign with seven goals and eight assists, but in the playoffs he has upped his level of play by registering seven points in 12 post-season tilts.
    Nachtegaele has been a mainstay in his hometown for his entire career having played 129 games over the last three years with the North Stars and prior to that there was one season with the Battlefords Stars of the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League preceded by a campaign with the Battlefords Barons of the Centre-Four Hockey League Midget AA loop.
    Always a role player, Nachtegaele has performed his duties very admirably at every level and the North Stars will be relying on him to continue doing what he does best as they prepare to take the next step towards a national championship when they open the Western Canada Cup in Penticton on Saturday against the host British Columbia Hockey League champions.

    FACES IN THE GLASS

    JUSTIN BUZZEO
    Humboldt / Yorkton (Alumni)

    by Craig Stein

    In just two seasons in the SJHL, Ontario product Justin Buzzeo certainly left his mark, and six years later he's got a college degree and still playing pro.  Buzzeo joined the Humboldt Broncos as a 19-year-old back in 2009-2010 where he put up 20-goals and 53-points.  The following year he was traded along with Jeremy Boyer to Yorkton just prior to the trade deadline and Buzzeo racked up 33-goals and 89-points in 60 games between the Broncos and Terriers.  After four full seasons of Division I NCAA hockey at Ferris State, where he put up 68-points in 122 games, the now 27-year-old finds himself just wrapping up his second full season in the ECHL, and was moved from the Atlanta Gladiators to the Orlando Solar Bears in midway through this season.  He had 63-points in 69-games this regular season.

    BRAYDON BUZIAK
    Battlefords / Regina (WHL)

    by Craig Stein

    The Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League is a developmental league, and while often times that means moving players onto the college, university or professional level after age 20, it can also mean moving a youngster on to Major Junior.  That was the case for 18-year-old Braydon Buziak.  After a 19 point (6g-13a) season as a 17-year-old with Battlefords a year ago, Buziak missed the opportunity to win a Canalta Cup with his hometown North Stars, but his season could be just as long or longer, as he's currently in the Western Hockey League Eastern Conference Final as a member of the Regina Pats.  Buziak had 11-goals and 15-points with the Pats this season, and added a goal in Game 4 of the Eastern Final against Lethbridge.

    CHRIS KUNITZ
    Melville / Pittsburgh Penguins

    by Craig Stein

    Former Melville Millionaire Chris Kunitz finds himself in this space most years at this time, as his Pittsburgh Penguins always seem to be the mix for a Stanley Cup.  Kunitz spent his 18 and 19-year-old seasons with Melville in the late 1990's, tearing up the league to the tune of 88-goals and 146-points over two seasons.  That earned him a four year ride to Ferris State (NCAA) and eventually a long and decorated NHL career.  Kunitz has sipped from Lord Stanley's mug three times, once with Anaheim and twice with Pittsburgh, and they're poised for another run.  He also added Olympic gold to the trophy case in 2014.  Kunitz, who turns 38 this September, managed 29 points this season in more of a depth role, not on his familiar wing with Sidney Crosby for a good part of the year.


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    please contact Logan Fraser @ 306-596-1689 or email logan@fraserstrategy.ca