Nipawin Hawks (RW)
As a rookie winger, Keegan Kjargaard brings a lot to the table for the Nipawin Hawks.
The 18-year-old Prince Albert product is coming off a national championship season as he was instrumental in helping the Mintos capture the Telus Cup title last April in Moose Jaw. Kjargaard also starred in the classroom as he was a finalist for an Esso Scholarship presented during the Western Regional tournament played in Prince Albert prior to the national event.
At 5-foot-9 and 167 pounds Kjargaard brings to the Hawks a lot of speed and tenacity around the puck. In 43 regular-season games with the Mintos last year Kjargaard had 14 goals and 28 assists while adding three assists in four Western Regional tilts and two goals and two helpers in the gruelling week-long Telus Cup tournament.
Those numbers were a huge improvement from his rookie campaign with the Mintos in 2012-13 where he netted just four goals and added six assists in the same amount of regular-season games.
Kjargaard got his first taste of Junior “A” hockey last season when he scored once in two appearances with the Hawks and while he has just one assist in his first two games this year, Nipawin has a player who will show up every night and once he gets accustomed to the level of play he should be someone that is counted on in many key situations.
Melville Millionaires (RW)
If Reed Murray picks up where his season ended last year the Melville Millionaires should have no worries about putting the puck in the net.
The 20-year-old Calgary native had five goals in Melville’s playoff run to the league final last spring and while that might not sound like much it was nearly half of what he scored in the regular season in a quarter as many games.
The 5-foot-11, 185-pound winger had five goals and three assists in the 12 Millionaire playoff contests while in 51 regular-season games he notched 13 tallies and set up 19 others in his first tour of the SJHL.
Murray had previously played a dozen Junior “A” games when he suited up for the Alberta Junior Hockey League’s Calgary Canucks in 2012-13, but he spent most of that year playing Junior “B” in his hometown before relocating to Saskatchewan as a 19-year-old.
In his final year of midget eligibility in 2011-12 Murray toiled with the Calgary Buffaloes of the Alberta Midget AAA Hockey League and in 34 games recorded nine goals and nine assists. He also got in three games with the AJHL’s Canmore Eagles, but was held off the scoresheet.
Already having recorded a pair of assists in Melville’s first two games this year, Murray is expected to put up some good numbers and the Millionaires will be looking to him to provide some valuable leadership as well as he tries to help that franchise win its first championship in his final year at the junior level.
Notre Dame Hounds, G
After splitting time with Brett Soles last season, Alexi Thibaudeau appears to be the man between the Notre Dame Hounds' pipes this season. Thibaudeau got off to a smoking start, making 28/29 saves on Saturday, and 41/42 Sunday, in a pair of 2-1 victories over the Humboldt Broncos, to begin the season at 2-0. The Hounds bring back plenty of veterans at all positions, and there's plenty of reason for optimism in the early going of 2014-2015.
Battlefords North Stars, D
Wadena, SK product Michael Statchuk returns to his home province to wrap up his Junior career. Statchuk spent the past two seasons with the Vernon Vipers of the BCHL, including last season when the Vipers hosted the RBC Cup. He had 3-goals and 11-points in Vernon last season, and was a top recruit after three stellar seasons of AAA Midget hockey, including a 39-point season with the Prince Albert Mintos in 2011-2012. The 2009 5th round pick of the Saskatoon Blades will provide some stability to a North Stars blue line that saw some key parts move on due to graduation.
Humboldt Broncos, Coach/GM
The SJHL salutes Dean Brockman for 17 years of service with the Humboldt Broncos. After 7 years as an Assistant and 10 more as Head Coach & GM, Brockman is joining the WHL's Saskatoon Blades as an Assistant Coach under new Coach/GM Bob Woods. Brockman was Bob Beatty's Assistant when the Broncos won the SJHL and Royal Bank Cups in 2003, and led them to three straight league titles in 2007, 2008 and 2009, including another RBC Championship in 2008 in Cornwall, Ontario.