By Dave Leaderhouse
The Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League will finish the 2017 portion of the schedule with two teams in the top 10 of the weekly Canadian Junior Hockey League rankings.
The Battlefords North Stars, who have points in their last six games, moved up a couple of spots to No. 6 while the Nipawin Hawks, who are on a 15-game tear with at least one point, are now in the No. 10 position – a move of three spots from a week ago.
The North Stars maintain the higher ranking due to the fact that they have three games in hand on Nipawin and only trail the front-running Hawks by four points. The Battlefords have opened a four-point cushion over the Notre Dame Hounds for the Global Ag Risk Solutions Division lead while the Hawks are now seven points clear of the Melfort Mustangs for top spot in the Sherwood Division standings in addition to having the most points overall.
Melfort, which held the overall and Sherwood Division leads for the majority of the first half before Nipawin caught on fire, received an honourable mention in the CJHL’s weekly rankings – the same acknowledgement they received a week ago.
CJHL 2017-18 TOP 20 (As of Dec. 18/17)
RANK TEAM (LEAGUE) (LAST RANKING)
1. Thief River Falls Norskies (SIJHL) (2)
2. Carleton Place Canadians (CCHL) (1)
3. Les Cobras de Terrebonne (LHJAAAQ) (3)
4. Okotoks Oilers (AJHL) (4)
5. Powassan Voodoos (NOJHL) (5)
6. Battlefords North Stars (SJHL) (8)
7. Fort McMurray Oil Barons (AJHL) (6)
8. College Français de Longueuil (LHJAAAQ) (10)
9. Ottawa Jr. ‘A’ Senators (CCHL) (7)
10. Nipawin Hawks (SJHL) (13)
11. Steinbach Pistons (MJHL) (12)
12. Dryden GM Ice Dogs (SIJHL) (11)
13. Toronto Patriots (OJHL) (9)
14. Edmundston Blizzard (MHL) (19)
15. Vernon Vipers (BCHL (15)
16. Soo Thunderbirds (NOJHL) (17)
17. Spruce Grove Saints (AJHL) (14)
18. Wellington Dukes (OJHL) (20)
19. Penticton Vees (BCHL) (18)
20. Oakville Blades (OJHL) (16)
Honourable Mention: Wenatchee Wild (BCHL); Brooks Bandits (AJHL); Melfort Mustangs (SJHL); North York Rangers (OJHL); Yarmouth Jr. ‘A’ Mariners (MHL)
ABOUT THE CJHL RANKINGS
Selected by an independent scouting service, the rankings are based upon a variety of factors.
The initial CJHL Top 20 for 2018 will be announced on Monday, January 8.
ABOUT THE CJHL
The Canadian Junior Hockey League is made up of the 10 Junior ‘A’ leagues across Canada.
Representing 132 teams and over 3,000 players, the CJHL also boast over 2,800 alumni furthering their hockey careers at the NHL, AHL, ECHL, CHL, NCAA and CIS level across North America.