The SJHL Power Rankings are back for the 2022-2023 season. The power rankings are not just the standings in the league, but are based off of how teams are playing, strength of schedule, match-ups and much more. They are also decided by a group of broadcasters in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League and will be released weekly, every Tuesday. Below are the first power rankings for this season.
1. Humboldt Broncos (8-0-0-0) – It has truly been an incredible start to the 22/23 season for the Humboldt Broncos. The club just finished off a stretch where they played 7 games in 10 days, including 3 games in 3 nights all on the road and came out with victories in all of them. Captain Ethan Zielke has led the way for the Broncos and sits at the top of the SJHL scoring leaders with 14 points and was named SGEU MVP of the Week. After an extremely busy stretch, the Humboldt Broncos will get a much deserved break and won’t be back on the ice until October 11th when they play host to the La Ronge Ice Wolves.
2. Battlefords North Stars (7-0-0-0) – The only other undefeated team remaining in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League comes in at #2. Like Humboldt, the Battlefords North Stars have come out flying to start the season. The Stars are the 2nd highest scoring team so far in the SJHL this year with big names like Steve Kesslering, Keiton Klein, and Jake Southgate. However, where the Stars have really excelled early on is keeping the puck out of their net. Going into Tuesday’s (Oct 4th) action, the Stars have allowed just 12 goals against in 7 games. The Stars are looking to remain undefeated this week as they visit La Ronge on Tuesday and then host Weyburn for a pair of games on Friday and Saturday.
3. Yorkton Terriers (4-1-0-0) – The Yorkton Terriers have been the least busy out of all of the teams in the SJHL so far this season, but so far they have impressed many to start the campaign. While their last game was a 2-1 loss to the Kindersley Klippers on Day 2 of the SJHL Showcase, the Terriers have shown they have been a very difficult team to score against allowing just 9 goals in 5 games. Newcomer Caleb Allen has been superb for the Terriers and has been in between the pipes for all 4 of their wins this season. Yorkton will return to the ice for the first time in 11 days on Friday when they begin a home and home with their Highway 10 rivals, the Melville Millionaires.
4. Flin Flon Bombers (4-1-1-1) – Another team off to a good start to the season is the Flin Flon Bombers. There was some worry at the beginning of the campaign that the Bombers had only scored 5 times in 3 games going into the 2022 SJHL Showcase, but a trip to Warman got the Bombers offence firing on all cylinders. The Bombers earned a pair of wins at the Showcase and then followed it up with 3 out of 4 points this weekend at home. Flin Flon will continue their four game homestand on Friday when they welcome the Kindersley Klippers to the Whitney Forum for a pair of games.
5. Melfort Mustangs (3-3-2-0) – It has been an up and down start to the season for the Melfort Mustangs, and the defending Sherwood division champs haven’t had an easy start to the campaign. A pair of games against Humboldt, two against Battlefords and then mix in some games against the Flin Flon Bombers and the La Ronge Ice Wolves and the Mustangs have had one of the more difficult schedules to start the season. What makes matters worse, is they have been without their Captain Ben Tkachuk for the past two games. However, despite the difficult schedule and the injuries, the Mustangs are 2nd in the Sherwood division. They will be in Melville to take on the Millionaires Tuesday, visit La Ronge Friday and host Estevan Saturday.
6. La Ronge Ice Wolves (3-3-1-0) – The Sherwood division as of today (Oct 4th) is the tightest division in the SJHL and the La Ronge Ice Wolves are right in the thick of things. Led by solid goaltending from 19-year-old netminder Dawson Smith, the Ice Wolves have caused problems for a number of teams in the league this year. However, they are on a bit of slide, losing their last 3, all to the Humboldt Broncos. It doesn’t get any easier for the Wolves as they continue their four game homestand Tuesday night against the undefeated Battlefords North Stars and then finish their stretch at home Friday night against Melfort.
7. Melville Millionaires (2-3-1-0) – While the Melville Millionaires may be at the bottom of the Viterra division, many of their losses this season have been tight hockey games which the club has been right in. The Mills are coming off a 2-1 loss to the Weyburn Red Wings Saturday evening, but had a great showing at the SJHL Showcase where they earned 3 out of a possible four points thanks to a win over Notre Dame and an overtime loss to Flin Flon. The Millionaires have a big weekend ahead of them as they play their first two games of the year against their Highway 10 rivals in a home and home.
8. Nipawin Hawks (3-4-1-0) – If one thing is for sure through 8 games, the Nipawin Hawks are playing a much different style of hockey for Head Coach and General Manager Tad Kozun. In his first full season as the Hawks Head Coach, Nipawin is playing a fast, upbeat style which is seeing them create plenty of offence. With the Sherwood division being as tight as it is early on, the Hawks can make up some significant ground this weekend when they play three games in three nights against Notre Dame, Weyburn, and Estevan.
9. Estevan Bruins (3-6-0-0) – It wasn’t the start to the year the defending SJHL Champions were hoping for, but a pair of back to back wins over the Weyburn Red Wings and the Estevan Bruins are right back in the thick of things in the Viterra division. A major part in both of those wins for the Bruins was 19-year-old goaltender Cam Hrdlicka who made 65 saves combined in the two wins. It’s a big week ahead for the Bruins too, as they face the Notre Dame Hounds Tuesday in Wilcox, host Nipawin on Friday, and then travel to Melfort on Saturday.
10. Weyburn Red Wings (3-5-0-0) – Like the Humboldt Broncos, this past week was a busy one for the Weyburn Red Wings. Two games at the SJHL Showcase which were then followed by 3 games in 3 nights. Unfortunately for the Wings, they went 1-4 during that stretch. It won’t get any easier for the Wings as they play another 3 games in 3 nights this week. It all kicks off on Thursday when they host the Nipawin Hawks and then they will head to Battlefords for a pair of games against the North Stars.
11. Notre Dame Hounds (2-5-0-0) – After a disappointing SJHL Showcase for the Notre Dame Hounds, they were able to bounce back Friday night on the road in Nipawin with a 4-3 overtime win. However, they were unable to build off of that victory the very next night as they dropped a 6-1 decision to the Melfort Mustangs. The Hounds played their first 7 games away from the Duncan McNeill Arena in Wilcox, but will finally get the chance to skate on home ice this week as they host Estevan on Tuesday and welcome Nipawin on Wednesday.
12. Kindersley Klippers (1-3-0-2) – The Kindersley Klippers finally got the monkey off of their back and earned their first win of the 22/23 season in their 2nd game of the SJHL Showcase against the Yorkton Terriers. Unfortunately, for the Klippers they haven’t been able to build off that win as they have been off ever since. They will finally get to take to the ice for the first time in 11 days when they travel up to Flin Flon for a pair of games against the Bombers this weekend.