By Dave Leaderhouse
Training camps are just over a month away in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League and with that being the official start to the 2019-20 season, a pair of major events later in the campaign are ready and waiting to expose the players to scouts from various levels of the game.
The annual SJHL Showcase, which has all 12 SJHL teams converge on centrally-located Warman from Sept. 22-25, consists of 12 games with all matches counting in the regular-season standings while the SJ/MJ Prairie Showcase is slated for Jan. 20-22/2020, in Regina. The latter is taking on a new format this year as two teams from the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League will be joining a pair of squads from each of the SJHL and Manitoba Junior Hockey League.
“The SJHL Showcase is a good way for all of our teams to gauge where they are at over a short period of time and it also provides the scouts an opportunity to see our players early in the year and see which players may fit into their programs,” says SJHL president Bill Chow.
“The SJ/MJ Prairie Showcase, by many scouts, has been deemed an event to attend as the scouts get to compare players from different leagues at a very competitive level,” added Chow.
The format for the SJHL Showcase in September is straight forward: each team has their regular roster and will play a pair of games that count in the regular-season standings. The SJ/MJ Prairie Showcase has a few different twists. First, one team from each league will consist of players 16-18 years of age while the second squad will be for players 18-20 years old. Then, the games will be a pair of 35-minute periods each with all teams taking to the ice for three different sessions.
“This will allow the scouts to see the players three different times over the two days,” states Chow.
Promotion of the players has been a high priority in recent years and the pair of showcases have been instrumental in many SJHL players getting more and better opportunities to continue playing the game while obtaining a post-secondary education once their junior careers have been completed.
It is hoped that that trend continues.