Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League

SJHL Players in the USA

By Rory McGouran

The SJHL has always been well represented in a wide manner across the hockey landscape, with players eventually moving on to new clubs across the globe. Whatever direction their career takes them in, they continue to promote the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League to the highest of standards for future generations to come.

With the WHL’s Return-to-Play bubbles now in action, or shortly commencing, this four-part series will take an in-depth look at the talent in the Western Hockey League that once suited up in an SJHL jersey.

WHL’s US Division

The WHL’s US Division features the five WHL clubs who reside south of the border. The US Division was approved to commence play starting on March 19th with all five teams competing in Washington State.
10 SJHL alumni are currently competing within the US Division, with 7 of the 12 SJHL teams having representatives. The Battlefords North Stars, Flin Flon Bombers, Humboldt Broncos, La Ronge Ice Wolves, and Notre Dame Hounds are the five teams with no past players currently in the WHL’s US Division.

Estevan Bruins

Included in their WHL loans to start the now cancelled 2020/21 season, the Bruins brought back a hometown boy and a former NHL draft pick. Fair to say Cole Fonstad did just fine in his brief time in the SJHL.

Time with Estevan
The 5th round draft pick of the Montreal Canadians in 2018 spend some time back at home and back with the original team where he started his junior career. Fonstad was called up to the Bruins way back in 2015/16 where he scored his first career goal in his lone game. The newly anointed captain of the Everett Silvertips then returned in 2020/21 on loan where he led the way for the Bruins offensively, putting up 10 points in 6 games.

Since Returning to the WHL (as of March 24th)
After compiling 65 points in 51 games in 2019/20 with the Silvertips, Fonstad has picked up where he left off in the US hub, adding four points, all assists, in his first two games.

Stats with Estevan
F – Cole Fonstad – 2015/16, 2020/21 (LOAN) – 7gp, 6g-5a-11pts, 2 PIMS

Kindersley Klippers

The Klippers utilized their lone rep in the US Division for just over half a season in 2019/20, making Mac Gross the second longest reigning SJHL’er currently in the WHL’s US Division.

Time with Kindersley
Gross started his SJHL career with playoff intensity on the line after being called up for three games for the 2018/19 post-season. The following year, he split his time between the Klipper’s and the Spokane Chief’s blue-line, picking up 10 pts in 37 games during his time in the SJHL.

Since Returning to WHL (as of March 24th)
The Klipper’s 64th overall draft pick in 2017 has taken part in all three of the Chief’s games this year, picking up his first career goal in the process.

Stats with Kindersley
D – Mac Gross – 2019/20 – 37gp, 1g-9a-10pts, 22 PIMS – Drafted by Kindersley (64th overall in 2017)

Melfort Mustangs

Melfort’s lone representative in the US Division was a high SJHL draft pick (12th overall) back in 2015. Unfortunately for the stangs, Ethan Regnier lived up to his extremely high potential and jumped straight to the WHL. His time in Melfort was limited to just four games on loan in 2020/21.

Time with Melfort
Regnier made his brief tenure with the Mustangs count, putting up 7 points in 4 games before heading back to the Everett Silvertips, where he assumes the role of Assistant Captain.

Since Returning to the WHL (as of March 24th)
The Prince Albert native is on track to play in his 200th career WHL game while inside the US hub this season. So far in two games, Regnier is over a point-per-game-pace with two goals and one assist.

Stats with Melfort
F – Ethan Regnier – 2020/21 (LOAN) – 4gp, 1g-6a-7pts, 0 PIMS – Drafted by Melfort (12th overall in 2015)

Melville Millionaires

The Melville Millionaires had a total of 6 loans to start the 2020/21 SJHL season. Their two most impactful acquisitions are both NHL draft picks, and current teammates on the Portland Winterhawks.

Time with Melville
Both Reece Newkirk and Jaydon Dureau had already established chemistry from playing the past two seasons together with the Winterhawks. They carried over that comfortability and finished Tied-1st and 3rd, respectfully, in the SJHL scoring race through their first six games. To add to even more consistency, both players were drafted 147th overall in the NHL draft, with Newkirk going to the New York Islanders in 2019, and Jaydon following suit to the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2020.

Since Returning to the WHL (as of March 24th)
Newkirk currently leads the Winterhawks with 5 points though his first 3 games. Meanwhile, Dureau had the honor of making his professional debut with the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch in late February. He’s since returned to Portland, where he’s picked up two assists in three games. Both Newkirk and Dureau have contributed to the Winterhawks 2-0-1 start, which stands in first place in the US Division.

Stats with Melville
F – Reece Newkirk – 2020/21 (LOAN) – 6gp, 4g-8a-12pts, 2 PIMS
F – Jaydon Dureau – 2020/21 (LOAN) – 6gp, 7g-4a-11pts, 2 PIMS

Nipawin Hawks

The Nipawin Hawks have the honour to say that they drafted a WHL scoring leader in both goals and points. Their 5th overall draft pick in 2016 did just that, putting up 48 goals and 107 points for the Spokane Chiefs just last season.

Time with Nipawin
Adam Beckman, the likely soon-to-be NHL’er, spent just one game during the regular season for Nipawin in 2017/18 where he put up one goal and one assist. He added two more assists in three playoff games that same year. Fast-forward three years and the Minnesota Wild’s 72nd overall draft choice in 2019 has 173 points in 135 WHL games. Fair to say that was a steal.

Since Returning to the WHL (as of March 24th)
Beckman is still showcasing his offensive stride with Spokane to kick off the 2020/21 campaign. 19-yr-old Saskatoon native has a team-leading 4 points in 3 games and has also made his professional debut, suiting up for 7 games with the AHL’s Iowa Wild before the WHL commenced, where he found the back of the net twice for his first two professional career goals.

Stats with Nipawin
F – Adam Beckman – 2017/18 – 1gp, 1g-1a-2pts, (Playoffs – 3gp, 2g-0a-2pts) Drafted by Nipawin (5th overall in 2016)

Weyburn Red Wings

The Red Wings make up the last of five teams with just one representative in the WHL’s US Division. One year before winning a Telus Cup National Championship with the U18 AAA Notre Dame Hounds, Cordel Larson spend two games as a member of the Weyburn Red Wings.

Time with Weyburn
Although Larson’s time in the SJHL was limited to just two games, the Weyburn product made his first one count, scoring his first and only SJHL goal when he suited up for the Wings in 2016/17. He tacked on one playoff game that season as well, and has since established a nice career in the WHL, collecting 57 points in 128 games.

Since Returning to the WHL (as of March 24th)
Larson is currently competing in his third season with the Spokane Chiefs. He has yet to find the scoresheet through the Chief’s first three games.

Stats with Weyburn
F – Cordel Larson – 2016/17 – 1gp, 1g-1a-1pts, 0 PIMS

Yorkton Terriers

The Yorkton Terries have a few mentions in the WHL’s US Division, and among them is Kishaun Gervias, who has played more SJHL games than anyone currently south of the border.

Time in Yorkton
Starting with the SJHL games played leader in the WHL’s US division, Keshaun Gervais spent the entire 2018/19 season with the Terriers scoring 19 points in 43 games. That same year he added 13 playoff games before the Terriers were ousted by the eventual champ, Battleford North Stars. Gervais returned this past season on loan while waiting for his Portland Winterhawks to resume play, where he added 4 points in 6 games to his SJHL resume.

Ryan McCleary made two jumps this year in his hockey career. The Terriers 4th round draft choice in 2018 made his SJHL debut to start off the season, before getting the call-up to the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks where he remains today. The 17-yr-old defenseman failed to register a point in his three games with Yorkton.

Finally, Yorkton native Jackson Berezowski was one of a handful of loans the Terriers accumulated to start the 2020/21 SJHL season. He collected a goal and two assists in his brief taste of SJHL action.

Since returning to the WHL (as of March 24th)
Gervais and McCleary skate together as members of the Winterhawks. Gervais has yet to suit up for a game this season due to injury, while McCleary collected his first career WHL point while playing his first two career games.

Berezowski rejoined his Everett Silvertips who have yet to lose a game through two outings.  The 19-yr-old has been a big factor, picking up three points.

Stats with Yorkton
F – Jackson Berezowski – 2020/21 (LOAN) – 4gp, 1g-2a-3pts, 2 PIMS (from Yorkton)
F – Kishaun Gervais – 2018/19, 2020/21 – 49gp, 10g-13a-23pts, 130 PIMS (from Yorkton)
D – Ryan McCleary – 2020/21 – 2gp, 0g-0a-0pts, 0 PIMS Drafted by Yorkton (38th overall in 2018)

This four part series will wrap up with an in depth look at the WHL’s BC Division.