Chantz Petruic, Yorkton Terriers
The SJHL’s RBC Player Of The Year, and SGEU Most Valuable Player this season goes to this year’s league scoring champion, Chantz Petruic of the Yorkton Terriers. Petruic had a healthy lead in the goals and points department from start to finish this season, moving into some rare company, eclipsing both the 50-goal and 100-point plateaus in his 20-year-old campaign, and through 156 career games, he had 234-points, including 107-goals in the better part of three full seasons.
Petruic says he set some big goals and targets for himself this off-season. “In the summer I knew I’d have to work hard and take care of my body. I set goals before the season. I knew I could dominate and I really put a lot of pressure on myself to do that. It felt pretty amazing to get it done.”
Heading into the playoffs with home ice advantage in round one, and coming off an impressive winning streak, much of which was with Petruic out of the lineup late in the season, the Terrier Captain says he doesn’t feel like he has to do it all himself, as the supporting cast has been added to, and became better and better as the season wore on. “Our young guys have been unbelievable, they have fit right in and have been very impactful in our success. Bond has been awesome for us in the pipes too. It’s impressive how mature our rookies play, and getting Zawatsky and the Taphorn’s WHL experience in our lineup has been huge. need to learn how to compete every night no matter what the opponent is. Every team can win.”
The Moose Jaw product played one year of WHL hockey with his hometown Warriors so isn’t eligible for NCAA hockey, but is sure to have plenty of suitors in the Canadian University and professional ranks for next season.
“As for next year. Plans are still up in the air. Waiting until the end of the season to make a decision and at the end of the day it’s what makes most sense for me, and where I feel comfortable.”
Matthew Fletcher, Battlefords North Stars
For the second straight season the Battlefords North Stars have the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League’s top defenceman in their midst as team captain Matthew Fletcher has been named the Mayfair Diagnostics Defenceman of the Year for 2019-20.
Fletcher, who was a teammate of Cody Spagarud when the latter won the award last year, has enjoyed a spectacular final season of junior hockey. Having played in every game this year, Fletcher has accumulated 11 goals and 35 assists in helping the North Stars lead the league from start to finish and secure home-ice advantage for as long as they are in the playoffs.
A Saskatoon product, Fletcher has nearly doubled his output from last season and in the final voting was selected as the award winner over Devan Harrison from the Estevan Bruins and Alex Rondeau of the Melfort Mustangs.
A veteran of more than 150 games Fletcher will be counted on heavily as the North Stars try to successfully defend the Canalta Cup championship they claimed last spring. His leadership, durability and experience are strengths every team needs and Fletcher has consistently shown he brings everything he has to each and every game.
Berk Berkeliev, Melville Millionaires
It’s been a roller coaster of a season for 19-year-old Melville goalie Berk Berkeliev, but he’s capping it with the SaskTel SJHL Goalie Of The Year award.
Berkeliev was in a collision just two games into the season that left him in hospital for multiple days with a concussion and facial injuries, and out of action for about two months, between September 14th and November 8th. Despite it all, and being on a Melville team at the bottom of the standings this season, Berkeliev has the league’s top save percentage (.928%) among active goalies, and a sub-3.00 (2.83) goals against average. He also has 11-wins, including one shutout this season, and is poised to take another run at the league award next season, eligible to come back as a 20-year-old.
“Yes this season definitely hasn’t come without its challenges, but I just tried to make the most of every day. I obviously had a tough recovery from the injury that many know about, and I owe a lot to my family, friends, teammates, and coaches for supporting me and helping keep me level-headed during a tough time. I know our group isn’t ending the season how we wanted to, but I’m still really proud of all the guys on competing hard every night and trying to stay positive. This isn’t an easy league to play in, and there is a lot of really talented players and goalies, so winning this award is really exciting and a huge honour.”
Tristan Lemyre, Flin Flon Bombers
2001 F Tristan Lemyre (Mirabel PQ) has, simply, been one of the most dominating offensive 18-year-old rookies in the SJHL in recent memory. Lemyre battled an injury that caused him to miss the entire month of October, yet he has still managed to put a wide distance between himself and other first year players as far as scoring statistics are concerned.
Lemyre (as of February 27th) has 29-goals and 32-assists in 43-games, which marks a 13-point lead over the second highest scoring rookie despite the fact he missed 12-games. Furthermore, Lemyre is the second highest scoring player in the entire league since December 1st (behind only Chantz Petruic) and the NCAA has taken notice as Lemyre accepted a scholarship to the University of Denver last month.
Flin Flon head coach Mike Reagan says, “We are very proud of Tristan and the adversity he has faced this year with his injury that kept him out of the line-up for the first part of the season and prevented him from probably making Canada West (World Junior ‘A’ Challenge). He is one of the most committed players to the game that I have coached in my 13 years here in Flin Flon. His speed and nose for the net is tremendous. He has been a huge part of our success this year and we feel he has a very bright future in front of him.”