There are a number of feel-good stories in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League this season and obviously the Humboldt Broncos returning to the ice and leading the entire league as the regular season approaches the half-way mark tops that list. But, one can’t overlook the drastic improvement being turned in by the Yorkton Terriers.
Yorkton has already matched its entire win total from a year ago as their 13-40-3-2 record failed to qualify them for the playoffs while the 13-9-1-0 mark they have so far this season has them tied for the lead in the Viterra Division. The Terriers are also the only team in that division with a winning record and with as many as six games in hand on those in front of them they have a chance to be a part of the conversation for the overall lead if they can take advantage of those extra games.
Last year the Terriers had a whopping -144 goal differential between goals scored and goals allowed and while they are still at a negative level this season they are closing in on the break-even mark thanks to a recent three-game winning streak and the play of several newcomers.
One of those players who has made a difference is 17-year-old defenceman Tyson Janzen. The 6-foot-2, 180-pound Saskatoon product has played in 20 of the Terriers’ first 23 games putting up three goals and four assists while also helping take care of Yorkton’s own end.
Included in Janzen’s totals are one game-winning marker and an assist on a shorthanded effort showing he can be used in all situations.
Prior to joining the Terriers, Janzen spent the better part of two seasons with the Saskatoon Contacts of the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League. In 60 games with the Contacts, Janzen had 12 points, but he also had 117 minutes in penalties which displays a gritty side to his game.
That grittiness might just have been what got him noticed by the Terriers in the first place as he had 45 minutes in penalties in just 20 games with the Saskatoon Bantam AA Outlaws in 2015-16 and when it came time for the SJHL’s bantam draft that spring, Yorkton took Janzen with the 63rd pick overall.
The Terriers are a team that is on the move and with players like Janzen making solid contributions they could soon make a return to the upper echelon. With three more years of junior eligibility remaining after this season, Janzen is certain to be cornerstone for the future.