On November 30, in a game hosted by Canora Minor Hockey, the Yorkton Terriers faced off against the visiting Kindersley Klippers in the second annual SJHL Hockey Night in Canora and skated away with a come-from-behind 3-2 victory in overtime.
The contest included participants with ties to Canora and the surrounding area. Vaughn Wilgosh, who played his minor hockey in Canora, is a defenceman for the Terriers, and Jake Huska, a former Preeceville Pat, is a defenceman for the Klippers.
One of the two referees for the contest was Tannum Wyonzek, grandson of Henry and Anne Wyonzek of Canora and Victor and Vickie Puchala of Yorkton (formerly of Rhein), and son of Pat and Karen Wyonzek.
The preparations for the game started in August, as the Terriers again offered Canora Minor Hockey the opportunity to host a game at the Civic Center, said Stacy Vangen, event organizer.
Vangen said strong local sponsorship and advertising played in huge role in making the game successful, including a guaranteed $1,000 50/50 payout, sponsored by Community Insurance.
The event began earlier in the day when the Terriers bus arrived in Canora.
“Canora Minor Hockey players dressed in their team jerseys cheered the team off the bus to a chant of, ‘Go Terriers Go,’ honking horns and ringing bells,” said Vangen. “The young fans awaited the Kindersley team and gave them a warm Canora welcome of cheering and horn honking as well.”
As the teams took to the ice to warm up, five Canora Cobras also had the opportunity to have a front row seat to the action. Ty Northrup, atom goalie and Logan Sznerch, peewee defenceman, were able to sit in with the Yorkton Terriers players to hear their pregame talk and lead them onto the ice for the pregame introductions. Cody Vangen, peewee goalie and Shiloh Leson, atom defenceman, were given the same experience with the Kindersley Klippers.
“All four young players commented on how the teams welcomed them to the dressing room and made them feel a part of the game,” said Vangen.
The young Canora players skated out with the teams and were presented seventh man dog tags by Vaughn Wilgosh of the Terriers and Jake Huska of the Klippers.
Kayden Harder, Canora peewee player and official, skated out with the officials at the beginning of the game and took part in a ceremonial puck drop with the team captains.
“Brooke Kowalyshen and Kelly McTavish of Canora sang O Canada in beautiful harmonies to a rink full of fans,” said Vangen.
At the start of the game, the Klippers didn’t wait long to get on the scoreboard.
At the 12 second mark, Jaxon Georget scored the game-opening goal. The Klippers added to the lead with a goal by Noah Lindsay at the seven-minute mark.
“In the first intermission the Canora Cobras IP team took to the ice to skate and show Canora the youngest players we have in minor hockey,” reported Vangen. “Our youngest IP players are only three years old, with the team ranging up to six years old. These kids were cheered on by the fans and really hammed it up for the crowd. It’s safe to say there were smiles all around watching the little Cobras.”
Chantz Petruic, captain, got the Terriers on the scoreboard with a goal assisted by Alec Zawatsky, six minutes and 49 seconds into the second period. The remainder of the period was scoreless.
The Klippers hung on to a slim 2 to 1 lead until there were under four minutes to play in the third period.
“The Terriers Alec Zawatsky scored the game tying goal and the stands absolutely erupted with excitement,” recalled Vangen. “The game headed into a five-minute overtime where Chantz Petruic scored the game-winning goal only 50 seconds in. We couldn’t have asked for a better ending to an already amazing night.”
The 50/50 winner was Kathie Gerrard of Canora, winning $1,185.00. The official fan count was 522, which was up from the previous year’s attendance by approximately 40 people.
The Terriers players treated fans to a meet-and-greet in the lobby after the game to sign autographs and talk to their “excited young fans.”
The final part of the evening included taking both the Kindersley Klippers and Yorkton Terriers over to the Canora Composite School for a hot meal.
“This year we were very thankful to have Gateway Co-op sponsor all the groceries so we could prepare a meal for both teams,” said Vangen. “Bryan Harder at the C-store really went out of his way to ensure that we had everything we needed to provide the meal. These young men are on the road and away from home, we wanted to make them feel both welcome and share a home cooked meal with them. One of the things that impressed us most was how very appreciative and respectful these young men were.
“The game was a huge success for Canora Minor Hockey and our community. Putting on an event of this size requires many volunteers and we are proud of all the work our Minor Hockey families do. Having the Civic Center packed with fans brings back nostalgias for some of days gone by and the possibility of future home games to once again fill the stands and bring excitement to the community.”
Vangen said Canora Minor Hockey hopes to have the opportunity to host another Terriers game next year.