2019: Sports year in review

Maybe it’s time for folks at North Battleford city hall to look into acquiring some leftover “City of Champions” signs from Edmonton.

In 2019, the Battlefords was home to hockey’s Canalta Cup champions as well as a champion major-league curling team (Team Silvernagle). And that was just the start.

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Here’s a look back at some of the major sports stories in the Battlefords and area in 2019.

Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling:

January 2019 marked the second time the Meridian Canadian Open, part of the Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling, made its way to the Civic Centre in North Battleford.

In the early going, all eyes focused on the play of the local hometown team of Robyn Silvernagle, who entered the field on a sponsor’s exemption. The team from Twin Rivers Curling Club proved they belonged, as the team made it to the quarter-finals, delighting their hometown #SilverSquad fans.

In the end, it was Rachel Homan who took the title on the women’s side and Brendan Bottcher on the men’s side in North Battleford.

Team Silvernagle: Scotties champions

It was just the start of the good news for curling fans in the Battlefords. Later that same month, Team Silvernagle was looking to take home the provincial Scotties title. After losing in the title game the previous two seasons, this time they defeated Sherry Anderson 6-5 in Humboldt.

That earned the team a trip to the Scotties in Nova Scotia, where Team Silvernagle earned bronze medals.

On the basis of their strong performance, Team Silvernagle has earned a regular spot on the Pinty’s Grand Slam tour this season and has also competed in the Canada Cup. The team will be defending their Scotties provincial title in January. 

Battlefords North Stars: Canalta Cup champions

2018-19 was supposedly a rebuilding year for the Battlefords North Stars. The rebuild turned out to be a spectacular success. The North Stars won the division title with an overtime goal over Kindersley on the final night of the season, and then built on their momentum with a glorious run to the Canalta Cup league title.

But it took a while for the North Stars offence to gel.

Bailing the team out during many of those early-round playoff games was goaltender Joel Grzybowski, whose spectacular play earned him playoff MVP honours.

The North Stars survived a first-round scare from the Flin Flon Bombers before soundly beating Yorkton and Melfort to win the cup. Team captain Cody Spagrud got to hoist the cup in front of the home-town fans at the Civic Centre.

Although it was a disappointing Anavet Cup round against the Portage Terriers, it remained a season to remember for Battlefords hockey fans – one that carried over to the start of the 2019-20 season, when the North Stars early-season dominance saw them ranked first overall in the national junior A hockey rankings.

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The Battlefords North Stars were the Canalta Cup champions.

Of course, that was just the start of the top stories from 2019. Here are some other championship highlights from 2019:

The Battleford Beaver Blues won the Saskatchewan Prairie Hockey League title in 2019, beating Edam to win the cup.

The Wilkie Outlaws were provincial senior B and Sask West Lleague champions again in 2019.

The Battlefords AA midget Barons won the Centre Four Midget League in 2019, making it to the provincial finals before losing in Swift Current.

The Battlefords also had winning championship junior boys’ and girls’ basketball team (John Paul II Collegiate) and a 4A provincial champion girls’ basketball team (NBCHS Vikings) in 2019.

In six-man football, the Hafford Vikings took another provincial high school title in 2019.

In six-man football, the Hafford Vikings took another provincial high school title in 2019.
In six-man football, the Hafford Vikings took another provincial high school title in 2019.

The North Saskatchewan River Baseball League saw Standard Hill Lakers capture the title, beating Macklin.

And congratulations are in order to the 2019 inductees of the Saskatchewan Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. The inductees included this year’s keynote speaker, former major league pitcher Ferguson Jenkins.

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The Saskatchewan Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum inductees included this year’s keynote speaker, former major league pitcher Ferguson Jenkins, seen with CEO Jane Shury. Photo by John Cairns
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