The new senior hockey season is underway in the Northwest region, and with it comes a few changes for the two local-area leagues.
The Sask West Hockey League has expanded, while the Sask Prairie Hockey League has contracted compared to a season ago.
The Sask West league is now up to 10 teams. Both the Kerrobert Tigers and Eatonia Huskies are back in the league after taking a season off. The league has also added two clubs who left the Sask Prairie league: the Edam 3 Stars and the Hafford Hawks. Edam had competed against the Battleford Beaver Blues last season for the SPHL title, losing in three games.
The other six teams – Wilkie Outlaws, Unity Miners, Biggar Nationals, Kindersley Klippers, Luseland Mallards and Macklin Mohawks – are all back.
Meanwhile the Sask Prairie Hockey League is now an eight-team league with the loss of both Edam and Hafford. Also gone is the Shellbrook Silvertips who have departed for the Twin Rivers Hockey League.
But the SPHL has added a new club in the Turtleford Tigers. Turtleford has been a frequent venue for neutral-site SPHL games over the years.
They join the Battleford Beaver Blues, Meota Combines, Maymont Settlers, Glaslyn North Stars, Perdue Pirates, Radisson Wheatkings and Spiritwood Timberwolves in the league.
With all the offseason changes now a reality, the SPHL kicked off their new season Saturday night as the Beaver Blues hosted Perdue at Battleford Arena. The game saw the Blues build a big lead before Perdue came back in the dying minutes to make it a 5-4 final, Battleford on top.
Battleford had goals from the likes of Cody Danberg, Mike George, Kolby Heidt and Cody Kalyn. Mitch Hawtin got the win in net for the Blues.
The Blues are back in action Saturday, Nov. 16, at home to the Maymont Settlers. Also that night the Spiritwood Timberwolves host the Glaslyn North Stars.
As for the Sask West league, they are now into their second week of action. Games this past weekend saw Kerrobert beat Edam 7-6 and Hafford over Biggar 4-3 on Saturday. Sunday action saw Wilkie over Kerrobert 6-2.
The standings early on have Macklin leading the league with a 5-0 record for 10 points, followed by Kindersley at 3-1 for six points. Eatonia, Hafford and Kerrobert were tied for third with four points.