Here is a roundup of news items concerning the Battlefords North Stars and the SJHL.
The North Stars have released their unofficial 2019-2020 regular season schedule. The club has their home opener Sept. 14 versus a familiar opening night opponent, the Kindersley Klippers.
Some key dates on the calendar include Oct. 11 when the team will play Flin Flon at the Battleford Arena, the same venue where the team played a regular season game in January. They also play Notre Dame on Jan. 18 in Hillmond as part of Hockey Day in Saskatchewan.
Full details can be found at the North Stars’ website www.northstars.ca and on their Facebook page.
The Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League has released its preseason schedule. That schedule, also posted on the North Stars’ Facebook feed, sees the North Stars host the AJHL’s Bonnyville Pontiacs on Sept. 2 and Lloydminster Bobcats on Sept. 6.
The Battlefords North Stars held their 2019 Annual General Meeting on June 24. The club reported increased attendance during the playoffs and net playoff revenue of $24,438; overall revenue was reported as $161,826.
The SJHL held its annual general meeting earlier in June in Nipawin, attended by team governors, coaches and scouts. One key change to emerge from that meeting is the elimination of the first-round Survivor Series next season.
The number of playoff teams goes down from ten to eight, making for a much more competitive time for teams trying to qualify for the playoffs next season. As well, the top eight teams will be seeded according to their point totals, which means, according to a league news release, that there is an outside possibility that every team in one division could miss the post-season. Finishing first in your division will not guarantee a post-season berth, according to the league.
Another key change next season is adoption of the hybrid icing rule. Before, icing would be called if the puck was iced and the defending player touched the puck with his stick. Now, icing will be called in instances the player from the defending team is ahead in the race for the puck as it crosses the line. The thinking is this move will result in fewer injuries to players on both teams.
Upcoming for the North Stars will be their 2019 Fall Prospects Camp from Aug. 29 to Sept. 1. The camp is invitation only with a registration fee is $125.
The North Stars also are holding their 2019 Hockey School. Novice, atom, peewee, bantam and midget divisions can participate and learn from the head coach and GM of the North Stars, Brayden Klimosko. Registration is open now at www.northstars.ca.