2009 - a year of change and championships
The year started off on a winning note for the Southwest when, for the second straight year, the Swift Current Diamond Energy AAA Midget Wildcats claimed the Mac's World Invitational Tournament in Calgary with a 3-2 double overtime win over the Edmonton Thunder on New Years Day.
Shelby Nisbet was the overtime hero with her fourth goal of the tournament with 8:28 remaining in the second overtime while on the powerplay.
Jenna Smith scored the Wildcats first goal of the game in the opening frame, while blueliner Bailey Habscheid, with her fourth goal of the tournament, sent the game to overtime with a late powerplay goal to tie the contest 2-2.
Michala Jeffries turned aside 30 of 32 shots to earn her fifth win of the tournament.
The Wildcats finished the 15-team tournament with a 5-0-1 record and out-scored their opponents 25-12.
The Swift Current Broncos announced the hiring of Sheldon Ferguson as the Assistant General Manager to replace Elden Moberg.
“I am very excited about Sheldon joining the Broncos organization,” said Broncos General Manager and Head Coach Dean Chynoweth. “ It is not often you can hire a person in junior hockey with Sheldon's credentials and accomplishments. He will be a welcomed addition to our staff and we look forward to him getting started.”
The Stefanie Lawton rink showcased their skill and execution in an undefeated performance at the 2009 SaskPower Scotties Tournament of Hearts at the Credit Union iplex.
Lawton, who had reached four of the past five Saskatchewan women's curling championships, erased the memory of finishing as runner-up to Michelle Englot last year and Jan Betker in 2007, by claiming her second provincial championship.
In the championship final, Lawton posted a 9-6 win after opening the Page Playoff championship event with a 7-3 win over Amber Holland. Lawton rolled to an A event championship with wins over Saskatoon's Ros Stewart (6-4), Saskatoon's Sherry Anderson ( 11-7), and a 10-2 win over Miettinen in the A Event final.
“Every team here was tough, we knew that,” Lawton said. “It's great to see some young teams in the finals together. I've played against her (Humboldt's Rene Miettinen) a lot and I knew that she's very capable of being in the final and winning the final, so we knew we had to bring our A game out today.”
Despite the lowest scoring output of their 35-game season, the Swift Current Comp. Ardens won their second 4A Hoopla gold medal in three years with a hard fought 39-33 win over the defending champion Weyburn Eagles.
The dramatic win gave the Ardens medals in three straight Hoopla tournaments after winning bronze in 2008 and gold in 2007.
The Frontier Raiders also earned a 1A provincial bronze medal with a 52-36 win over Kenaston at Hoopla in Regina.
The Raiders, who entered the tournament ranked second, were relegated to the bronze medal game after an intense 61-51 loss to the Central Butte Bulldogs in the semi-final Friday afternoon.
The Swift Current Broncos' season came to a heartbreaking end with a 4-1 loss to the Medicine Hat Tigers in the seventh and deciding game of the Western Hockey League Eastern Conference quarter-finals.
The Broncos, decimated by injuries to stars Matt Tassone, Keegan Dansereau, and Eric Doyle, came out with a spirited effort, outshooting the Tigers 40-21, but were only able to solve Tigers' netminder Ryan Holfeld for a Michael Stickland first period goal.
The game also marked the end of overagers Keegan Dansereau, Spencey McAvoy, and goaltender Travis Yonkman’s WHL careers.
The Swift Current Diamond Energy Wildcats failed in their third attempt at a Saskatchewan Female Midget AAA Hockey League championship after finishing in second-place for the third consecutive season.
The visiting Prince Albert Bears completed a stunning comeback from a two games to none series deficit with a 4-1 win over the Wildcats to claim the Fedoruk Cup.
The Wildcats were attempting to win their first SFMAAAHL championship after finishing second in the two previous seasons behind the Notre Dame Hounds. The Wildcats breezed through the regular season with a 23-3-2-0 record, 11 points ahead of the Bears who finished second with an 18-9-1-0 mark.
The Swift Current Diamond Energy AAA Female MidgetWildcats repeated as Mac’sWorld Invitational Tournament champions in early January. TheWildcats were coached by Terry Pavely, Stephen Veason, Ross Kuglin, and Kathy Gillanders