FEBRUARY 18
6

1

Final
FEBRUARY 26
6

7

Final (OT)
FEBRUARY 26
5

8

Final
FEBRUARY 27
8

5

Final
FEBRUARY 27
2

0

Final
MARCH 4
7

4

Final
MARCH 5
3

2

Final
MARCH 5
9

3

Final
MARCH 11
4

0

Final
MARCH 19
1

2

Final
MARCH 20
2

3

Final
MARCH 25
4

9

Final
MARCH 26
2

3

Final (OT)
APRIL 2
2

1

Final
Select seasons >>>
   North Central Hockey League:
GET NEWS FROM: TO:
  There are no stories within the above selected date range.

CLICK HERE TO SUBMIT A STORY
 
Year End Ramblings
Wednesday, April 13, 2022 - Submitted by NCHL

 

 

Last week's Senior AA Provincial Tournament in Fort Saskatchewan marked the end of another hockey season.  It sure was good to have our game back again after losing last season!

The NCHL again has an Alberta Provincial Champion in the Lacombe Generals.  In fact, the NCHL cleaned up the awards with Fort Saskatchewan winning the Silver Medal and the Camrose Crush taking home the bonze medal.  The NCHL has had a good grip on the Provincial title over the last few years, with Daysland (2016), Bonnyville (2018), Morinville (2019) and now Lacombe (2022) winning championships.

This year's Provincial format wasn't ideal due to the Ranchland Hockey League's suspension by Hockey Alberta and the fact that the North Peace Hockey League didn't even operate this season (they kind of pick and choose which Provincial Championships their teams attend anyway).  That means that, following past protocol, the SaskAlta League will most probably be offered the chance to host the 2022-2023 Alberta Provincial Championship. It's not known at this time if any of their Alberta teams are interested in hosting.  The Saskalta last hosted in Wainwright in 2019.  Indications are that both Camrose and Lacombe are very interested in hosting the championship.

The NCHL's regular season went off without a hitch although some arena's were limited to 50% capacity earlier in the season.  There was only one game that had to be rescheduled due to weather.  Overall, there were quite a few games where teams weren't carrying full lineups, especially early in the season.  Later in the year and into the playoffs, lineups were full. 

The Vanberg Cup final series saw some of the largest crowds in NCHL history in both Lacombe and Camrose.  Attendance generally increased as the season went on and health restrictions were removed.  

Devon's Tony Kulbisky, the Baron's long time manager has decided to step down, ending a 10 year run that run included 2 President's Cups and 2 Vanberg Cups.  Tony was the longest serving Director on the NCHL Executive.  We expect to find out who Tony's replacement is at our AGM in May.  We'll miss you Tony!

 

Ian Munro, Lacombe Generals - Photo Credit - Mik Ohkeena - Devon

A very interesting story came out of last week's Provincial Championship. With Lacombe's win, General's veteran Ian Munro completed something not many senior players have achieved.  In addition to the 2 Allan Cups he's won (Lloydminster Border Blazers 2001 and Fort St John Flyers 2010) Ian has won a Provincial Senior A/AA/AAA Championship in all 4 western provinces. BC - (Fort St John Flyers (2010), Alberta (Lacombe Generals 2022), Saskatchewan  (Lloydminster Border Blazers (2001) and Manitoba (Swan Valley Axemen 1997).  That's an awesome achievement that I'm sure is not shared by many players at the Senior level.  To put things in perspective, 9 of Munro's General's team mates weren't even born when he won his first championship in 1997.  Our congratulations go out to Ian for this outstanding accomplishment!

It was great to see the amount of fans who travelled with their teams during the Vanberg Cup play downs and at the Provincial Championships in Fort Saskatchewan.

Camrose won the Vanberg Cup in their first year of operation.  They join the Hinton Heat (1996), Drayton Valley Wildcats (1998), Devon Barons (2013), and the Daysland Northstars (2016) who also won the championship in their first years in the NCHL.

As mentioned earlier, the crowd for the March 25th game with Lacombe in Camrose was just over 1200. which was unofficially the largest crowd to date in the NCHL.  Lacombe's crowd for game 5 on April 2nd was a close 2nd with just under 1200 fans.

Lacombe Generals were the first recipients of the league's new President's Cup, awarded to the top regular season team.

Trophies on display during Provincials in Fort Saskatchewan

NCHL President's Cup, HA Ray Marsh Trophy Senior AA Champs - NCHL Vanberg Cup

Mac Engel had a super season!  In addition to being named a 1st team Allstar and the league's top goaltender, he was also the first goaltender in league history to win the NCHL Most Valuable Player award.

Ryley Bennefield of Camrose topped of a great season as well.  Ryley ended up in 3rd place in regular season scoring, garnered a 1st team Allstar selection, and then scored 17 goals in 13 playoff games and lead the league in playoff scoring to capture the NCHL's Playoff Most Valuable Player award. Ryley also took over the NCHL's active playoff scoring leader from Lucas Isley in their game 5 Vanberg Cup win.

It was good to see the Westlock Warriors have a bounce back season and win a playoff series as well as give the Generals a good run in the second round.  Keep it up boys!

​​​​​​​It was great to see a couple of former Fox Creek Bandits (Ryan Firth and Donny Hailes) in the crowd in Fort Sask on the weekend watching Dayton Murray of Camrose (from Fox Creek).

After a so-so regular season, and a quick exit from the Vanberg Cup play downs, the Fort Saskatchewan Chiefs showed everyone last weekend that they are a team to be reckoned with.  They knocked off the President's Cup Champs Lacombe Generals and the Vanberg Cup Champs Camrose Crush as well as the Saskalta Champs Wainwright Rustlers in the round robin portion of the Provincials to go undefeated and claim the top spot.  The final game against Lacombe was absolutely one of the best hockey games you will see in Senior AA hockey.  It really was a shame that someone had to lose.

We haven't heard yet, but we're hopeful that the Blackfalds Wranglers will return to action next fall after taking a year leave of absence.

The NCHL presented "special awards" to a number of deserving players and off ice personnel this season for the first time since 2005.

I finally made it to all of our rinks this season.  First time in Bonnyville was great.  They have a viewing area behind the visitor's net that is a great place to watch a game and have a cocktail or two!  I also made it to Westlock - first time I've been there since they built the new rink.  They had a real good crowd on hand for their playoff game #4 with Lacombe.  I'm looking forward to seeing Blackfald's new "barn" next season.

Finally, with Daysland moving to Camrose, the task of determining the "best hot dog" was again left to me to decide haha.  The honor this year I'm happy to say, goes to Westlock.  They had, hand's down, the best hot dog/smoky that I had the pleasure of devouring.  I'll need to find a reason to head up there again next season.

​​​​​​​We would like to expressly thank the players, managers, coaches, trainers, equipment managers, directors, off ice officials, the referee's association, volunteers, and anyone who had something to do with our league this past season. Without the dedication of our local personnel, the league would not survive.  It's though the hard work of these volunteers that allow us to continue to operate. 

Can't wait for next season to arrive.

In the meantime, remember our Annual General Meeting is scheduled for Devon on May 7th.

Have a great summer everyone!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
PLAYER GP G A PTS
Tyler Berkholtz (RDR) 14 15 16 31
Blake Grainger (MNK) 10 11 15 26
Ryley Bennefield (CAM) 13 13 11 24
Dylan Houston (RDR) 14 10 14 24
Devon Cyr (MNK) 9 8 12 20
PLAYER GP W GAA SV%
Mackenzie Engel (LAC) 12 9 2.41 .924
C. Dobberthien (CAM) 11 9 2.83 .935
Ty Swabb (MNK) 9 7 3.08 .901
Jordan Brand (WSW) 9 4 3.60 .885
Garret Storms (FSC) 9 3 3.99 .900

Blackfalds Wranglers

Year End Ramblings

Lacombe Generals Win Alberta Senior AA Provin..

Camrose Crush Are Vanberg Cup Champions

Vanberg Cup Game 5 - UPDATED

Crush Battle Back to Tie Series

Generals One Win Away From Vanberg Cup

Lacombe/Camrose Vanberg Cup Bound

Generals Advance to the Vanberg Cup Finals

POW Playoff Edition Mar 7th

TEAM GP W L OW OL TP
Lacombe 14 11 1 0 2 24
Camrose 14 11 3 0 0 22
Morinville 14 9 4 2 1 19
Red Deer 14 9 4 3 1 19
Fort Sask 14 6 7 0 1 13
Westlock 14 5 8 0 1 11
Devon 14 3 10 0 1 7
Bonnyville 14 2 12 0 0 4