Written by Wayne Lazar
Assisted by Angela Jones
Joey Leach with the South Carolina Stingrays. Joey has played on a number of teams since 2007 including Kootenay Ice, Okahoma City Barons, Fort Wayne Komets, Bakersfield Condors, and drafted to the Calgary Flames in 2010.
Wadena Wildcats and Beyond
(most information is from memory so please forgive us if something or someone has been missed – log in and leave the correction in the comments so we can keep the information accurate. These are simply some highlights that Wadena can be proud of, from the residents that were part of our hockey program. We are aware that not every stop for every player is listed, we focused on the levels that were being showcased this weekend at our rink)
Wadena has been a windfall for scouts of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL) and Saskatchewan midget AAA hockey.
The upcoming Cameco Hockey Day in Saskatchewan – which will feature SJHL and midget AAA games – is sure to bring back memories for many former Wadena players. Lyle Leach and Tom Rudy have both SJHL championships, and a Canadian Centennial Cup championships with the Weyburn Red Wings in 1984. Although I (Angela) am having a hard time getting details, another veteran player; Mr. Hockey (also known as Wayne Lazar) played for the Yorkton Terriers, Moose Jaw Kanucks and the Weyburn Redwings holding the record as the top scorer there for years and Shaun Berezuik played both Junior B and SJHL levels of hockey. In 1991, Aaron Cain won an SJHL championship with the Flin Flon Bombers. Ian Lazar and Travis Statchuk were part of Saskatchewan midget AAA championships in 2006 and 2007, respectively, and Canadian Telus Cup championships in the same years. Michael Statchuk also won a Saskatchewan midget AAA championship in 2011. Travis Statchuk went on to play at the NCAA level with the Ohio Bukeyes for four years. In the spring of 2015 the SJHL held its first Bantam draft where around 70, 15 year olds are selected amongst the 12 SJHL teams. Tyson Byman was one of 6 players selected by Battleford North Stars. Tyson is currently playing AA Midget in Melville and hopes to be playing AAA midget this fall. Shain Scheschuk has played at many levels as well starting at peewee AA with Tisdale. His hockey journey has taken him to a peewee provincial B championship in 2003-2004, and another one with Tisdale in 2004-2005, through to playing the 2010-2011 season with Assiniboia Southern Rebels, and then on to the Weyburn Red Wings from 2011-2014. Another local, Joey Leach, is playing pro with the ECHL’s South Carolina Stingrays and has recently been called up to the American League with the Hershey Bears. Both teams are affiliated with the Washington Capitals.
Right now we have many players looking to move up to these leagues and beyond. The numerous volunteers – coaches, managers and minor sports board members – have done a great job in developing our players and our program. One of Wadena’s best known talents is Keith Magnuson who played junior for the Saskatoon Blades and went on to play for the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks. The town also lays claim to Wally Kozak, who played semi-pro with the IHL’s Flint Generals and went on to become head scout for the Hockey Canada women’s program. Another Wadena product, Dave Rusnell, won a world championship with the Trail Smoke Eaters in 1961 (click here to read an exciting account of their world championship run).
(Signed photo courtesy of John Olson)
The Town of Wadena is very fortunate to host Cameco Hockey Day in Saskatchewan. Exposing our minor teams to players from the SJHL, the midget AAA male and female leagues, and the Prairie Junior Hockey League, is a great way to encourage and inspire our young players. This is a unique chance for Wadena to demonstrate the true hospitality of our town and to work together to keep our young players developing. Your support of this event is support for the future of hockey in Wadena.
The following is a brief (although not all inclusive) summary of some of our Wadena residents that have advanced beyond the local league level;
|Brad Jones||SJHL||1972-1973||Humboldt Broncos|
|Jack Dvernichuck||Junior B||1975-1976||Watson Rockets|
|Dave Dmytriw||Junior B||1975-1976||Watson Rockets|
|Lyle Leach||SJHL||1982-1984||Weyburn Red Wings|
|Canadian Centennial Cup Champions 1984|
|Tom Rudy||SJHL||1983-1985||Weyburn Red Wings|
|Canadian Centennial Cup Champions 1984|
|Don Austring||SJHL||1984-1986||Weyburn Red Wings|
|Eldon Helberg||AAA Midget||1988-1989||Tisdale Trojans|
|Aaron Cain||SJHL||1991-1994||Flin Flon Bombers|
|Sask Champions 1993|
|Mark Nielson||AAA Midget||1998-1999||Saskatoon Blazers|
|SJHL||1999-2002||Notre Dame Hounds|
|Ian Lazar||AAA Midget||2005-2006||PA Mintos|
|SJHL||2006-2008||Weyburn Red Wings|
|Telus Cup Canadian Champions 2005/2006|
|Trent Rumpel||AAA Midget||2004-2007||Moose Jaw Warriors|
|Joey Leach||AAA Midget||2007||Tisdale Trojans|
|Travis Statchuk||AAA Midget||2006-2008||PA Mintos|
|Telus Cup Canadian Champions 2006/2007|
|Michael Statchuk||AAA Midget||2010-2012||PA Mintos|
|Sask Champions 2010/2011|
|SJHL||2014-2015||North Battleford Stars|
|Shane Scheschuck||SJHL||2012-2014||Weyburn Red Wings|
|Darcy Kayseas||Junior B||2014-2015||Ochapowace Thunder|
|Austin Bilokraly||Junior B||2014-2015||Assiniboia Southern Rebels|
|Junior B||2015-2016||Tri-Town Thunder|
|Carson Scheschuk||AAA Midget||2015-2016||Tisdale Trojans|
Greg young AAA 2007-2008 Beardy’s Blackhawks
Wayne Lazar SJHL – MooseJaw Kanucks, Yorkton Terriors, Weyburn Red Wings
Shawn Berezuik Junior B – Hudson Bay Saints, SJHL 1990 – Flin Flon Bombers
Carson Scheschuck with the Tisdale Trojans who will be playing during Cameco Hockey Day in Saskatchewan at 4:00 PM Sat. Jan. 16th
Austin Bilokraly with Tri-Town Thunder who will be playing during Cameco Hockey Day in Saskatchewan at 7:30 PM Sun. Jan. 17th
Michael Statchuk with the Battlefords North Stars 2014-2015
Travis Statchuk with Team Canada West 2008. Travis has also played with teams that include the Salmon Arm Silverbacks, and Ohio State Buckeyes.
Mark Neilson with Notre Dame
Ian Lazar (and his sister Nancy) with the PA Mintos
Shain with the Weyburn Red Wings. Shain has also played on numerous teams including Tisdale, Naicam, and Watson AA, The Assinibioa Southern Rebels PJHL, and Williston State Tetons.