YORKTON - The Yorkton Junior Terriers are embarking on a new season, and regardless of how they finish in the SJHL standings, it will be an historic one for the franchise.
The Terriers are marking their 50th anniversary, and that is a significant milestone.
For the past five decades the Junior team has been an important part of creating a level of pride in our community. You might not be a diehard fan attending every game, but you are likely generally aware of how the team is doing. It is after all, often the talk in coffee shops around the city every morning after games, and local media such as Yorkton This Week cover the team in its wins and its losses.
When the team does well, the arena becomes the place to be, and on five occasions now the Terriers have made it all the way to the national championship tournament, hosting the Royal Bank Cup in 1999, and finally winning the coveted championship in 2014.
Along the way there have of course been countless ‘heroes’ wearing the familiar Terrier jersey from the likes of Darrell Spelay and Bob Burak to Nathan Lutz and Devin Rask to Chad Nehring and Chantz Petruic.
With a new season under way, and the Terriers already having two wins against the defending SJHL champion Estevan Bruins, who will emerge as the latest star?
Of course it has not all been smooth sailing for the team.
Yes, there have been years when people gathered on the streets as the team paraded the trophies they had won.
There have been games over the years when the sign sold-out has hung on the arena doors too.
But, it is a different world now 50 years into the Terriers’ existence.
It is a world where hockey games, and lots of them, are on the television or online, every night. There are simply more options for even the most avid fan to easily find their fill of the game.
Often, too often for the financial good of the Terriers, people have chosen other options rather than take in a live game here in the community.
The sold out sign has not been needed in far too long, and the team has found itself operating many years in the red.
But, 50 years in, the Terriers are still here providing live entertainment through what are often long and somewhat boring Saskatchewan winters.
Hopefully as a community we celebrate the past 50 years of our team, and that we maybe head into the rink for a few more games as part of that effort.
If the community support is there who knows what great memories might be created in the next 50 years.