YORKTON - While Yorkton has a varied sports culture ranging from baseball and softball to pickleball and squash, it’s safe to say like most communities we are solidly a hockey community.
It is why when sports fans look back over the last 25 years or so, the local highlight is likely to be the Yorkton Terriers winning the 2014 RBC Cup, Canada’s 44th National Junior A Championship, with a 4-3 overtime victory over the Carleton Place Canadians.
The national championship was the first for the Terriers who were making their fifth all-time appearance at the tournament.
The game made a local hero of Derek Falloon who scored the game-winning goal 15:01 into overtime to give the Terriers the championship.
But football is making a move to become perhaps the local sport of first thought.
The game used to be the realm of a school sport, and for a time was even dropped as that from Yorkton Regional High School.
But the game was reborn at YRHS and has steadily grown in the city as a group of volunteers has worked rather tirelessly to build a program that is having some rather significant success.
Through the years the school programs have continued, and with their share of success.
In large part the high school success is because a minor football program now has youth in pads, learning the game at a much younger age.
To help the program grow volunteers have fund raised tirelessly, adding amenities to help the program grow.
As a result, there is a great announcer tower and dressing rooms at the YRHS field.
And at this year’s ‘Football Night in Saskatchewan’ fundraiser it was announced starting this fall there will be more than one game under the lights as Century Field is getting lights, thanks to $100K Kinsmen Club of Yorkton and the efforts of several community businesses.
Such efforts are certainly paying off.
While there is good reason for youth to play sports simply for what they can teach about teamwork and effort and dealing with wins and losses, it is also an avenue to better things for some.
At the same fundraiser a lengthy list of players playing junior and college ball were noted, all having developed in the local program.
Most notably two football players from the local area were among those selected when the Canadian Football League held its recent draft.
Noah Zerr from Langenburg, who played most recently with the University of Saskatchewan Huskies was taken in the second round, 12th overall by the B.C. Lions.
Peter Kozushka from Yorkton and most recently from the University of Alberta Golden Bears program was selected in the sixth round, 51st overall by the Montreal Alouettes.
Both offensive lineman developed as part of the Yorkton Regional High School program.
Now, another player with Yorkton roots has risen to the top of the sport.
Football Canada has announced the Team Canada roster competing in Finland at the IFAF Women’s World Championship this summer, and Yorkton’s Kasey McCombs is among those selected. (See related story Page A1).
McCombs, a running back, got her first taste of football with the Yorkton Lady Gridders.
The growth of programs, the improvements of facilities, and the success of players all show one thing, what a group of dedicated volunteers can achieve.
The question now is what comes next?
Could Yorkton be home to a Junior franchise one day? We shall see.