TISDALE — While the Tisdale Trojans are seeking success on the ice, the organization is also firmly focused on its players’ development off it.
Players strive for academic achievement at Tisdale Middle and Secondary School. The Saskatchewan Male U18 AAA Hockey League team volunteers in the community in several ways. A new off-ice initiative this season is “Man Monday”, where “we learn something that makes us better men/people,” the team’s Facebook page states. For example, the team has learned how to properly tie a tie and change a tire.
“Your program is not just all about playing hockey,” Trojans head coach Dennis Kubat said. “It’s about being a good person and developing skills that are going to help you when you get in the real world.”
The idea for Man Monday, Kubat said, came from Trevor Logan, the assistant coach for the Melfort Mustangs of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League. He said he saw the concept on a college football documentary he watched.
“Dennis and I had discussed numerous times how we felt it was our duty to teach more than hockey in our programs, try to round them out a little more as human beings,” Logan said. “I just passed the idea on to Dennis and they ran with it.”
Players join the Trojans program as young as 14 and could be 18 by the end of their final season. Kubat explained that some players have not done a lot of laundry or put on a spare. In the later case, they got to do that earlier this season at Fairburn Tire on a Man Monday.
“Man Monday has been good to get out in the community and learn something as well as bond with the team doing something that isn’t fully hockey related,” second-year defenceman Cole Barry said.
As their busy schedule allows, the Trojans tackle Man Monday once or twice a month. There are plans in the works for sausage making and for the players to learn how to make a meal and then prepare it for their billet family. Earlier this season they learned how to tie a tie under the expertise of Heather Mievre at Valle Men's Wear.
“I selected one as my model and showed them my favorite knot,” she said. “I explained how a shirt should fit. Wow, I was bombarded with questions.”
She said along with those questions came a lot of laughter and good-natured teasing. The event gave the players an opportunity to visit a quality men’s store, which are not always plentiful in the rural parts of the province, Mievre noted. She said the boys looked at the shop’s clothes and were “very interested in all things fashion.” Mievre has had players return to shop. As well, parents have also come in or called “for apparel for their sons and knowing that I would do my best for them,” she said. Mievre said Man Monday at her shop was an enjoyable experience and she would do it again.
The Trojans have a strong tradition of being involved in the community and volunteering for various activities.
“The community is big. They support us a lot,” Kubat said. “The least we can do is go out there and be visible to them to they can see who we are as people instead of just names on the backs of jerseys.”
The Trojans have volunteered this fall for TMSS football. As well, they are active in working with the community’s younger children in different ways, including helping with the Tisdale Minor Hockey Association and Skate Tisdale.
“I enjoy seeing people I know in town and being able to help out wherever I am needed,” Trojan Cody Wilson said.
The second-year goaltender works with Trojans goaltending coach Ashley Kuechle with younger goalies and with the local peewee AAA team. He said he loves working with both.
Trojans also help out with Skate Tisdale’s learn to skate CanSkate program and its PrePower offering, focused on helping hockey players improve their agility, balance and control. The players are trained as program assistant by Skate Canada coaches. Skate Tisdale’s Shauna Klettberg said the players are important in developing skaters in the community.
“The club feels that our participants benefit as the Trojans are positive role models that do a great job of demonstrating skills and motivating young skaters,” she said. Skate Tisdale’s learn to skate program has youngsters ranging from ages 2 through 10. It teaches them the fundamentals of skating and prepares them for hockey, figure skating, or recreational skating. This year Skate Tisdale has 25 CanSkate participants and 20 in the StarSkate program, focusing on developing figure skating skills.
The Trojans last week
Friday, Nov. 5 in Tisdale
Warman 4, Tisdale 2
Trojans Scorers: Pavel McKenzie, Matthew Van Blaricom
Wildcats Scorers: Gavin Sawatzky, Jaydon Jessiman, Pierson Main, Mason Bueckert
Goalies: Cody Wilson, Tisdale, 56 saves on 60 shots; Luke Brunen, Warman, 19 on 21
Notes: Tisdale led 2-1 after the first period. Warman tied the game in the second and scored twice in the third. Wilson was the home star.
Saturday, Nov. 6 in Tisdale
Prince Albert 7, Tisdale 1
Trojans Scorer: Simon Martin
Mintos Scorers: Ashton Tait (2), Matthew Cudmore (2), Zachary Bansley, Travis Swanson, Jacob Cossette
Goalies: Cody Wilson, Tisdale, 33 saves on 40 shots; Jayden Krauss, Prince Albert, 26 on 27
Notes: The game was tied 1-1 after the first period. Prince Albert scored three in the second and a trio in the third. Wilson was the home star for the second night in a row. Cossette, a former Trojan, had three points and was named the away star.
“The guys competed hard, played with structure, and made good decisions with the puck.”
—Trojans head coach Dennis Kubat said of his team’s good starts last weekend
The Tisdale Trojans (1-10-0-1) hit the road this coming weekend. Saturday night the Trojans are in Wilcox to play Notre Dame (10-3-0-1). On Sunday afternoon, the league-leading Regina Pat Canadians (13-1-0-1) host the Tisdale team.
“It will be a big test for us. We are going to be playing two of the top teams in the league,” Tisdale head coach Dennis Kubat said. “We need to have a good week of practice, continue to push each other, and continue to improve.”