Skip to content

Champions crowned at Sask's largest rec hockey tournament

Thirty-six teams were entered in the five-day competition.
The Estevan Strippers 40th annual Molson Spring Bust Tournament ran from April 3-7.

ESTEVAN - The 40th edition of the Estevan Strippers' Molson Spring Bust Tournament was a hit with teams on the ice while having an impact on the community. 

Thirty-six teams entered the tournament from April 3-7. Games were played at Affinity Place and the Power Dodge Arena each day, and at the Bienfait Memorial Arena for the final three days.

Eight teams were entered between the two women's divisions, and 14 teams competed in each of the men's over-30 and over-45 circuits. Six of the 10 divisions had four teams each, and those divisions used a round robin to crown their champions. The other four divisions had three teams each, so they played the other teams in their group, and also played a team at random from the other three-team division in their age class.

With approximately half of the teams from outside of the Estevan area, the tournament carries a considerable economic spinoff.

In the Murray GM Division, which is for women's teams, the Weyburn Oil Queens finished first with a 2-0-1 mark. The Reston Westman Fusion were second at 2-1, the Moose Mountain Chill were third at 1-1-1, and the Bienfait Bulldogs were fourth at 0-3.

In the other women's group, the Certified Energy Division, the Bienfait Bitches (3-0) finished first, followed by the Estevan Wildcats and the Melville Moneybags, who were 1-1-1 each. The Wildcats won the tie-breaker because they allowed fewer goals. The Oxbow Hot Dawgs (0-3) were fourth.

Four divisions were offered for over-45 teams. In the Ray Frehlick Division, the Woodley Whites were first at 3-0, the Energy City Wings (2-1) were second, the Regina Old Slow Shots (1-2) were third and the Estevan Viking 45s (0-3) were fourth.

The Fort Qu'Appelle Combines went 2-0-1 to win the Bill Dutton Division. The Estevan Tower Wolves 45s and the Portage Plainsmen finished tied for second at 1-1-1, but the Wolves won the tie-breaker. The Estevan Capitals (0-2-1) finished fourth.

In the Preston Meyer Memorial Division, the Weyburn Ambassadors and the Melville Moneymen were tied for first at 2-1, but Weyburn won the tie-breaker. The Regina Blackouts were third at 1-2.

The Regina Hooters won the Terry Germain Division with a 3-0 mark, finishing ahead of the Yorkton Old Relics (1-2) and the Brandon North 40 (0-3).

The remaining four divisions were in the over-30 age group. The Estevan Flyers won the Westmoreland Mining LLC Division with a 3-0 mark. The Estevan Eclipse (2-1) were second, the Souris Valley Sioux (1-2) were third, and the Reston Rockets (0-3) were fourth.

The Estevan Red Army and the Alameda Dam Sharks finished tied for first in the Einar/Rod Fagerheim Memorial Division at 2-1, but the Red Army won the tie-breaker. The Carnduff Chiefs (1-1-1) were third and the Estevan Tower Wolves (0-2-1) were fourth.

The Estevan Chiefs and the Estevan Tap House Rookies were tied for first in the Days Inn Division at 2-1, but the Chiefs won the tie-breaker. The Torquay Hoppers (0-3) were third.

The Regina Piranhas (3-0) won the Tap House Division, followed by the Weyburn Thrashers (2-1) and the Estevan Broken Arrow Bruins (0-3).

Several awards were handed out. Greg Scharf, a 73-year-old who plays for the Portage Plainsmen out of Portage La Prairie, Man., won the Frank John Oldest Player Award. Scharf and the Plainsmen were playing in the tournament for the first time. The club had an average age of 56.7 years.

Scharf is a long-time hockey player, and is listed among the alumni for the Portage Terriers of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League, having played with the team in 1970.

His son Jamie is also on the Plainsmen. It's believed to be the first time a father and a son have played on the same team in the over-45 division. 

A player can only win the award once.

This year marks the first time the award has been named after John, a former Estevan resident who was an original member of the Strippers and who played hockey in Estevan for well over 70 years. He was the second winner of the oldest player award, having captured it in 1992 while playing for the Estevan Viking 45s.

Teams were also recognized for sportsmanship during the weekend. The Tap House Sportsmanship Award is presented to the team in the women's divisions and men's over-45 divisions with the fewest penalty minutes during their first two games. The Chill, the Capitals and the North 40 shared the award with no penalties.

The James Schroeder Memorial Sportsmanship Award goes to the team in the over-30 division with the fewest penalty minutes in their first two games. The Flyers and the Sharks were tied with no penalties.

Cabarets were held on April 5 and 6 at the Power Dodge Curling Centre, attracting large crowds each night. Crossroads provided live music the first night, and Third Degree Birnz played the second.

The tournament has raised more than $230,000 for various groups and charities since 1997.