As part of his "President's Tour," SJHL president Laury Ryan was in Estevan last Friday to announce the Eagle Drilling Estevan Bruins' nominees for the league's year-end awards.
Ryan was at Spectra Credit Union on Friday morning for the awards press conference. He then received a tour of Spectra Place - the Bruins' future facilities, before finally attending the Bruins' game versus the Weyburn Red Wings that night.
Estevan was Ryan's 10th stop on his tour, and he said it's great to be able to get to each of the league's 12 cities to meet with coaches, management, players and fans. Ryan said he has received plenty of feedback so far on his journey, but maintained that for the most part, the comments have been fairly positive.
In visiting all 12 SJHL cities, Ryan said his experience in each community has been different as each town is unique and has their own culture. He said his favourite part of the tour is being able to present the three players on each team with their nominations for the year-end awards.
"We've got three awards that will eventually be presented at the end of the season, and we were able to recognize 36 deserving athletes," said Ryan. "Anytime we can bring some recognition to our athletes, it's absolutely phenomenal so that part has been the real highlight."
Ryan also addressed the state of the game in the SJHL. He commented on the fact that goal scoring is on the rise, and said that over the past five years, the SJHL has taken steps to increase the number of goals being scored by cracking down on clutching and grabbing and obstruction, and it has finally come to fruition.
Another topic that was a hot issue at the start of the hockey season was the "Junior A Supplement." The SJHL, along with four other Junior A leagues Canada are into the first of the two-year pilot project that allows them to keep what is dubbed as the "two-fight rule," meaning players are permitted two fighting majors in a single game before being ejected.
"Obviously we had to address the fighting issue to keep Hockey Canada on side, but I never felt that we had a fighting issue in our league," said Ryan. "I thought that overall, we managed our game very well and we had very few incidences and the reality of it is, we don't have any players whose sole job is to (fight) and haven't had for years."
After his visit in Estevan, Ryan travelled to Nipawin Tuesday; he wraps up his tour in Melfort today.