North Stars celebrate alumni weekend

By Nathan Kanter
October 22, 2017 - 4:30pm

North Stars alumni both new and old took part in festivities this weekend as the annual alumni game was played on Saturday at the Civic Centre.

The score of the game didn't matter (15-12 for team black, for those who were counting), as it was more about the 22 former players catching up and having some fun.

"It's always nice to be back in North Battleford. Brings back memories," said four-year North Star forward Reed Delainey, who was part of last year's championship team. "After a championship year, it's good to see the old barn.

"I'm not going to lie, I was a little out of shape. Haven't skated in a while but it was lots of fun. That's what it's abot, right?"

Delainey was all set to go to the Rochester Institute of Technology last season, but injuries have changed his path. He is now planning on attending the University of Saskatchewan next semester.

Current North Stars assistant coach Boyd Wakelin also took part in the alumni game.

"It was awesome to see some guys that I played with," Wakelin said, who played for the team from 2009-12. "Good to see how many guys still want to be involved with the team and what it means to guys to be part of the North Star family."

Wakelin joked that he was glad the game changed from stop time to running time.

"Otherwise I think we might have been dying by the end of the third," he said. 

The weekend was also a time for alumni to reflect on their playing days.

All-time leading scorer Martin Smith, who played for the North Stars from 1987-91 and would then play pro in Europe, said one of his fondest memories was representing the North Stars at the all-star game as a 16-year-old rookie.

"It was in Estevan and Sheldon Gardiner and I were picked from the North Stars and we played against the southern team that was loaded with Notre Dame talent," Smith recalled. "They had Rod Brind'Amour, Scott Pellerin, Dwayne Norris, Curtis Joseph, Joby Messier. They were all [NHL] first-round draft picks. It was pretty exciting to play against them and they were only a year older than I was but they won the league and won the Centennial Cup that year."

Smith, who now manages Access Communications for the northwest district, also coached the AAA Stars for several years.

Brent Salzl, meanwhile, was a member of the first championship team in 2000. He currently lives in North Battleford with the RCMP doing crime scene forensics and still plays senior hockey with the Battleford Beaver Blues.

He said being a part of that team was very special.

"That first year we had such a good team, good crew, good leaders on that team. We had such a good time," Salzl said. "Probably the biggest thing I remember is just coming to the rink in the playoffs and the lineup being out the door. Just people wishing us luck. And coming out for warmups and the stands were packed for warmups even. It was just a great atmopshere to be a part of."

Following the North Stars 5-2 win over the Flin Flon Bombers, several alumni and current players took part in the auction shootout, including Smith, Delainey, Wakelin, Mike George, and Darren Delainey. Current playre MacGregor Sinclair was the only player to score on Kolby Matthews out of 10 total shooters.

The next North Stars game is Friday night when they host the Yorkton Terriers. The teams will have a rematch on Saturday.

 

nathan.kanter@jpbg.ca

On Twitter: @NathanKanter11

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