Six North Stars named to SJHL/MJHL showcase

By Nathan Kanter
January 11, 2018 - 5:00pm

With the first ever Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League and Manitoba Junior Hockey League combined showcase set to take part on Monday and Tuesday, the SJHL finally released the team rosters on Thursday morning.

Six North Stars players were named to the three teams and will head to Regina at the end of the weekend to take part.

Levi Kleiboer, MacGregor Sinclair, Cody Spagrud, and Layne Young will compete for Team Kunitz, while Dakota Huebner will play for Team Mitchell, and rookie Matthias Urbanski will compete for Team Schwartz.

"It was really good news to hear," Urbanski said after practice on Thursday. "Obviously it's an honour just to be selected and represent the SJHL, after working so hard to achieve things like this. Just really happy."

Urbanski has recorded 13 goals and 10 assists in 31 games in his first season in the SJHL.

Team Schwartz is made up of all rookies, as it is only 1999 and 2000-born players. Team Kunitz and Team Mitchell are made up of 1997 and 1998-born players.

Each team, which is only made up of college-eligible players (making Keith Anderson and Chaseton Braid were not eligible, having played in the Western Hockey League), will play two total games.

"I think [this showcase] is a great idea," Urbanski said. "Obviously it exposes young players to more opportunities... and especially for older guys who might not have the opportunity and are good enough."

Huebner is the only North Star player on Team Mitchell while Team Kunitz has four North Stars.

The 19-year-old laughed it off when asked how that managed to happen.

"Meet new guys. It's all good," Huebner said. "I think the [SJHL] has a bunch of skilled guys and very proud to be a part of that."

Huebner has recorded 13 goals and 18 assists this season in 29 games.

Of the four veterans that will play on Team Kunitz, three already have secured their academic future.

Young, who leads the SJHL with 66 points, committed to the University of Saskatchewan Huskies last week, while MacGrgeor Sinclair, who is fourth in the league in points with 51, has committed to the NCAA Div-1 Canisius Golden Griffins. 

Defenceman Levi Kleiboer, who has 25 points in 24 games, is slated to head to the University of Maine next year.

That leaves Cody Spagrud as the only one of the four North Stars on Team Kunitz still searching for the scholarship.

But North Stars head coach Brandon Heck said all his players will still take part.

"The [league] wants [Young] playing in the game because he draws attention," Heck said. "All the guys want to play too. They're not going to turn it down."

The selection process for creating the teams was made by coaches who individually ranked all players in the league. The SJHL then amalgamated the coaches lists to create each all-star team.

The Notre Dame Hounds lead all teams with 10 selections to the three showcase teams, while the Nipawin Hawks, Humboldt Broncos, and Weyburn Red Wings are second with seven selections each.

The North Stars, Estevan Bruins, and Flin Flon Bombers have six selections each.

"There's a couple [North Stars] that didn't get invited that I'm shocked about," Heck said. "It is what it is on that end. I'm sure every team feels that way."

Taryn Kotchorek and Brad Girard are the most obvious 'snubs', while you could also make a case for Matthew Fletcher on the rookie team.

The first showcase game is set for Monday at 12 p.m. Saskatchewan time. The last game will be played at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 16.

All games will be played at the Co-operators Centre in Regina.


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