This time last year, the golf season was right around the corner. That may be the case this year; however, there is a sense of uncertainty because of the current COVID-19 pandemic. The Gilbert Plains Country Club opened up last year on April 18.

"It's honestly a little bit early to tell. We're probably about three weeks to a month away from opening our golf course," said General Manager, Scott McCallum. "We'll have a better indication in a couple of weeks likely."

With the entire country practicing social distancing due to COVID-19, that could also have an effect on the golf season with the sport being quite social. This is something that Scott understands and he's ready to make adjustments.

"I've been talking to several golf professionals in this region and we've been throwing ideas around," continued McCallum. "We do know that golf will be different because this isn't just going to go away. You can expect no rakes in bunkers, modified pins and things like that."

Men's Night is a big part of what happens at the GPCC. Tuesday nights is the 18-hole format while the 9-hole event takes over the course on Thursday evenings. At this point, it's still too early to know if those will happen this season.

"Yeah, we're just going to have to wait for a provincial mandate," concluded McCallum. "We've thrown ideas around so that we can function. Large gatherings are a big part of the golf course, but we want to curb the curve and we respect that. We'll see what the government has to say."

McCallum did add that the first thing to open will be the driving range. Snow has already been cleared, but a significant amount of snow is expected to fall over the next couple of days which will likely push things back as well.

Back on Friday, March 13 at 4:00 p.m., Dauphin Recreation Services closed its doors to the public due to the growing concern of COVID-19. 

It was originally set to close for two weeks; however, as of today, March 30, Dauphin Rec Services will remain closed until further notice

"The status is just the same. We're going to take recommendations from the province," said Ryan Vanderheyden, General Manager. "With gatherings being limited, we don't see us opening within the next few weeks."

"We'll make our decisions moving forward based on the provincial guidelines," he concluded.

The closure includes Credit Union Place, the Dauphin Curling Club, the Kinsmen Aquatic Centre, Aspen Lodge, Strilkiwski Lounge, and the Rotary Arena, including the upstairs area used for hot yoga.

The Canadian Football League has announced that they're pushing back the start of training camps because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Rookie camps are normally allowed to begin as early as May 11 while main training camp was set to begin on May 17; however, that's not the case. 

No further decisions have been made public when it comes to delaying the start of preseason or the regular season. Although, you can expect at least a delay when it comes to the start of preseason as it was slated to start on May 24. 

Winnipeg was set to begin its season on June 13 in Hamilton. 

 

The Brandon Wheat Kings really showed what they were made of this season from December 30 until January 24 when they won 10 straight games. They extended their point streak to 11 games in a 6-5 overtime loss against the Lethbridge Hurricanes on January 25.

During that time, the Wheat Kings downed Regina and Moose Jaw twice each. They also dispatched of Prince Albert, Medicine Hat, Red Deer, Prince George, Calgary, and Victoria.

With the season now over, DUBNetwork had an opportunity to chat with General Manager Darren Ritchie to get his thoughts on the season. Brandon won 35 games this season and they ended the campaign by going 6-3-1 in their final 10 games.

“I felt our team got better as the season went on and that’s what we wanted,” said Ritchie. “I’m really happy with how our season played out. It’s disappointing that we couldn’t finish it, but we understand. Our coaching staff did a wonderful job and on most nights, we had a chance to win. That’s all you can really ask for.”

The season started with some front-office changes. That included the promotion of Ritchie to General Manager and Dave Lowry was brought on as the Head Coach.

“Dave is a great teacher, he makes everyone a part of things,” continued Ritchie. “He has a wealth of knowledge and he’s an even better person. Our team really benefited because of him.”

Let’s now take a look at what led Brandon to succeed this season.

Defence/goaltending:

The Wheat Kings only allowed 173 goals this season, the seventh-fewest across the Western Hockey League. You can attribute this to a few things, a solid defensive core and all-star goaltending. Leading the back end was Braden Schneider. He led Brandon in scoring from the back end with 42 points (7G) and his +9 was the 10th best on the team. Chad Nychuk also took a step forward in his game as he was a +12 and he notched 39 points, the second-most among defenceman on the team.

These, of course, are just two players that fuelled the Brandon back end, but it truly was a full team effort.

Patera was forced to miss some action due to an injury and that meant Ethan Kruger had to step up and step up he did. He had three shutouts and 11 wins throughout the season. Jiri Patera won 24 games this season with Brandon and he had five shutouts. That’s the fourth most wins of any goaltender in the league and tied for the second-most shutouts. Jiri’s .921 save percentage is also the third-highest among goalies who have played at least 30 games.

They say great defence and top-notch goaltending can lift a team to a championship. We’ll never know if this year’s team could have pulled that off, but if you look at the numbers, they could have been a good pick heading into the playoffs.

Scoring:

Just like their defence was in the top half of the league, Brandon’s offence was as well. The Wheat Kings mustered 227 goals this season, the ninth most across the league. When it came to Eastern Conference teams, Brandon scored the fifth most. Medicine Hat led the way with 265, 16 more than Lethbridge.

For the most part, Brandon’s offence was pretty spread out which means this year’s team could use any line to score a key goal at any time. Leading the way as expected was Luka Burzan. He tickled the twine 35 times this season, the ninth most of any player in the league.

Right behind Burzan is where you would find Ben McCartney and Ridly Greig. The dynamic duo added up 61 and 60 points, respectively. In all, Brandon had eight skaters who put up at least 30 points in the 35 win campaign.

Burzan’s eight game-winning goals were tied for the third-most in the league, a category that was led by Bryce Kindopp’s 11 game-winning tallies.

Penalty kill:

The Wheat Kings were shorthanded 247 times this season, the seventh-most in the league. They only allowed 35 goals which are the second-fewest in the league behind the Edmonton Oil Kings. That means Brandon’s percentage on the penalty kill is 85.8%, the second-best ironically, behind Edmonton.

Brandon also scored seven shorthanded goals so it’s safe to say that Brandon’s penalty kill was tremendous this season.

The final chapter:

Jiri Patera, Dom Schmiemann, and Connor Gutenberg were primed and ready for their final playoff run. They won’t get that chance and now the chapter on their junior careers has officially closed. All three players aren’t eligible to play junior hockey moving forward being born in 1999.

Patera: Played in 130 regular-season games with Brandon over the past three seasons. He chalked up 70 wins and his save percentage was at least .906 in all three years. The past two seasons he finished with a .921 save percentage each year.

Gutenberg: He was this year’s captain. So with that, Connor’s junior career ended as “Captain Gutenberg”. He played in 312 regular-season games with the Wheat Kings and he had at least 37 points in the past four seasons. He had a career-high 53 points in the 2017-2018 season. Connor also had the chance to lift the trophy when the Wheat Kings won the WHL in the 2015-2016 season, his first in the league.

Schmiemann: Is the shortest-serving Wheat King that’s set to graduate. He joined the team earlier this season after being acquired from the Tri-City Americans. In that time, he had 15 points in 51 games and he became a fan favourite and a favourite in the dressing room as well. In all, he played 272 Western Hockey League games.

“I feel terribly for our entire team and the three guys above that are graduating,” continued Ritchie. “You want to finish your junior days on the ice and they won’t get that chance. They carried themselves so well as Wheat Kings.”

They all loved being a part of this organization and they were great for us,” added Ritchie. “It’s a tough time for them, they’re mature men and they understand what’s happening around the globe. I thank all three of them for being a part of this organization.”

If you were getting ready to take part in the Manitoba Marathon, you’ll have to wait.

The event originally scheduled for June 21 has been postponed because of COVID-19. The plan is to reschedule when everything clears up.

The main marathon is a qualifier for the Boston Marathon.

When it came to the ICE organization, one of the big questions many people had was how would they respond after last season. It was a season in which the team won just 13 games, the second-fewest in the Western Hockey League.

They scored just 181 goals which were only more than four other teams and they allowed 324 goals, by far the most in the league. They also lost eight of their last 10 games.

Whether it was a relocation or just an extra year of experience for some players and a solid cast also brought in, but the now Winnipeg ICE dramatically turned the table. Moving from Kootenay to Winnipeg was set to be a big step for the team, one they completed with flying colours.

When this year’s season was cut short due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Winnipeg was in second place in the East Division, just five points back of Prince Albert for the top spot. They had the seventh-most goals in the league at 231 and they won their last four games.

The ICE also added up 38 wins throughout the season. There were a ton of positives about this year’s ICE team and we’ll break down a lot of it. Before we get to the positives, there is no doubt that Winnipeg left points out on the table. Yes, the team scored a lot; however, they also gave up quite a lot.

Goals against: 207

The ICE gave up the eighth-most goals in the entire league. Of playoff teams, only the Kelowna Rockets (208) and Seattle Thunderbirds (240) gave up more through the course of the season.

Winnipeg gave up at least five goals in 14 games this season. The most in one single game was when they gave up 10 against Edmonton, a team they couldn’t solve this season.

Things were looking up though as the season came to an end. They gave up just six goals in their last five games.

So giving up goals was a little blunder in the ICE’s success and perhaps held them back from ending the season as the top team in the East Division. However, there was a ton of great things about this year’s team so let’s dive into that.

Leaders:

A name you would see on the stat sheet nearly every game was 20-year-old Isaac Johnson. The former Tri-City American scored 28 goals for Winnipeg this season and he added 45 points. He was also a +14 which was second-best on the team behind Carson Lambos.

Peyton Krebs only played 38 games this season due to injury and in these games, he was extremely productive. He finished the season with 60 points (12G), three less than Michal Teply who finished second in team scoring. He also had five game-winning goals which are quite incredible seeing as he only played in 38 games. For comparison, Johnson played in 62 games and he also had five.

Michal Teply is no doubt a contender for the Rookie of the Year award. He had 63 points in 53 games to lead all rookies in scoring this season across the league. Teply also had a team-leading eight game-winning goals. Teply was selected by Winnipeg in the CHL Import Draft last off-season.

Liam Hughes: I’d be falling very short if I didn’t talk about this man of Andover, Minnesota. Hughes kept Winnipeg in several games and had his most successful WHL career to date.

He went 21-11 with a 2.53 G.A.A to go along with a .914 save percentage. Fun fact about Liam this season, he was a perfect 3-for-3 in the shootout when it comes to saves.

Carson Lambos: Points wise, Lambos finished 28th when it came to rookie scoring with his 32 points which certainly isn’t a bad number for a man in his rookie season. It’s his defensive game where he really showed what he could do as many expected. Just as Teply, I also believe that Lambos is a contender for Rookie of the Year. He’s the only rookie defenceman in the top 30 in scoring. He was also a solid +20 which is the 22nd best among defenceman and second among rookie defenceman.

In closing:

These are just a few players that helped Winnipeg to a very solid season, one that included 25 more wins than last year.

The last time an ICE team won more than 30 games in a season was way back in the 2014-2015 campaign when they went 37-31-1-3 in 72 games. This year’s team surpassed that and they still had five games left.

With a solid cast of rookies and more experienced players eligible to return next year, we should expect more of the same from Winnipeg. The 2019-2020 season truly was a fun one, what will the 2020-2021 season bring? In due time, we will find out.

The Swan Valley Stampeders officially wrapped up their season by handing out some awards.

Playoff MVP: Swan River's Carter Cockburn

Cockburn had five goals in just three games as the Stampeders had a 2-1 lead on Waywayseecappo. Foucher had a sparkling .954 save percentage and a 1.35 G.A.A in three games.

Regular season MVP: Josh Maucieri and Mikael Foucher

Were the co-winners of this award. Foucher went 24-13-2 this season with a .917 save percentage and a 2.80 G.A.A. Maucieri, meanwhile, was second in team scoring with 55 points (16G).

Jay Sullivan Memorial: Jamie Valentino

He chalked up two goals and eight assists this season. This is what Barry Wolff had to say on Valentino.

"Being the youngest player on the team, juggling hockey and school every day, Valentino’s perseverance and dedication were second to none," said Wolff. "We cannot wait to see what the future holds."

Coaches Award: Swan River's Lane Kirk

He was 13th in team scoring with two goals and 20 assists.

Barry Wolff added that he was a leader out on the ice and dressing room. His desire to win was exactly what we needed.

Heart Trophy: Leyson Coleman

Brother Cordell played for the Dauphin Kings) Leyson was 10th in scoring with 11 goals and 13 assists.

"Coleman’s dedication to the team was unbelievable. He was a leader both on and off the ice," said Barry Wolff. "He was the first to community events. He was our leader and made an impact in whatever environment he was in."

Fan Favourite: Tommy Cardinal

Tommy added up 22 goals and 30 assists in 60 games with Swan Valley this year.

"Tommy is a hard-working player, that on many nights, lead the team in hits, some very big hits, huge goals, and has a likable personality," said Wolff. "There is no better choice for this year's Fan Favourite."

Hardest Worker: Austen McIvor

In his rookie season, McIvor from Winnipeg scored once and added three assists.

"McIvor is another young man who brings his lunch bucket and work boots every day," continued Wolff he is such a great competitor and workhorse."

Unsung Hero: Nathan Carl

Was a regular on the stat sheet as he compiled 23 goals and 23 assists.

"He came to work every night, playing up and down the lineup," continued Wolff. "He played in all situations, doing a lot of things that helped the team win, many times going unnoticed."

Top Defenceman: Lane Kirk and John Jebamani

Kirk also won the Coaches Award. He had two goals and 20 assists. John Jebamani notched five goals and 26 assists.

"Kirk and Jebamani both were steady all season, and solid at both ends of the ice," said Wolff on the duo. "Especially on the defensive part of the game where they played big minutes and were a huge part of our success."

Most Improved: Carter Cockburn and Jackson Betcher

The Swan River native also won the Playoff MVP award alongside Mikael Foucher. After a 12-point campaign last year, Cockburn had 23 this year. In the playoffs, he already had five goals in three games.

Betcher, meanwhile, had 21 points this season. Last year, he had just five.

"These two local players wear the Stampeder jersey with so much pride," said Wolff. They both had a great seasons and we know there are more good things to come from these two young men."

Top Scorer and Rookie of the Year: Luke Beerman

He led the team this season with 57 points in the regular season. In the playoffs, he added another two goals and one assist in three games.

For eight years, Kaitlin Smith took the figure skating scene by storm in her hometown of Roblin, Manitoba. Smith not only skated locally, but she travelled across the province to take part in events. 

Now in school in Winnipeg, the Roblin native has changed her focus and she's now a judge and she has another accolade to add to her resume. Every year, Skate Manitoba gives away the Ian Carmichael Award to someone who is pursuing their post-secondary education while also furthering themselves in the skating world in either coaching or officiating. This year's winner of the Ian Carmichael Award is none other than Smith. It's the first time that the 22-year-old from Roblin has won the award.

"I was surprised that I won because there is a lot of deserving people in our sport," said Smith. "I was really excited that I won and I feel really honoured to have been chosen for this."

Smith now judges events across the province in the Stars age category. She's not settling on winning this one award, she plans on continuing judging moving forward while balancing her busy class load.

"The award makes me feel that my efforts are being recognized and they're appreciated," she continued. "I won't stop judging, it's what I love to do, I love watching so many excellent young skaters that are trying to become the next big figure skater."

Smith is hoping; however, to move up and she's not far from doing that. She's already completed her trial judging to officiate all the way up to novice which is the age category that Dauphin's, Breken Brezden is currently skating in. She just has to take part in a clinic that was already supposed to happen, but it was postponed because of COVID-19. Smith has been waiting to move up for years so she's very excited for her chance to do so.

"I've been waiting for this for a long time, I've been pushing for them to get a clinic going so I can make it happen," concluded Smith. "I'm looking forward to getting back in the skating community in a greater capacity."

When it comes to her studies, Kaitlin is currently studying to become a teacher one day.

The baseball season was expected to be right around the corner. However, due to the growing concern of COVID-19, the sports world is currently at a standstill and no one is really sure when the season could begin and that's certainly affecting the Dauphin Minor Baseball Association.

As a result, they have extended their registration deadline until Friday, April 10. You can register online and all late fees have been waived until April 10.

"We are really hoping that we do get some sort of season this year," said Jodie Romanow, President. "We are under the direction of Baseball Manitoba and we've been told just to hang out. This may not look like our regular season, but we do encourage people to go online and register."

The fees for this season are as follows:

Rally Cap: 2013/14/15 - $75. 

U9: 2011/12 - $95.

U11: 2009/10 - $170.

U13: 2007/08 -  $180.

U15: 2005-06 - $190.

U18: 2002/03/04 - $180.

"Depending on what type of a season we get, we'll definitely be pro-rating and giving refunds," continued Romanow. "If it's not a full season, we'll be deciding on giving refunds to everyone who registers."

Romanow continued to say that they're going to try their best to give ballplayers in the area as much of a season as possible; however, safety is first and that's their main priority.

After two solid seasons with the Parkland Rangers program, Tyler Jubenvill began his junior hockey career with the Winkler Flyers in the 2015-2016 season where that success continued. In 134 total games with Winkler, Tyler added up 72 points (19G).

Growing up in Gilbert Plains, Tyler always had the dream of playing college hockey with the best of the best. After a solid season with the Cedar Rapids Roughriders of the United States Hockey League, Jubenvill achieved that dream, one that he thought about for so many years.

He began his college career with the Bemidji State University Division 1 men's hockey team last season. Now, Tyler has completed his second full season of college hockey. He played in 27 games this year after 28 last year.

"It was a good season, we were one of the top teams in our conference and the entire nation as well," said Jubenvill. "It was a pretty good year, but it sucked how it ended with COVID-19. Of course, safety is the most important thing, but that doesn't mean I'm not disappointed."

A member of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, the team compiled a 22-10-5 overall record, good for second in the conference. Nationwide, the team finished the season as the 11th best among Division 1 hockey teams. They finished the season with five straight weeks of being inside the top 15. 

The team went 20-5-3-2 against WCHA competition. In their quarterfinal series, they beat Lake Superior State University to advance before the season was cut short because of the outbreak. 

"It was a lot of fun being on such a good team, everyone was best friends in the dressing room," continued Jubenvill. "It was a ton of fun going to the rink every day and of course; it helps when you're winning consistently."

With the off-season now here, Jubenvill will prepare for next season. Next year's roster should be another contender as the team has only lost three seniors. With a solid freshmen class set to join the team, Jubenvill is excited for more of the same, winning hockey games.

"I think we're all feeling pretty good. I think with the ending this year, everyone is pretty motivated going into next year with the thought process of finishing things off," he concluded. 

Jubenvill also recorded two points this season. 

The Brandon Wheat Kings picked two players in the first-ever WHL U.S. Prospects Draft that took place on Wednesday, March 25.

Both players came from Shattuck St.Mary’s in Minnesota. Prior to the suspension of their season, the team was dominating their competition as they were 40-11-7 with the U14 team.

Their last game of the season was a 6-2 win against Providence.

Brandon’s first pick was in round #1, 17th overall. With that selection, the Wheat Kings selected Zach Nehring. From Minot, North Dakota, Nehring played in 46 of the team’s games and he scored 20 goals and added 26 assists.

Brandon’s next selection was in round #2, 28th overall. With this selection, Brandon picked up Ty Henricks who averaged well more than a point-per-game.

In 55 games with Shattuck-St. Mary’s, the 14-year-old scored 37 goals and he added 31 assists.

Henricks was able to add up 31 more points compared to last season. Playing with this same team, Ty scored 16 goals and he had 21 assists for a 37 point total.

Any players that weren’t picked in the U.S. Prospects Draft remain eligible for the 2020 WHL Bantam Draft and they can be listed by a WHL club at any time after that.