Andrew Liwiski's dream growing up was to play with his hometown junior hockey team. In the 2016-2017 season, Liwiski got his first taste of junior hockey and it came with the Dauphin Kings. He played in three games that season and he added up one assist. It was the same season that he was very productive with the Parkland U18 Rangers. In 39 regular-season games, he added up 16 goals and 23 assists and he added another four assists in just three playoff games.

That year was his final as a AAA hockey player; however, just as in books, as one chapter ends one starts and that was the case for the Dauphin native. Liwiski signed with the Alberta Junior Hockey League's Lloydminster Bobcats where he played in 52 games before he was traded to the Melfort Mustangs. In the end, he would never play with Melfort, but instead, his junior journey led him right back to his hometown of Dauphin, Manitoba. 

Head Coach and General Manager, Doug Hedley, signed Liwiski early last season and he ended up playing in 50 regular-season games where he added 20 points (4G). He also had one playoff assist. Moving forward to this year, Liwiski was back with the Kings where he played in just 45 games because of injury; however, he still managed 16 regular-season points and one playoff point.

Liwiski's junior journey came to an end last month after a double-overtime win against the Portage Terriers. After 154 games of junior hockey, 102 of which were with the Kings, he has now graduated.

"Playing with the Kings has been a dream come true. I was lucky that Doug was willing to trade for me," said Liwiski. "I can't say enough great things about that organization. I met so many amazing people, I made so many great friends, the sponsors are fantastic, and my family has been so supportive of me throughout this whole thing."

Just like Brayden Pawluk who has committed to play with the Minot State Beavers next season, Liwiski's favourite moment as a King was beating Portage in that wild affair inside of Credit Union Place. 

"That feeling in the room after the game, I can't even describe it. I think that was honestly one of the greatest feelings I'll ever get to experience," he added.

Just like when his AAA chapter closed and his junior hockey one opened, the book called 'Andrew Liwiski's Hockey Career' will remain open. The new chapter will be called 'College Hockey'. Liwiski has officially signed his letter of intent to Northland College and he'll be joining the Jacks men's hockey team in time for the 2020-2021 season. Since day one of his junior hockey days, Liwiski's goal was to advance to the next level and the Dauphinite has certainly done that.

"It feels absolutely amazing to finally know what I'm going to do next year," continued Liwiski. "It was a long process; I was chatting with a lot of good schools throughout the season. I'm really happy to announce my decision and I can't wait to join the team."

Northland College isn't a big school by any means and that's what Liwiski is looking forward to most.

"I'm a big fan of the smaller school vibe. I'll never be in a class with more than 20 students and I'm looking forward to that," added Liwiski. "With me being out of school the past couple of years, I think Northland College gives me a great opportunity to get a great education in a great setting."

As he joins the Jacks in the fall, Liwiski will do so with a former teammate and a Duck Bay native. Daniel Chartrand has played the past two seasons with the team. Liwiski and Chartrand played together on the Rangers in the 2014-2015 season and they also played a few games together with the Kings. Chartrand is also a big reason why Liwiski is heading to Northland.

"I reached out to him in the past month and he had nothing but great things to say about the program," continued Liwiski. "I think having him there will just make me more comfortable. I've been friends with him for a long time, he's a great guy, and he's a really skilled hockey player. It'll be nice to be back with him."

Liwiski will also be looking to add some power to a team that has struggled as of late. They went just 4-22-1 this past season and they ended the campaign on a 12 game losing streak. Several of those games; however, were decided by one or two goals so Andrew knows this team has a bright future and what it takes to win more games moving forward.

"I'm not really concerned about what happened last year, it really doesn't matter," Liwiski added. "I know the coaching staff has been working really hard and we're going to have a good year next year. I'll do whatever it takes to help this team win games."

Liwiski has set a goal of making the opening day lineup. 

"I want to be a regular in the lineup, it's pretty simple, and that's why I'm going there," he concluded. 

Based on this past season, their regular-season schedule is slated to begin in November.

Braden Schneider grew up in Prince Albert, SK and with that, he spent many nights inside the Art Hauser Centre watching the Western Hockey League’s Raiders, a team that won the Western Hockey League last season.

However, Schneider never had the opportunity to play with his hometown WHL club after he was drafted 12th overall by the Brandon Wheat Kings at the 2016 Bantam Draft. Schneider made his debut in the 2016-2017 season where he played in one regular-season game and three playoff games. He also recorded his first-ever WHL playoff assist during those three games.

Moving forward to the 2017-2018 season, the native of Prince Albert joined the Wheat Kings full-time. In his rookie season, he added up 22 points and another six playoff points. He was also the captain for Team Canada White at the 2017 World Under-17 Challenge. They ended up losing 2-1 in the bronze medal game.

During his 24 point campaign last year with Brandon, Schneider had another opportunity to play for Team Canada. This time he was on the Under-18 team for the IIHF World Under-18 Championships. After going 4-0 in the round-robin, the team was upset against the Czech Republic, 2-1, in the quarter-finals.

Returning to the Wheat City for another season with the Wheat Kings, Schneider exploded throughout the course of the 2019-2020 season. He posted a career-high 42 points in 60 games, 18 more than what he had last season. In fact, dating back to his Bantam hockey days back in Prince Albert, his 42 points were the most he’s ever recorded in a single season.

When the season was postponed and then canceled, the Wheat Kings still had five regular-season games so it was likely that Schneider would have at least tied his junior career-high in goals of eight, a total that he put up last season. He had seven this season.

“I think I came into this season with a lot more confidence and I was getting more opportunities as well,” said Schneider. “In the past, I was really focusing on my defensive side of the game and I just felt that I could add some more offence to become a more complete player. I think I did that and it was a pretty good season for me.

93089102 1075605252814899 6133306855960608768 nThe 2016 12th overall pick has certainly been noticed across the WHL but also, around the hockey world in general. He was named to this year’s Eastern Conference’s First All-Star team. He was joined alongside his teammate, Jiri Patera, who had a fantastic season in net for Brandon.

It’s the first time that Schneider has been named to the First All-Star team.

“That’s a huge honour for sure, the Western Hockey League produces a ton of really good players,” continued Schneider. “To be recognized as one of the few to get honoured, it’s quite special. It’s also great that I’m joined by Jiri, he was phenomenal this season.”

The personal accolades didn’t stop there for the Wheat King defenceman. 52 players in the league were named to the 2020 NHL Central Scouting final rankings. Kaiden Guhle of the Raiders came in as the top-ranked WHLer. Just behind him is Schneider who is ranked ninth when it comes to North American skaters. His teammate, Ridly Greig is ranked 14th while Ben McCartney, also of Brandon, is pegged at 153rd.

“I’ve been paying attention to those things more now because I’m not playing,” said Schneider. “It’s just a ranking, but it’s a pretty solid feeling. It’s a nice spot to end the season at.”

Braden is now back in Prince Albert working out in his home gym as he prepares for the 2020-2021 season.

Prior to next season, Schneider is hoping to hear his name called at the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. The Prince Albert native is a top prospect eligible and it wouldn’t be a surprise to hear his name sooner rather than later. The Draft was originally scheduled for late June in Montreal; however, it has been postponed because of COVID-19. None the less, when the day comes, it’s going to be a special one and one that the Wheat King has been waiting for his entire life.

“I think that every one that is draft-eligible circles the days on their calendar. No one is sure when it will take place right now, but it’s going to be a pretty surreal moment when I hear my name called,” he continued.

Schneider will return to Brandon in late August for training camp as Brandon prepares for next season. After winning 35 games this season, the third-most in the East Division, the top prospect is ready for what should be another solid campaign.

“I think it’s going to be a big year for us,” concluded. “I think we have a really good squad moving into next year and I can’t wait to get things going. We have things to prove and we’ll be ready to do so.”

On this day last year, we chatted with the Dumas family, Dauphin’s Mike Dumas, Thomas Dumas, Tristan Dumas, and Crystal Dumas, specifically

Mike, Thomas, and Tristan took part in the Manitoba Provincial Arm Wrestling Championships at the TYC Event Centre in Winnipeg.

What a weekend it turned out to be for the Dauphin father/son trio as they all are back home in the Parkland with championship trophies. Competing in the 5-7-year-old left and right arm category, Tristan stole the show to finish in first place with both arms.

Thomas took part in the 7-9-year-old category and just like his brother; Thomas stole the show by winning the event with both arms. Thomas and Tristan's dad, Mike also came out on top. He won a title in the Masters left arm competition.

Add it all up and that's five titles between the Dauphin trio.

"It was fantastic and it was unexpected for me. I'm not a competent left-handed puller, I'm more confident in my right but it was such a fantastic feeling to win with my left," said Mike Dumas. "When the boys both came out on top with both arms, it really is unexplainable how everyone was feeling."

Tristan and Thomas may only be six and eight-years-old respectively, but they've shown that they can keep up with the best in Manitoba.

"My boys have such great speed. A lot of the older competitors were raving at their speed and focus," said Dumas. "They were extremely determined and focused when they came up to the table. They were also very respectful. After every match, they would go up to their opponents, shake their hand and say congratulations."

Heading into the event, Thomas was all geared up.

"He went to win. He had it programmed in his head that he was going to win," added Dumas. "He told me "Dad, I'm not going to lose, I'm going to win.". 

Tristan, on the other hand, wasn't expecting to win, but he sure did.

"He was in utter shock that it happened so fast," added Dumas. "I don't think it sunk in until afterward when we were taking pictures. You could just see the smile on his face."

The trio would then take part in the nationals and Tristan continued doing his thing. He won a bronze medal in his age category.

93255342 1579772372172721 3792564712026144768 n 1

As of right now, the Manitoba Summer Games Powered by Manitoba Hydro are still set to take place from August 9-15 in Dauphin.

Pat Kirby is the Senior Games Manager for Sport Manitoba and he had this to say.

"We're working with all of our partners right now and we're analyzing what's happening with the COVID-19 pandemic," said Kirby. "We're preparing all various possibilities and at some point, we'll have to make a decision."

Locally, the Games Committee held its bi-monthly executive meeting last evening. 

"From a Sport Manitoba perspective, everything is on hold right now because of COVID-19," concluded Kirby. 

The 2020 edition of the Games will welcome more than 1500 athletes to Dauphin and area.

Brayden Pawluk joined the Dauphin Kings organization last year when he was acquired in a trade from the Virden Oil Capitals. When this season was cut short because of COVID-19, it brought the end of Brayden's junior career, one that offered up many moments that he will surely never forget.

Although his junior journey has come to an end, his hockey junior has certainly not. After three seasons of play in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League, Pawluk is moving up to the next level, a goal he's had since day one. He'll be joining the Minot State Beavers hockey team in the fall and they play in the American Collegiate Hockey Association (Division 1). 

His letter of intent comes after more than four months of choosing between many different options.

"It's a really good feeling. It was a long process, so it's pretty good feeling to know where I'm going for sure," said Pawluk. "I'm excited to join Minot State, it's an extremely strong hockey program and I'm looking forward to continuing my studies as well, it was the perfect fit for me."

In conference play this past season, the Beavers went 13-4-3. They also added another 10 non-conference wins as they went 23-4-3 throughout the course of the season. They started the campaign with six straight wins and they earned at least a point in their first 11 games. Starting the season on September 13, this past season's team didn't lose a game until October 27 when they fell 4-3 against Davenport.

Last year, the team won the national championships. 

"The town is great, the school is really solid and the hockey program is top-notch," continued Pawluk. "They know how to win and it's really exciting that I'll be joining a program that is a force every single season. I want to jump in next season and help them repeat as champions."

Brayden's first year in the fall will also mean he joins the team as they celebrate some history. The 2020-2021 campaign will be Minot State's 25th year of play. Last year's national championship was Minot's second in team history.

"I think that just shows the support that the team has received and the success that they've had," added Pawluk.

As mentioned above, Brayden started his career with the Virden Oil Capitals. After playing 91 games with them, Pawluk's junior career ended with 80 games as a Dauphin King. In 57 games with the club this season, the hard-working, hard-shooting defenceman scored six goals and he added 37 points. 

Pawluk also certainly scored some big goals as a member of the team. Trailing 1-0 against Winnipeg on December 6, Pawluk filled the ice with teddy bears. 12:37 into the first period, he hammered a shot from the point which beat Cooper Hatfield as he was the 2019-2020 Dauphin Kings Teddy Bear man.

Fast forward to February 28 and Pawluk made Winnipeg pay again. 3:29 into overtime, he beat Hatfield to give Dauphin another overtime win.

"Playing in Dauphin was such a great time. I'll always be forever grateful that I was given the chance to play with that great organization," continued the recent college commit. "It's such a great community and the Dauphinites really support their team."

"The facilities are great and the coaching staff is wonderful," he added. "I'll never forget my times as a member of the Dauphin Kings."

Although the ending of the season was no doubt a disappointing and emotional one for Pawluk alongside every other graduating player, the campaign did come to an end with a bright spot. Playing against the Portage Terriers in the first round of the MJHL playoffs, Dauphin took down the Terriers, 1-0, in double-overtime of game three. The win brought Dauphin back into the series.

"That definitely takes the cake. Not everyone gets to experience winning a game in double-overtime, it was a pretty surreal thing," Pawluk concluded. "We went out with a bang, that's for sure."

On this day last year, the Parkland Thunder took down the Source for Sports Brandon AAA Hockey Challenge.

The won four of their five games to win the championship at the tournament which welcomed teams from around Western Canada in their 2011 division. 

In the final, Kellan Shtykalo scored two goals while Travis Catcheway, Carter Smigelsky, Matthew Ducheck, and Chayce Stoski all scored singles in the victory.

Zachary Carter won the game in net by making 14 saves in the 6-4 win. 

Mason Auger led the way for the team with 15 points, 12 of which were goals in the five games.

Here is the full roster and their stats for the weekend.

#NAMEGPGAPTSSOGSOG %PPGPPASHSHAPENPIMMVPGWFGAVG PTS
2 Chayce Stoski 5 3 0 3 8 37.5 0 0 0 0 1 2 0 0 0 0.60
4 Avery Crowe 5 0 2 2 0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.40
6 Drew Luhowy 5 2 2 4 5 40.0 0 1 0 0 1 2 0 0 0 0.80
7 Felix Huberdeau 5 5 2 7 11 45.5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 1 1.40
8 Weston Rank 5 0 2 2 7 0.0 0 0 0 0 1 2 0 0 0 0.40
10 Nolan Shaw 5 0 2 2 4 0.0 0 0 0 0 2 4 0 0 0 0.40
11 Mason Auger 5 12 3 15 27 44.4 1 1 0 0 1 2 0 0 1 3.00
15 Matthew Ducheck 5 4 3 7 6 66.7 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 1 1.40
16 Giovanni Dibattista 5 1 3 4 4 25.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.80
18 Kellan Shtykalo 5 4 3 7 10 40.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1.40
19 Carter Smigelsky 5 2 1 3 5 40.0 0 0 0 0 1 2 0 0 0 0.60
21 Rhett Legaarden 5 0 1 1 4 0.0 0 1 0 0 3 6 0 0 0 0.20
29 Travis Catcheway 5 2 3 5 7 28.6 0 0 0 0 1 2 0 0 1 1.00

GOALIE

#NAMEGPMINWLTSOLSOGSVGAGAASV %SOMVP
1 Zachary Carter 5 300:00 4 1 0 0 81 66 15 3.00 .815 0 0

It's become an event that volleyball players from around the province get excited for. It's an event that welcomes nearly 500 teams every single year; however, because of COVID-19, it can now be added to the list of sports events impacted.

Super-Spike 2020 has been cancelled because of the ongoing concern. This year's event that was scheduled for July 17-18 in Winnipeg was going to be the 19th year.

"It was a heartbreaking decision for us, honestly devastating," said Greg Paseshnik, Chair of the Organizing Committee. "We didn't take the decision lightly, but in all honesty, there wasn't really an option. Safety of all participants, staff, volunteers, and all involved is what matters most."

Super-Spike has become an event that welcomes some of the top beach volleyball players not only in Manitoba but also from around the country.

Beach volleyball has become increasingly popular and it shows during this three-day festival over the years. Super-Spike also hosts different concerts and activities throughout the three days.

Although Super-Spike 2020 has been cancelled, that doesn't mean it's going away. The event will be back in 2021 and Greg says it's going to be a party that no one wants to miss out on.

"We're already planning to see what we can do next year so that it's the most special event so far," he concluded. "Our attendees can certainly expect something big and special in 2021."

Scott McCallum from the Gilbert Plains Country Club and Clinton Weir from the Swan River Golf & Country Club have voiced their thoughts when it comes to this year's golf season. 

Both are on the same page when it comes to remaining hopeful that there will be a golf season and that it starts sooner rather than later. When it comes to Ray Karlson, General Manager at the Dauphin Lake Golf Club, he has the same mindset.

Late last week, the provincial government announced that provincial parks will remain open for visitors to get some extra physical activity in. All concessions and washrooms will be closed. However, being a non-essential service, all golf courses have to remain closed until at least April 28 after the government extended its public health order yesterday.

With there still being at least two good weeks until the season would start anyway, the golf season hasn't officially been impacted as of right now. 

However, just the fact that provincial parks can remain open for visitors to walk but golf courses can't is a confusing concept to Ray and many others.

"It's kind of a mixed message for me. I believe golf is one of the few sports out there that you can actually practice social distancing," said Karlson. "I guess it's just kind of a wait and see thing. I'm hoping and I know that many others are that the government will allow golf to go forward this season."

In his opinion and without a doubt, the 2020 golf season should go ahead as planned.

"100 percent. I believe that we would have to take some extraordinary steps to make sure everyone is safe, but I believe the season should be played," said Karlson. "Something we would look into doing is having marshalls throughout the golf course. We want everyone to be safe and we also know that so many people are looking forward to playing the game they love."

When it comes to the Dauphin Lake Golf Club, the golf course draws a much older crowd. The government has made it known that seniors should be that much more cautious when it comes to staying safe against COVID-19. 

Ray understands that if the season is at all delayed, the DLGC will face some financial issues. Even if the season isn't delayed at all, the golf club could still face financial issues with the precautions that everyone is taking.

"Anytime we lose a membership, it's a financial loss and it's hard to get it back. We've worked hard for the past few years to attract people to the golf course and it's worked," continued Karlson. "We need everything that we've been getting over the past years; it's a tough business that we're in."

At this point, Ray says maintenance staff will begin working on May 1. If the golf season doesn't begin on that day, there will be income going out; however, no income will be coming in. If it's for an extended period of time that also poses a problem, but the maintenance staff won't be going anywhere.

"We have to maintain the golf course no matter what happens, it's as simple as that," he added. 

Tournaments and other events at the club will be postponed at first with the hope that they can take place.

If you do want to sign up for a membership, you can call Ray at 638-9400 beginning tomorrow, April 15. Keep in mind, if the season is shortened at all, you will only be charged a pro-rated fee.

Excelling on the ice and becoming an all-star player is something that Roblin's Jakob Brook has always strived to achieve. Brook is still in search of becoming an all-star in the Western Hockey League and he'll definitely be in a position to really show what he has next season.

He'll begin the 2020-2021 season with the Regina Pats, where he will play a big role, something that hasn't necessarily been the case throughout his WHL career to date. While Jakob puts a lot of stock into achieving his goals on the ice, he also has goals of excelling in the classroom. Since he was a little kid, Brook has always focused hard on his school work and that's continued into his junior hockey days.

Brook was named last year's WHL's Eastern Conference Scholastic Player of the Year. He averaged 85% in English, 92% in Native Studies, 95% in Physical Science, and 98% in Physical Education.

This year, the Roblin native who loves to fish in his downtime has been up to much of the same thing. In his core classes, Brook maintained an academic average of 93.5%. His highest mark was in Physics 30 (97%) while his biology mark was 93%. He finished with a 92% mark in both Pre-Calculus 30 and English Language Arts.

His success in the classroom has once again been noticed by the league. Brook is the 2019-2020 WHL's Eastern Conference Scholastic Player of the Year, a feat he's now achieved in his first two Western Hockey League seasons. 

"That felt really good. I definitely pride myself on my school work and I always work really hard towards keeping my grades up," said Brook. "It's a great honour to be named the Scholastic Player of the Year in the Eastern Conference, it means a lot to me."

When Brook won the award last year, he became the Eastern Conference nominee for the WHL's Scholastic Player of the Year. He ended up coming up short to Dustin Wolf of the Everett Silvertips. His goal coming into this year was to put himself in the same position as he was last year and now he's done that.

"Winning it last year and then not winning it for the league, I wanted to come into this year and repeat that and then win it for the league," said Brook. "That was a big goal of mine and I really hope I can win the league award in the coming weeks."

Brook will go up against Dylan Garand of the Kamloops Blazers. The 17-year-old maintained an academic average of 96.5% and he will graduate with honours. The Blazer net minder also had an all-star season as he helped the Blazers to their first B.C. Division title since 2012. He went 28-10-2 in 42 games. He was named the Western Conference's Scholastic Player of the Year. 

"Garand is a great goalie and he has great marks as well," added Brook. "I feel that either one of us is deserving of this. I'm not thinking too much about it and we'll see what happens."

The recipient of the Daryl K. (Doc) Seaman Memorial Trophy for WHL Scholastic Player of the Year will be announced on Wednesday, May 13.

"I'll be very proud and happy if I win that," he concluded.

The last time an Eastern Conference player was named the WHL Scholastic Player of the Year was back in the 2015-2016 season when Tanner Kaspick of the Brandon Wheat Kings took home the award. 

On a normal year, the golf season would be right around the corner. The snow yesterday would push the season back a bit; however, at the end of the day, Parkland golfers would be swinging their clubs in a few weeks at one of the many courses in the region, one of which is the Gilbert Plains Country Club which stands as one of the top courses in the province.

This year; however, is not a normal one because of COVID-19. Currently, all non-essential businesses remain closed until at least April 28 and that's a health order that was put in place by the province. Golf is not seen as essential which has many golfers wondering when and if they'll get to tee it up this season.

Last Thursday, the province announced that provincial parks are allowed to remain open for visitors to walk around and stay active. All restroom facilities and canteens would close, but the point was to give people a place to stay active. 

Scott McCallum knows golf will be different this season, but he does believe that courses should be given the go-ahead to open when the weather permits.

"Golf is something that people use to get outside and stay active," said McCallum. "It's an important part of some people’s days that use this as their outing for the day. Of course, we would take the proper precautions to keep things safe, so I think golf courses should open."

When it comes to maintaining the course, Scott has assured that maintenance staff will remain on the grounds to keep everything in top-notch shape, something that golfers are used to when they visit the GPCC. When it comes to tournaments and other events such as men's night and ladies' night; however, Scott knows those may not go ahead and if they do, they certainly will be different.

With tournaments bringing in a large amount of the golf course's income each year, there will be a financial impact also.

"We're preparing for the worst at this time. When it comes to men's night, we're trying to figure out a way to do tee-times instead of a shotgun start," continued McCallum. "We still want to continue with the competition that we offer, but when it comes to having a lot of people in one space, I think that's far down the road."

As mentioned above, the snow that fell yesterday and has continued into today has an effect on when the course would open if this was a normal year anyway. 

"We're still two good weeks away from opening," he concluded. "Even if this were a normal year, we wouldn't be open right now."

The Dauphin Kings are set to draft 5th overall when the Manitoba Junior Hockey League holds it’s Bantam Draft later this month.

The draft will be online using RinkNet Live Draft Centre technology which is provided by HockeyTech.

Overall, Dauphin will select 5th overall in five of the first six rounds. Swan Valley will Draft 5th in the fifth round.

Prior to the draft on April 26, Dauphin can submit up to two Auto-Protect selections of players in this area. However, the team can decline one of those selections and defer it to round 7 or 8 of the draft. 

Here is the breakdown on selections for the first six rounds.