After taking last year off, the Wheat City Whiskey Jacks will return to the field this summer, but they won't be playing in Brandon at Andrews Field. A member of the Expedition League, Brandon never played a game last season because of border restrictions and when an attempt to find a home south of the border came up short, they threw in the towel on the season.

And with border restrictions still in place, Brandon once again attempted to find a home south of the border so they could get back on the field and this time, management was able to secure a home field. The Whiskey Jacks will play their home games at Harold Kraft Memorial Field, home of the North Dakota Fighting Hawks, a team in NCAA Division 1 Western Athletic Conference.

Ray Walker is the general manager of the Whiskey Jacks and he is glad the team will be getting back on the field, but it's unfortunate that they won't be at their true home in Brandon.

"It was just a heartbreaking decision for us," said Walker. "We know how hard we have worked to put together a solid team this year and we were looking forward to playing at Andrews Field in front of our home fans. The players will now have to energize us from about two hours south."

Five Canadians will play on this year's team, one of which is William Hlady of Dauphin. Will previously played collegiately at Valley City State University. Wheat City's 64 game season begins on May 25 with the league championship series taking place in August. 

The last time Wheat City played a game was in the 2019 season when they went 12-52 and that saw them finish at the bottom of the Lewis Division. But with the season just more than a month away from beginning, Walker believes this season will be different for a team that is preparing for its second season on the field and third in the league. 

"Coach Laughlin has done a tremendous job at recruiting this off-season," said Walker. "We have a great pitching staff and the position players we have are some of the best in the NCAA. If there was ever a year that we could make a run for it, this would be the year."

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Walker says this year's Whiskey Jacks roster features more Division 1 talent than they ever had. And when they do hit the field on Tuesday, May 25 for their first game against the Souris Valley Sabre Dogs, they will have Zoe HIcks to turn to.

The Division 1 softball player that plays with Louisiana State University is the first female to sign a player contract in Expedition League history. Hicks says it was never about making history, she just wants to play at the top level possible. 

Hideki Matsuyama became the first Japanese-born man to win a major championship and now, we'll take a look back to 2012 when four Dauphinites had the chance to be a part of the action.

Scott McCallum and Mike Pernarowski are big country music fans so the pair made their way to the home of country music, Nashville. Bubba Watson won the 2012 Masters and although Mike and Scott didn't get to watch the Sunday, they did watch two practice rounds on the Monday and Tuesday of tournament week.

And when they arrived in Augusta, Georgia on the Sunday -- four days before the tournament -- they were joined by Shane Yuill and Bruce Parker. 

"To see how pristine that golf course is, it was incredible," said McCallum. "And to see how skilled all of the players were, that was amazing."

On the Sunday, they played Augusta's sister course which Scott describes as 'absolutely tremendous, an incredible course'.

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The four had tickets to attend the Par 3 event on the Wednesday; however,  inclement weather postponed the event. So Scott and Mike made their way back to Nashville where they would spend three more days before returning to Dauphin. 

"It was one of those trips that likely won't happen again, we had a blast, and I don't think any of us will forget the great memories we made," ended McCallum.

They also had the chance to watch a few Nashville Predators games, a team that was coached by Barry Trotz at the time. 

After playing rugby for four years with the Dauphin Clippers, some very exciting things are on the way for Karlee Ushkowski.

For starters, Karlee has been accepted into pre-nursing at Brandon University. And while she's at Brandon, the former Clipper will continue playing rugby, now at the next level. Karlee's growth over the past few years on the field has been tremendous and Rod Carberry is a big reason why.

Carberry, who will step down as a coach of the high school program after the upcoming season, pushed Ushkowski to her limits and it's paid off.

Karlee has committed to play with the Bobcats women's rugby team, a team that was formed about five years ago. The Dauphinite is very thankful for everything that Carberry taught her over the years and she's grateful for all of the teammates she played with during her four years at the DRCSS. And now, it's time to make some new teammates and play for a new coach.

"I'm super excited for this opportunity, it means a lot to me that I'm being given this chance," offered Ushkowski. "Now that I'm playing at a higher level, I'll have to step it up."

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Karlee knows it will be tough playing at the next level, but she's ready for any challenge that comes her way. She's already proved in the past that she is one of the top rugby players at her age level in the province.

On two different occasions in 2019, Karlee represented the province as she made the U16 Team Manitoba roster. 

In March of that year, the team played in a tournament in Vancouver and they made their way to Florida for another tournament in April 2019. And prior to both of those events, Karlee also played a tournament in Vancouver with Team Manitoba in March of 2018. 

"All three of those events were such great experiences, I learned so much from playing against different elite athletes," ended Ushkowski. "I believe those events helped me become the player I am today."

Golfers will soon be able to get their favourite liquor on the golf course.

Public health officials announced minor amendments are being made to the public health orders, which will allow courses to sell liquor on the course.

The change comes into effect on Friday, April 9 at 12:01 a.m.

Ryder Thompson started his season with the Waywayseecappo Wolverines of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League (MJHL) where he would play in eight games, recording three points. When the league postponed its season in November and ultimately cancelled it, Ryder found himself without a place to play.

At least, in Canada. From Russell, Thompson relocated more than 21 hours away from home as he joined the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League (WHL). Ryder -- who is the younger brother of Josh Thompson who was off to a great start with the Parkland Rangers before the season was shut down -- was drafted 105th overall by Portland in the 2019 WHL draft. 

His draft year was spent with the Rink Hockey Academy Nationals Elite 15's where he served as the team's captain and chalked up 13 points in 29 games.

Now, Thompson has played six games with Portland, a team that won last year's regular-season title after they had an outstanding 45-11-3-4 record which gave them 97 points, the most in the league. 

And getting the chance to play with Portland this year, is a dream come true for Ryder.

"It's been surreal, I've been dreaming of playing in this league since I was like five years old," said Thompson. "It's an awesome lifestyle. I get to go to the rink, practice, workout, and then play against some very elite competition, it's been a great experience."

In a season comprised of just 24 games, this year isn't as much about winning or losing, it's more about developing young talent and Thompson is getting that opportunity. But, just because it is a developmental season, that doesn't mean any member club of the league is taking it easy.

Playing against just U.S. Division teams this year, Portland is 4-3-2 as they find themselves in a tie for second with the Seattle Thunderbirds. The Everett Silvertips have been the class of the division so far as they're 8-1 which gives them a six-point lead at the top.

"All the guys were pretty bummed that they couldn't finish the season last year, everyone believed they could win a title," offered Thompson. "So everyone's goal this year is to succeed, we want to win as many games as possible. 

Ryder has played in six games so far with Portland and he has one assist as his first career WHL point came on March 27 in a 3-2 defeat against Seattle. Next up for Ryder and the rest of the Winterhawks is a pair of games this weekend in Spokane. 

"I feel like I'm getting more comfortable and I understand more what I need to do to succeed," stated Thompson. "I've been pretty happy with my game, with that said, I'm not satisfied. I need to improve a lot and I'm looking forward to this journey."

Ryder also had great things to say about his time in Waywayseecappo, although it was just a short stop. It was a stop that gave him the chance to play with his brother in a preseason game and play under the leadership of Taylor Harnett and Josh Lee.

"The organization was tremendous to me," ended Thompson. "We had such a great group of guys and the coaching staff is top-notch, they have a very bright future, without a doubt."

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers have released Travis Rudolph after the American wide receiver was arrested for first-degree murder in Florida on Wednesday.

A Bombers spokesperson says the team released Rudolph after learning of the arrest by the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office.

The 25-year-old Rudolph never played for Winnipeg after signing with the team in December 2019. The 2020 CFL season was cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Authorities say Rudolph was arrested after police responded to a double shooting. One man was found dead and another was transported to the hospital.

The Florida State product previously was a member of the NFL's New York Giants and Miami Dolphins.

The wait to get on the course at the Gilbert Plains Country Club is nearly over. Scott McCallum has confirmed that the grounds crew will have the course ready to go this Saturday.

"We weren't sure if we were going to be able to pull this off," said McCallum. "Our volunteers always come up big for us, several have been out here all week getting the course ready."

The GPCC is one of the top courses in the province and it provides a challenge for elite golfers, while also providing a great time for recreational players who just want to have some fun. 

Tee times will begin at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday which gives the crew a couple more days to get it ready but as McCallum says, things are looking great, just more than a week after we received a spring snowstorm.

"We're really happy with how it wintered, pretty excited about it," ended McCallum. "It's just about finishing the final touches and we can't wait to welcome people back."

The final touches are also being completed at the Event Centre which will be used after tournaments and other functions. It will include a shack for snacks and of course, tables and chairs for any function that does take place. 

"It's going to be beautiful and I know a lot of people are really excited about using it," ended McCallum. 

548-3030 is the number to book a tee time. You can also get a membership for $600 if you haven't been a member since 2018. Full membership prices and green fees are at Gilbert Plains Golf

There are only a few days left to register to play in the Dauphin Minor Baseball Association this summer.

Opening last month, registration will close this Friday ahead of the season, which has already begun for some players. Jodie Romanow says it's an exciting time as the regular season continues to near.

"Registration has been going very well. We're already at the point where we have more players signed up than last year," said Romanow. "We're happy with where the numbers are now and we expect them to increase over the next couple of days."

Numbers are still low compared to where they were prior to COVID-19, but Romanow says that's okay. There is still room in every age group from Rally Cap to U18. Teams from Dauphin didn't travel outside of the Parkland last season because of restrictions and Baseball Manitoba cancelled all of its provincial championships.

And although it isn't clear if teams will be able to travel outside the region this summer, Jodie is hopeful that teams will get the green light to do so. Baseball Manitoba, at this point, is planning to hold a full slate of provincials.

"We are hoping for a normal season with regular league play and a jamboree for the younger kids," she offered. "We also hope to send teams to the provincials."

As we look forward, Dauphin Minor will host "Vic Fron Memorial Day" on Saturday, June 5 at Vermillion Sportsplex. Fron was a huge part of baseball in the Parkland and Dauphin Minor Baseball. The goal is to host a one-day jamboree that will focus on umpire appreciation and sportsmanship. 

"The jamboree will be for at least one age group, maybe two, but that depends on how many people we're allowed to have," ended Romanow. "Vic did so much for baseball not only in Dauphin but across the Parkland, so we're really excited that we can hold this event."

To register for this season, head to Dauphin Baseball

You could hear the sweet sound of your ball dropping into the hole at the Dauphin Lake Golf Club much earlier than expected this year. 

The course will open on Wednesday, April 7, with the driving range also opening on that day. Ray Karlson says after inspection, they're nearly ready to welcome the public. 

"We noticed that a lot of snow had disappeared and a lot of the sitting water was starting to soak up," said Karlson. "We just have to do some cart path cleaning and pick up some trees that had fallen over the winter months."

Tee times begin at 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday and it'll cost $30 for 18 holes, a $12 savings from the normal $42. Carts will also be available, but they can only be used on the cart path for the time being. 

A big change will be in place when the season starts on Wednesday in Dauphin -- at least for now -- and that change will see no alcohol served on the course. The provincial government announced that courses aren't allowed to sell alcohol on the golf course anymore, news that is very frustrating for all golf course executives across the province.

"For them to come down and say absolutely no alcohol can be sold on the course but you can go to the restaurant and have one, I just don't get the logic," said Karlson. "It really doesn't make sense and I in no way agree with it."

Karlson says the course wintered very well and everyone at the club is looking forward to what they hope will be another historic summer. Tee time traffic was up more than 35% last year while 79 new members joined.

"The greens look very good, so we're really happy about that," ended Karlson. "Our 14th hole has snow and water on it, but we're pumping that out on Monday morning to get it ready for Wednesday."

The Home Hardware two-man best ball tournament in support of the Gary Brandon Sports Bursary returns to Dauphin Lake from May 28-30 while the Dauphin Kings Par 3 Extravaganza will take place on June 12. 

Getting on the course has taken another step forward at the Gilbert Plains Country Club. 

The driving range is open for the season. If you haven’t been a member since 2018, you can get your membership today for $600.

You can also register for men’s night by heading to the pro shop.

All seven teams in the Western Hockey League's East Division are fighting for the Subway Cup, a trophy given to the top team after a 24 game season in the Regina bubble.

And in a year like no other, a 15-year-old from North Vancouver is leading the league in scoring. Connor Bedard -- who was granted Exceptional Player Status -- has 20 points, eight of which are goals as he plays his rookie season with the Regina Pats.

Meanwhile, a 16-year-old from Russell is playing his rookie season with the Brandon Wheat Kings and he has his first goal. Tyson Zimmer, a sixth overall selection back in 2019, scored his first goal in a 7-2 win against Regina on Thursday night.

Tyson has played eight games so far and he's a plus three as Brandon is four points behind Saskatoon for the top spot in the East Division.