The 2020 Manitoba Summer Games Powered by Manitoba Hydro that was set to take place in Dauphin this summer will no longer.

After an initial postponement, Sport Manitoba alongside the Host Committee has decided to cancel the event that welcomes the top young athletes in the province competing in a number of sports.

Cathy Cox is the Minister of Sport, Culture, and Heritage and she had this to say on the cancellation.

"While we are all disappointed that the games will not happen as we hoped, we know this is the right decision and I support the hard work of the host committee and all the volunteers who tried to make it happen," she said. "My thoughts are with the athletes who trained so hard to qualify and participate in the games. Ultimately, we know that we have to take the time to allow things to gradually return to normal and our primary concern has to be the safety of all Manitobans."

Carla Wolfenden is a Co-Chair alongside Clayton Swanton and just as Cox said, it was a mandatory decision.

"We just didn't see a possible way to host this size of an event this summer," said Wolfenden. "It's sad news, but it's what had to happen."

Dauphin will still get a chance to host the event as Sport Manitoba has named Dauphin the host of the 2024 Manitoba Summer Games Powered by Manitoba Hydro. That means the best young athletes in the region and province will still compete in a number of sports, the wait will just continue for a few more years.

"The 2024 event is going to be extra exciting for everyone involved," ended Wolfenden. "We have been at this since 2016 so we're going to be extra prepared for 2024. It gives us a chance to tweak our facilities to assure the best possible experience for everyone. I think it's going to go fast."

Brenden Kotyk's junior hockey career began with the Humboldt Broncos of the SJHL back in the 2009-10 season, but his time in Humboldt didn't last long. After playing in 24 games that season, the Regina native played just eight games the following season before the was acquired by the Dauphin Kings. 

Kotyk scored 14 times and had 40 total points in his first 45 games with the Dauphin Kings, all of which came in the regular season. After what was a solid regular season for the team, they came within two wins of advancing to the league championship, but they dropped their semi-final series against the Portage Terriers in six games. During a 13 game playoff run, Brenden had another nine points, two were goals. 

The following season would see Brenden return to Dauphin for his final year of junior hockey in the 2011-12 season and when he did return, he was named the team's captain. In 64 games (including playoffs), Brenden had 65 points. His junior career may have not begun in Dauphin, but it did end in the City of Sunshine with an organization that Kotyk grew to love and excelled playing with.

"I loved my time in Dauphin, I think Marlin was one of the best coaches I have ever played for, he brought so much passion and fire to the game," said Kotyk. "I had great billets that were amazing and I couldn't have asked for more."

In his final season in Dauphin, Brenden was named to the league's first all-star team, he recorded the most points by a defenceman (62) and he was named the league's top defenceman. 

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Moving up:

After living his entire life in Canada, including two in Dauphin, Kotyk was presented with an opportunity to continue his hockey career, but he would have to move south of the border to do so. The College of St. Scholastica men's team reached out to Kotyk and offered him a spot on the team. Based in Duluth, Minnesota, the school is Division 3 and Brenden ultimately accepted the offer and he ended up recording 19 points in 25 games with the team in his only season with them.

Kotyk would then transfer to the University of Minnesota Duluth where he would join the Bulldogs Division 1 hockey team. Because of the transfer, he couldn't play any games in the 2013-14 season, he could only practice. 

130579127 1757956107699940 2079238710579143178 nAfter serving as a red-shirt athlete for his transfer year, Brenden wasn't sure what type of role he would step into when he was eligible to compete in games, but it ended up being a big role. He played 34 games prior to the National Collegiate Hockey Conference's championships where the team fell short against Denver as they were swept in a best-of-three. Returning to Minnesota Duluth the following season, the team advanced to the conference championships in dramatic fashion.

Playing the top-ranked North Dakota Fighting Hawks in the conference semi-finals, Kotyk helped the Bulldogs double up North Dakota, 4-2. They fell in the finals against St. Cloud State, 3-1. Back with the Bulldogs in the 2016-17 season -- Kotyk's final of college hockey -- a special season was put together. The first special part was he was named an assistant captain and the second was how good the team was. 

They started the conference championships by getting past Miami in two straight games and that was followed up with a dominating 5-2 win against Western Michigan which earned the Bulldogs a berth in the final. Playing on national television, Minnesota Duluth held off North Dakota as they won a thriller of a conference final, 4-3.

The Bulldogs would advance to the Frozen Four where they won their first three games to advance to the national championship final against the top-ranked Denver Pioneers. Denver would end Minnesota Duluth's quest for a national gold medal as they won the finals, 3-2, as they clinched their eighth national title.

The loss was Brenden's final college game and despite coming up just short, winning a conference championship and getting the chance to play Division 1 hockey is something he will never forget.

"It was amazing, it was a dream come true," said Kotyk. "I had always thought I wanted to play in the WHL but I wasn't quite good enough. When I realized playing collegiately was something I could pursue, I did everything I could to succeed. Making it and contributing to the team was pretty special for my family and me."

Professional journey:

After three full years with the Bulldogs, Kotyk went to the New York Rangers development camp and he also took part in main camp. He ended up playing an exhibition game with Hartford of the American Hockey League before he was assigned to the Greenville Swamp Rabbits of the ECHL where he played in 51 games, recording 17 points. Brenden was called back up to Hartford where he scored one goal and had one assist in two games.

"That was pretty special scoring that goal with Hartford, they put it together with a plaque," said Kotyk. "It's those moments that you never really forget."

Brenden remained in the ECHL in the 2018-19 season, but he was now a part of the Toledo Walleye organization and his first year with the team was one where the Walleye were just two wins away from claiming a championship. Playing the Newfoundland Growlers in the league final, Toledo needed to win game six to keep the series alive. In the end, Newfoundland opened up a 4-1 lead and they held on to win the championship in six games. 

Kotyk spent one more season with Toledo last season and that was officially the end of his playing days as he retired after a playing career that included a conference championship with Minnesota Duluth and he was just two games away from winning an ECHL title with Toledo.

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Post playing days:

Brenden knew his days of trying to make it back to the AHL or make it to the NHL were closed, but he wasn't done with the game so he became a coach. While in his first year with Toledo, Brenden started putting together his coaching resume.

His resume has ended up being solid enough to land him an assistant coaching job with the South Carolina Stingrays of the ECHL and he's also the Manager of the Hockey Operations. The Stingrays played one exhibition game last weekend against the team that Brenden started his professional hockey career with as they doubled up Greenville, 6-3. 

After a week of practice and preparation, the team kicks it off for real on Friday night when they welcome the Swamp Rabbits to their home rink as the 2020-21 season officially begins. 

"I love every second of being a coach. We're up early mornings and I'm still getting those locker room moments with the guys," offered Kotyk. "It's pretty special to be able to help these guys achieve their goals of advancing to the next level."

Kotyk says it's a privilege that the team is able to play meaningful games right now and he isn't taking anything for granted.

"It means everything. Everyone on our team has a great understanding of how lucky we are to be playing right now," ended Kotyk. 

As his coaching career begins in the ECHL with South Carolina, Kotyk's ultimate goal is to become a coach for the University of Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs, the team he won a conference championship with. 

Mitchell Rauliuk loves hockey and so does the entire Rauliuk family. Mitchell volunteers a ton of time to help with the Dauphin Kings and he also does music at Rangers and Clippers games alongside Al Gaines.

Now although the young man from Dauphin is unable to do any of those things right now because of 'Code Red' restrictions, Mitchell is staying in the game. For the first time, the Rauliuk's have made a backyard rink. 

It took a few days and Mitchell enjoyed being a part of the process.

"Especially watching the ice spread across when we flooded it," said Rauliuk. "We have a pretty uneven backyard so we didn't know if it was going to work out, but it ended up working so it's great."

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Whenever the weather allows them to do so, Mitchell says he plans on spending a lot of time on the rink with his brother Jasper and the rest of the family.

"We're hoping to get out every day after school, that's the goal," ended Mitchell. "It's all about family time and I think we're all looking forward to it."

And to wrap up the evening, Mitchell says the family will sit by the firepit for some snacks and even more laughs.

Darnell Duff's journey around the Parkland continues on Friday with the Murray family. 

Nick Doyle played 113 games (including playoffs) with the Waywayseecappo Wolverines. Those 113 contests came after he suited up in 52 games with the Portage Terriers, 16 of which came in the 2017 playoffs as Portage beat OCN in six games to win the Turnbull Trophy.

Portage lost the first two games of that series by a combined score of 14-3 before they stormed right back to win four straight games and Doyle had two assists in the playoff run. 

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In his final year as a junior hockey player last year, Doyle served as the team's captain as they advanced to the postseason in fifth place, but they never found out far they could go as the season was shut down in early March. Over his two seasons with Waywayseecappo, Nick scored 17 times as he finished with 61 points with the team. 

"I didn't really know what to expect when I was traded. They were going through a change with their coaching staff and arena," said Doyle. "With that said, I couldn't have asked for more. I would say my two seasons with Waywayseecappo were my two favourite seasons as a junior player."

As is the case for most junior players, the goal is to advance to the next level whether it be professionally or collegiately. Two months into Doyle's tenure as Wayway's captain, the Minot State Beavers of the ACHA reached out to Nick as did some other teams south of the border. Ultimately, Nick made his decision and he is now on fire with Minot State as they have entered their Christmas break.

Former Dauphin King Brayden Pawluk committed to the Beavers and it was just what Doyle was looking for. After playing one season for the Omaha Lancers, he moved back to Canada to play full-time for four seasons and now, the former MJHL champion and Wolverine is once again living south of the border as his first season with Minot State is well underway.

"It's definitely a transition living out here. Things are done differently," said Doyle. "There was a little bit of an adjustment period, but I've gotten the hang of it, and I'm enjoying my time here."

MJHL flavour:

Nick is just one of many former players who played junior hockey in Manitoba. On top of Brayden Pawluk, Doyle is joined by Dylan Cassie, Justin Metcalf, and Carter Barley, just to name a few of the players that used to play in the MJHL.

"It's always nice joining a team where you know some of the players," said Doyle. "It just makes things that much more comfortable and I think that benefits me coming in as a rookie to one of the top teams around."

Offensive domination:

Doyle spent his junior days as a defenceman and he was expecting that to be the case as he began his college career this year. That isn't the case; however, as the former Wolverine has gotten plenty of offensive opportunities.

When Connor Navrot -- a former Swan Valley Stampeder -- was sidelined with an injury, Doyle joined the forward group and he's done nothing but score. In nine games, Doyle has scored five times and he has 11 points, a total that is tied for the second-most on the team. Carter Barley, a former Portage Terrier and Selkirk Steeler leads the team with 13 points. 

Doyle's five markers are also the second-most on the team, behind Wowryk who played with the Steelers, Terriers, and the Winnipeg Blues.

"I would definitely say I have overachieved so far, I didn't expect to produce as much as I have," offered Doyle. "I've only played one game on the back end so far this season, so I've been given a great chance to produce and I'm just doing whatever I can to help this team win."

And winning is what Minot State has done as they enter the Christmas break at 8-1 and they have won four straight games. The team's only loss was a 6-5 defeat against the Jamestown Jimmies. 

"Our chemistry is off the charts right now," ended Doyle. "We have great goaltending, a solid back end, and our forwards are finding a way to score. We're clicking in all areas right now and everyone is pleased."

Just less than 60 kilometres away from Dauphin is where you will find Winnipegosis and it's also where you will find the Lippens family.

Inside the home, you will find Kristen, Paul, Josh, Brennan, and Emma. And outside of the home, you will find a beautiful backyard rink that the family has put together. Emma is eight-years-old and she's been skating for four years and now all she has to do is walk outside her back door to skate with her brothers and mom and dad.

"It's super fun. I love getting the fresh air and skating around is always a blast," said Emma. 

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The family has been skating for about three weekends and with many more to go, there will certainly be a lot of great family memories made. There are many things that Emma enjoys about being on the ice including this one.

"When I sit in a lawn chair and my brothers push me around the ice," ended Emma. "It's a lot of fun, we all laugh, and enjoy it."

Stay tuned on Wednesday when Darnell Duff comes back to Dauphin to chat with Mitchell Rauliuk. 

Riese Gaber's winning streak with the North Dakota Fighting Hawks came to an end on Tuesday night.

Playing the Denver Pioneers for the second time in the NCHC bubble, the Fighting Hawks dropped the rematch, 3-2.

Carter Savoie scored the game-winning marker with just more than two minutes left in regulation as North Dakota dropped to 3-1 on the season. 

North Dakota is back in action on Thursday night when they play Minnesota Duluth for the first time.

Ticket sales continue to pick up just days before draw day for the Dauphin Kings Tractor Lotto.

The $100,000 grand prize and all other cash prizes will be given out on Sunday.

"We have less than 500 single tickets right now which puts us in a good spot," said Christian Laughland. 

You can also purchase a supplementary ticket for just $20 and you can then add on some 50/50 tickets. The 50/50 is currently at more than $63,000.

"We know it's going to be much better than last year when it was at $66,000.00," said Laughland. "There's a chance that we could get upwards of $80,000. which would be a take-home of $40,000 for the lucky winner."

You can watch the draw live on Facebook on Sunday night at 6:00 p.m. You can also come back here to 730CKDM to find out the list of winners. Last year's winner was Karin Young who took home the $100,000 grand prize. 

It's the time of the year where most teams would be getting ready to play their final games before the Christmas break. This year; however, it would appear that the break came much earlier than anyone would have hoped.

When Manitoba was put into 'Code Red' back in November, all team sports were suspended which meant hockey was put on the back burner.

It was a tough break for so many, but at the end of the day, the health and safety of all Manitobans are the most important thing as we continue to battle the COVID-19 pandemic.

So indoor rinks in the province are closed, but that doesn't mean outdoor rinks have to be as well. The Parkland has done a wonderful job of staying positive during a tough time and today is the start of a new feature here on 730CKDM called "Outdoor Rinks around the Parkland with Darnell Duff". 

Throughout the next two weeks, Darnell will chat with a number of people from across the region to share the stories behind their backyard/outdoor rinks and today we start with Connelly McDonald.

Just 15 minutes away from Connelly's house is where the outdoor rink is and it's used by Connelly, KC, Brian Kostur, Christine Kostur, Kaylene Kostur, Brian Kostur, and their dog, Riley. 

"It's really funny because my stepdad said I have to flood this and everything, it's so great to see him so excited about this," said McDonald. 

Connelly says getting the chance to skate with her family is such a great feeling and she can never get enough of it. 

 

"We'll go for like an hour and then we'll have some hot dogs and smores on the fire," ended McDonald. 

The Parkland truly is staying hockey strong and stay tuned over the next two weeks to hear other feature stories. Of course, you can re-listen to the McDonald's feature below.

The holiday season is right around the corner and as you finish up your shopping, the Gilbert Plains Country Club has you covered.

They're currently selling gift certificates and punch cards ahead of the new season. The gift certificates can be any denomination and can be used towards a membership, casual rounds, and anything else at the course.

"A gift certificate or a punch card is certainly a good present idea for any golfer in your family or even for a friend," said Scott McCallum. "I'm also willing to drop off to make life easier for people.'

If you haven't played at the GPCC in the past, it truly is one of the top courses in the province. Providing a challenge for all skill levels, the par 71 layout doesn't play overly long, but it does require a golfer to be precise.

"I can't say enough about the grounds crew as well, they keep the course in immaculate shape," said McCallum.

The 2021 season will be an extra special one at the GPCC as well. A banquet centre was built from the ground up and McCallum says it will be ready for the upcoming season and it will host tournament banquets and various other events throughout the summer months.

"The number of volunteer hours that have gone into making this happen is incredible," ended McCallum. "It's going to be an unbelievable asset to the Club and we're really excited about it."

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So to get your gift certificates or punch cards, call Scott at 648-7834.

Todd Miller became best friends with Dale Hawerchuk over nine seasons as he was an assistant coach for the Barrie Colts, as Dale was the head coach from 2011 to 2019.

Miller joined Barrie in the 2010-2011 season after a professional career which included stints in the ECHL and Germany. Miller and Dale shared the Colts bench for the final time in the 2018-2019 season.

A veteran of more than 1250 games, Miller says he was extremely lucky that he was given a chance to coach alongside Hawerchuk.

“It was free education every day having that guy around, he taught me a ton,” said Miller. “It was tremendous being by his side for nine years. I thought I knew the game until I met him.”

Hawerchuk, who became the face of the Winnipeg Jets passed away on August 18 after a battle with cancer. He recorded 518 goals and 1,409 points in 1,188 regular-season NHL games. He also had another 99 playoff points in 97 games.

“That was extremely emotional when he passed away,” said Miller. “To go back to the office and not have him at the rink, that was tough. He was such a great man and he will forever be missed.”

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Wheat City bound:

Brandon announced that Don MacGillivray would take over as head coach back on November 24 when Dave Lowry signed with the Winnipeg Jets. Don confirmed at that time that the organization was looking to fill its coaching staff which includes Tyler Plante as goaltending coach and Mark Derlago as an assistant coach.

As the new WHL season continues to inch closer, Brandon has filled its coaching staff. The Wheat Kings announced on Friday that they have hired Miller as an assistant coach and they also brought on Daniel Johnston as a video coach, a first in franchise history.

Don reached out to Todd and the rest is history as the former Barrie Colt assistant coach is now a part of the Wheat Kings coaching staff.

“We have a lot of common friends, Don and I,” continued Miller. “It was an easy fit for me and Don was looking for someone with experience. I’m very glad to join this team.”

Miller took over as head coach in Barrie in January of 2020 when the club parted ways with Warren Rychel. In his short time as bench boss, Todd led Barrie to a 13-7-2 record and they finished second in the OHL’s Central Division.

The new season is slated to begin on January 8 and Brandon will only compete against East Division opponents. The biggest thing Todd figures he will have to get used to is the travel schedule. Being in Barrie, the longest trip was about six hours. Although the travel schedule won’t be as extensive for Brandon this season playing just division opponents.

“I can’t wait to get to Brandon, I’m planning on getting to town right after Christmas,” said Miller. “I’ll get my feet wet this year when it comes to travel. It’s a great opportunity for me and I’m looking forward to this new opportunity with a storied franchise.”

Todd defines himself as a push the pace kind of coach.

“Pace was the biggest thing that I preached to my players in Barrie,” ended Miller. “We had some success last year because we moved the puck quickly and efficiently.”

The North Dakota Fighting Hawks are rolling on all cylinders and so is Riese Gaber.

Playing in the NCHC bubble, North Dakota won their third straight game and Gaber recorded his second goal.

In the 8-2 win against Western Michigan, Riese got away on a breakaway and he made no mistake as he now has two goals in his first three college games playing on the top ranked team in the country.

The team will look to make it four straight when they take on the Denver Pioneers on Tuesday afternoon.