It’s really no surprise that the SJHL’s Yorkton Terriers and Melville Millionaires do not like each other.
When the two teams meet on the ice, whether it’s pre-season, regular season or playoffs, there is sure to be electricity in the arena that could power both cities for a week.
But with all the action happening on the ice, it’s easy to overlook the reason these two powerhouse clubs are enemies in the first place.
For that, you have to look beyond the action on the ice. You have to gaze into the crowd, peer into the eyes and souls of the people in the seats.
That’s where you’ll find the true veterans of the Highway 10 rivalry.
But what do these fans, nay, these seated warriors, think about the vaunted Highway 10 rivalry?
Jeff Kohnen, a blue clad Melville veteran of 40 years of Highway 10 warfare, feels that the rivalry is, undeniably, the best in the province. “It’s wonderful, it’s awesome. Look at all the people in the rink,” said Kohnen, motioning to the crowd at Melville’s Horizon Credit Union Centre. “This rivalry is still as intense as it was way back when I was a kid 40 years ago.
“It’s a wonderful thing, we live to beat Yorkton here in Melville. It’s as simple as that.”
It may be as simple as that to say, of course. But according to Yorkton Terriers fan Michael Shore, actions speak louder than words.
And the actions of the Terriers, in his opinion, tell a much different story. “It never gets old,” offered Shore. “Many times I’ve seen the Terriers beat the Mils and it’s always the best feeling.
“I’d say they win about 70% of the time. They are usually the dominant team and it’s great to see them win all the time, but it’s better to see them beat Melville.”
As for the games themselves, Shore feels that while all Terrier games are great, the added elements to the Terriers/Mils rivalry games make them that much better. “I’ve been a season ticket holder since I was seven years old.
“The best games all year, the ones you waited for, were Yorkton vs. Melville. There’s no doubt about it.”
While Shore believes his team is clearly the best, others, such as Kohnen, believe otherwise. “There are some very good players on both teams and there always are,” mentioned Kohnen, adding, “Of course, Melville is always better.”
Unfortunately for Kohnen and all Millionaires fans, the stats prove otherwise.
The Terriers have won five league championships (1983, 1991, 2005, 2006 and 2013) while making it to the league final six other times (1982, 1984, 1990, 1996, 2010 and 2011).
Melville, meanwhile, has never won a league title and has made it to the finals just three times (1993, 2003 and 2007).
The lack of success overall is something that Shore believes is due in large part to the effort that the Yorkton Terriers have put forth in not only winning their own titles, but keeping Melville from hoisting a championship of their own. “The Terriers are one of the most successful franchises in the league,” mentioned a grinning Shore, continuing, “To see that they’ve kept Melville from winning a Cup, ever, you know Yorkton has had a big hand in that for sure.”
With the way the 2013-14 season is shaping up, Melville may have yet another chance at their first title.
However, they will most likely have to go through the Yorkton Terriers and their accompanying fan base the ‘Ocean of Orange’ to do so. And that, as always, proves much more difficult to do than to say.