It may only be August, but thoughts turn to hockey in these parts early.
In this case thinking about our national winter sport was spurred by Yorkton’s own Jarret Stoll being back in the province with the Stanley Cup which he and his fellow Los Angeles Kings won back in June.
It is Stoll’s second Cup with the Kings. The first time he brought Lord Stanley’s prize to our city, this time sharing the ‘Holy Grail’ of hockey with fans in Saskatoon where he played Junior with the Blades.
It is interesting if you drive around Saskatchewan to note how many community’s honour local hockey players who made it to the NHL.
Kelly Buchburger in Langenburg, a trio in Foam Lake including Hall of Fame inductee Bernie Federko and former Yorkton Terrier coach Dennis Polonich, and Wendel Clark at Kelvington come to mind.
It stands to reason Yorkton should follow suit given the pride we as a community take from our hockey heroes.
We saw that when Stoll brought the Cup here in 2012.
Now it might be argued Stoll is still active, although given his long career to-date and two Stanley Cups, he is certainly worthy of some major recognition in some fashion in our city now.
But Stoll is not alone among hockey heroes.
Metro Prystai, who died in the past year, scored a huge Stanley Cup goal before Stoll was even born.
While a street in the city was renamed Prystai Way several years back, a mural would seem more fitting, and would fit in with the overall idea of community art discussed in this forum as recently as the Aug. 6 edition.
And, in a community such as ours, making it to the NHL is not the only way a hockey player can instill pride in the community.
The recent Royal Bank Cup win by the Junior ‘A’ Yorkton Terriers was a huge event locally.
The Junior Terriers have long been a big part of the community, providing hour upon hour of thrills over the long winter months which are part of life on the Canadian Prairies.
It is time the Junior Terriers were honoured with a mural as well. It should of course be somewhere in conjunction with the Gallagher Centre and Farrell Agencies Arena, the team’s home.
It would be easy to create a triumvirate mural of noteworthy dogs.
Darrell Spelay, the all-time leading scorer in Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League history would be the obvious first choice.
Dale Skibinsky who scored the Terrier goal to secure the team’s first league crown would be a natural second face.
And of course Derek Falloon, whose goal won the recent RBC in overtime, would complete the group.
If one were to enlarge the pantheon; Greg Thomson, the SJHL’s all-time assists leader, and Justin Keller the first Terrier to win a regular season scoring title would not be bad choices.
It is time to properly mark our hockey heroes, and in the process of doing that, build community pride, and create more art for visitors to enjoy.