April Sports Year in Review

Herald file Photo. The Prince Albert Northern Bears celebrate a goal during the 2023 Esso Cup at the Art Hauser Centre earlier this year.

April marked the long-anticipated Esso Cup at the Art Hauser Centre in Prince Albert. The event, which was originally scheduled to take place in 2020, had a strong showing of support from the Prince Albert community.

“It’s emotional. It’s been awesome.” Esso Cup host committee chair Robin Wildey said at the outset of the tournament. “Seeing the teams here and things starting to come through is really hitting home. It’s awesome to see.”

Although the Prince Albert Northern Bears didn’t win a game, it was a special experience for the team at the tournament.

“It was a great feeling.” Bears graduating netminder Brooke Archer said at the end of the tournament. “As a team, the last three seasons I’ve played we’ve never seen the rinks packed this much. It was really special , it was a good way to go out I think. Our team did all we could do. We kept up with the teams and that’s all I can really ask for.”

The gold medal game turned out to be an instant classic as the Stoney Creek Sabres defeated the Fraser Valley Rush 5-4 with a third period comeback.

Stoney Creek forward Madison Burr scored the game winner with just over a minute remaining in the third period.

“I’m so glad it ended up like this. I wanted it to be a close game and make it so much more exciting and I just can’t believe it even happened.”

It was also announced in April that the Carlton Crusaders and St. Mary Marauders would join the newly formed North Saskatchewan Football League (NSFL) for the upcoming fall 2023 season.

“There’s some of us that have pondered this idea for years thinking that it wasn’t likely a reality ever.” St. Mary head coach Curt Hundeby said at the time of the announcement. “Now all of a sudden it’s on our doorstep (and) we’ve got to make the most of this opportunity. You can legitimately talk to a talented group of kids in your locker room and say, ‘if you guys really work hard and come together as a team and start reaching for your potential, we could be a provincial championship team.’”

Melfort’s Robyn Luthi made the trip overseas to compete in the London Marathon on April 23. She placed 35th in her age group, 246th among women and 3,336th overall.