April Year in Review

Nathan Reiter/Daily Herald. Madison Burr of the Stoney Creek Sabres fires a shot on goal while being checked by three defenders during the Gold Medal Game at the 2023 Esso Cup.

Friends and family members of Happy Charles hold a walk marking since years since her disappearance. Charles was last seen in an area around PACI on April 3, 2017. Family and friends gather near the location and walk west towards a PAGC billboard across from Victoria Hospital. “Someone has the information we need,” PAPS Sgt. Kathy Edwardsen says. “We need them to come forward to help Happy’s family find closure.”

The City of Prince Albert agrees to donate 50 unclaimed bikes to Ukrainian newcomers settling in the community. Council makes the decision following a presentation from Ukraine-Canada settlement volunteer Sonya Jahn, who originally requested 30. Jahn says many newcomers came to Canada with nothing. Having something as simple as a bike, she says, will go a long way to easing the transition.

Christopher Lake School student Maria Brons and West Central School student Ash Dickens head to Edmonton to represent the Prince Albert area the Canada-Wide Science Fair. The two Grade 8 students learn they will head west during the Northeast Regional Science Fair award ceremony. This year marks the first time the country’s largest annual youth STEM event hosts an in-person event since before COVID hit.

Longtime volunteer Marj Bodnarchuk is named Prince Albert’s 2022 Citizen of the Year. Bodnarchuk receives the notification while at the Prince Albert Science Centre, one of many organizations she’s involved with in the community. Bodnarchuk says she’s surprised by the honour, but grateful to be recognized.

The owners of an iconic Prince Albert building prepare for demolition. Crowds gather to watch workers remove the rooftop sign from The National Hotel on April 13 and load it onto a flatbed truck. Full demolition will begin later in the year.

Former NDP MLA Nicole Rancourt announces her bid to return to politics in her old seat. Rancourt says she’s seeking the NDP nomination in PA Northcote, the constituency she represented for one term before losing a close race to current MLA Alana Ross in 2020.

Carlton principal Jeff Court announces plans to leave his current role for a superintendent position with Saskatchewan Rivers School Division. Court first became principal at Carlton in 2019. He starts his new position on Aug. 1.

Amy Lamb and Willowgrove Pharmacy are the big winners at the Samuel McLeod Business Awards. Lamb is named Business Leader of the Year, and her business, Willowgrove Pharmacy, is named Business of the Year. “I’m kind of shocked,” Lamb says. “There were some incredible nominees in our categories…. It’s been a pretty humbling experience.”

Prince Albert City Council approves the appointment of Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency (SPSA) president Marlo Pritchard to the Prince Albert Board of Police Commissioners. Pritchard’s appointment is temporary, as he’s filling in for former chair Darcy Sander, who left the position for personal reasons. Pritchard’s term ends on Dec. 31.


Prince Albert product Karlee Lehner is named the Saskatchewan Female Under-18 AAA Hockey League Goaltender of the Year, while another Prince Albert product, Stryker Zablocki, is named Rookie of the Year. Lehner finishes her final season with the Swift Current Wildcats with a 12-4 record, a 1.36 GAA, and a .955 save percentage. Zablocki finishes second in league scoring as a 15-year-old with 25 goals and 15 assists in 30 games. Jazlyn Petreman of the Prince Albert Northern Bears is named the league’s Top Scholastic Player, finishing her Grade 12 year with a 98 per cent average.

Red Wolf Boxing Club fighters Lukas Tamayo, Cruze Watier, and Devon Mususkapoe take home belts after winning their bouts during a card in Regina. It’s the first victories for Watier and Mususkapoe, and their first bouts too. “It was a good feeling,” Watier says. “Seeing everyone win, it’s very exciting (and) a big confidence booster to get a win on my first fight.”

Prince Albert Minor Baseball receives a $10,000 grant from the Roughriders Grey Cup Legacy Program that allows them to build batting cages at the Kinsmen Baseball Complex. PA Minor Baseball president Duane Kripp says they’re grateful to be one of nine projects selected. “It’s absolutely phenomenal to have the support,” Kripp says. “They see the importance of supporting your youth sports, specifically in baseball right now. I think everyone sees how baseball is a growing sport in the last couple of years.”

The PBCN Stars capture their second consecutive Senators Cup with a 9-2 victory over Canoe Lake in the final. The Stars go without a loss all tournament, beating Sandy Lake, Stanley Mission, Beardy’s and Norway House on their way to the final.

After three years of waiting, the puck finally drops at the Esso Cup in Prince Albert. The Prince Albert Bears lose their opening game of the tournament, 4-3 to the Northern Selects, but organizers and players alike are happy to have the event finally land in Prince Albert after a three year delay. “It’s so special,” says Sasha Malenfant, the Bears player who scored the club’s first goal at the Prince Albert Esso Cup. “It didn’t really feel real.” The Bears are eliminated from the tournament following a 6-1 loss to the Stoney Creek Sabres on April 27. The Sabres would go on to win the tournament thanks to a 5-4 victory over Fraser Valley in the Gold Medal Game.


Studio 1010 hosts its annual Spring Art Show at the Grace Campbell Gallery. The show features works from 10 local artists, covering mediums like watercolour, pastel, and acrylic. “I’ve never displayed my art before, and to be part of something like this, it’s gratifying,” says Corrine Ferguson, one of Studio 1010’s newest members. “It’s nice to be a part of the group.”

Threadbare Productions aims to fill a gap in Prince Albert’s music scene by announcing a new set of shows at the Spice Trail restaurant. Organizers have two shows a month planned for the rest of the year.

A new art project aims to make poetry pop at the riverbank. The City of Prince Albert asks local poets to submit poems based on the theme of ‘hope’ for Poetry Pop Up. City arts and culture coordinator Judy MacLeod Campbell says they’re aiming to boost a type of artistic expression that isn’t always appreciated. “I think poetry and writing is something we maybe don’t showcase and profile enough in our city, or any city for that matter,” she says. “That’s why it was really important to do this project.”

Nearly 1,800 students arrive in Prince Albert to showcase their singing, dancing, and drumming as the PAGC Fine Arts Festival begins at the Ches Leach Lounge on April 24. “I don’t know how to explain the feeling, but it’s awesome being here, drumming in front of people, and showing Dene culture,” says Zanniah Toutsaint, a student at Father Gamache Memorial School in Fond-du-Lac. “It’s good for the youth to come together,” she adds. The event marks the first Fine Arts festival without capacity restrictions since COVID hit. The event also marks 30 years since the first festival.