Attendance up in Nipawin, down in La Ronge and Melfort, according to SJHL attendance report

Broad Leaf Media photo. The Melfort Mustangs salute the crowd following a win at the Northern Lights Palace Arena.

SJHL attendance is up compared to last season, although results were mixed in the north.

The Melfort Mustangs and La Ronge Ice Wolves both saw declines in attendance this year, while the Nipawin Hawks saw an increase.

SJHL commissioner Kyle McIntyre said he’s encouraged with the direction the league is heading in, and expects attendance to be strong during the second half of the season.

“It looks like it is going to be a tight race right up until the playoffs,” McIntyre said. “The race between fifth and 10th place likely won’t be decided until our last regular season game.”

The total average attendance among the league’s teams was 707.4, which was an increase of 6.49 per cent over the 2022-2023 season.

In the midseason attendance report the Estevan Bruins lead the league with an average of 1,260 fans. This an increase of 34.33 per cent over the 2022-2023 season.

Locally, the Melfort Mustangs reported an average attendance of 672 fans, which is a 14.18 per cent decline over the 2022-2023 season. The Nipawin Hawks reported an average of 521 fans, which is an increase of 9.92 per cent. The La Ronge Ice Wolves are third with an average of 446 fans, which is down 10.26 per cent from the 2022-2023 season.

The report stated that the SJHL YouTube channel has seen an increase of 200 subscribers since the start of the season, there are currently 1,126 subscribers. The SJHL Facebook page has 15,000 followers, and has increased by 1,000 since the start of the season.

Twitter (X) for the SJHL has 23,500 followers and has increased by 100 since the beginning of the season.

The SJHL broadcasts on FloHockey and averages 304 viewers per game, which is a 176 per cent increase from the same point last season.

The Flin Flon Bombers have led the SJHL all season long and have also been ranked first in the CJHL for the majority of the season.

At the break the Mustangs are in second place with a record of 22-9-3-0 with 47 points, the Hawks are in third place with a record of 14-16-0-2 with 30 points and the Ice Wolves are in fourth place with a record of 9-20-2-1 with 21 points.

The league announced on Dec. 21 that the Hawks had forfeited the Dec. 15 game against the Melfort Mustansg because of dressing an ineligible player on both Dec. 15 and Dec. 16. The league did not name the ineligible player.

The Bombers still lead the Sherwood Division and SJHL with 58 points and a record of 28-1-2-0 at the break.

The entire SJHL is off until Dec. 30 when the Melville Millionaires take on the Yorkton Terriers. The Nipawin Hawks are back in action on Wednesday, Jan. 3 against the Kindersley Klippers. The La Ronge Ice Wolves and Melfort Mustangs return to action against each other on Friday, Jan. 5 in La Ronge. The Ice Wolves are in Nipawin to play the Hawks on Saturday, Jan. 6.

The Hawks play the Bombers in Flin Flon on Friday, Jan 5. The Bombers then play the Mustangs in Melfort on Saturday, Jan. 6.

The current leading scorer in the SJHL is the Flin Flon Bombers Justin Lies with 51 points in 30 games played. In eighth place is the Mustangs’ Aidyn Hutchinson with 37 points in 27 games and in 10th place is the Nipawin Hawks Braxton Buckberger with 37 points in 32 games.

In the new year the SJHL/MJHL Showcase returns with the best of the SJHL taking on the best of the MHL on Jan. 30 and 31.

The SJHL is celebrating the 10th year of their partnership with SaskEnergy and KidSport for the KidSport Cup. For every home goal scored, SaskEnergy Network members donated $20 to the local KidSport chapter in each SJHL community. The team with the most goals scored is awarded the KidSport Cup, the Melfort Mustangs lead at the mid-point of the season with 83 goals scored.