July Sports Year In Review

Submitted Photo by Mike Horn. Mason Hawkes (left) is presented with the Predators MVP Award by head coach Lucas Wells.

In July, the Prince Albert Predators took home the Prairie Gold Lacrosse League title in dramatic fashion, downing the Swift Current Wolverines 12-11 on July 9.

Hayden Ulriksen would tie the game with just 8.1 seconds left in regulation to force overtime. In the extra frame, Brayden Rieger would score the eventual game winning goal with just twenty seconds remaining.

“It feels like a weight lifted off our shoulders, off our team.” Head coach Lucas Wells said about the victory. “It always seemed like PA always had that burden of we’re not sure if we’re going to win. This year we threw the monkey off our back, and we were able to pull through. We’ve now developed that winning culture where we can win no matter the circumstances.”

It was also announced in July that Nolan Kowal would become the new radio play-by-play voice of the Prince Albert Raiders on 900 CKBI, replacing the outgoing Rob Mahon.

Mahon and Kowal were a part of the same graduating class at Red River College in Winnipeg. Kowal had also previously filled the vacancy left by Mahon when he left the Estevan Bruins for Prince Albert.

“We’ve stayed in close contact since then. He obviously had a hand in me getting my job in Estevan when he moved out to Prince Albert. I don’t know if he had quite as much influence up in Prince Albert as he did here, but it certainly didn’t hurt,” Kowal says.

“I’ve been kind of joking with some of our broadcasting colleagues in the SJHL and the WHL that I’m kind of following him around a little bit. It might look like that, and I guess I am, but it’s just kind of the way it’s worked out. It’s a small industry. We’re good friends and we stay in touch. Maybe I’ll just keep following him and hopefully it’s all the way to the pros one day.”

The U13 AA Tier 1 Prince Albert Royals also took home a provincial championship on home field, downing the Maidstone Lakers and North East Expos on July 23.

Head coach Jason Van Otterloo says the Royals put in a lot of hard work throughout the season.

“It’s just the culmination of 365 days of hard work and planning. We had a conversation with our boys last year when we went to provincials and said, ‘Boys, learn everything you can here’ and then turn around and we’ll put a year’s worth of work in and we’ll be the best team we can be.  It turned out awesome. They bought in there. Such an awesome group of kids.”