Latest Articles from Nathan Reiter

Raiders spoil Hitmen Teddy Toss with 5-2 victory


The Prince Albert Raiders finished with four out of a possible six points on a three game weekend road trip, downing the Calgary Hitmen 5-2 at the Scotiabank Saddledome on Sunday.

Raider head coach Jeff Truitt says Prince Albert bent at times, but never broke.

“It was a good test, not only coming off the loss last night, but it’s a good test in a big building with a lot of stuff going on with Teddy Bear toss. We’re up and they’re pushing and we survived, or bent. We didn’t break, but overall,  we got her done.  It’s 30 games in and we’re continuing to get better. That’s what we need to do is continue to (get better), and we’re getting on the winning side of it.”

After a faceoff win, Easton Kovacs would fire a slapshot from the point that would beat Ethan Buenaventura for his third goal of the season at the 4:13 mark of the first period. Hayden Pakkala and Cole Peardon assisted on the play.

At the 9:14 mark, London Hoilett would send the teddy bears flying for the second consecutive year with his first goal of the season, putting a rebound past Max Hildebrand. Carter Yakemchuk had the lone assist on the play.

After a nearly 40 minute delay, the Raiders would restore the one goal advantage.

As a power play was expiring, Eric Johnston would lean into a slapshot from the right point that would beat Buenaventura for his fourth goal of the season. Aiden Oiring and Niall Crocker provided the helpers on the play.

Shots favored Calgary 18-11 after one period of play.

In the second period, the Raiders would bend, but not break.

Brayden Dube would double the Prince Albert lead on the power play at the 16:03 mark. 

Hayden Pakkala would bat a puck out of mid-air near the Calgary crease right onto the tape of Dube’s stick who made no mistake for his ninth goal of the season. Pakkala and Terrell Goldsmith would receive helpers.

Terrell Goldsmith would increase the Prince Albert lead to three at the 18:32 mark.

The Arizona Coyotes prospect would tee up a slapshot from the point that would beat Buenaventura through traffic for his third goal of the campaign. Cole Peardon and Hayden Pakkala assisted on the play.

Calgary would strike back before the end of the frame as Oliver Tulk would strike for his team leading 16th goal of the season for the Hitmen with 23 seconds to go in the second period. Yakemchuk and Keets Fawcett assisted on the play.

The lone goal of the third period would go to the Raiders at the 9:14 mark of the third period as Sloan Stanick would bury his 10th goal of the season on the power play. Aiden Oiring and Justice Christensen assisted on the play.

The Raiders went two for four on the man advantage and successfully killed all three power plays the Hitmen had in the contest. On Saturday in Medicine Hat, special teams were a reason the Raiders fell 6-2 to the Tigers.

Truitt says the Raiders were happy with the adjustments they made.

“We changed more of a formation than anything. We made a minor personnel change, but it was just kind of a change of what we’re doing on our power play, the mentality and just some of the structured things that we didn’t think we were getting from the group and we made those changes tonight.”

Prince Albert has not lost a game when leading after forty minutes this season, posting a  14-0-0-0 record. The Raiders are 9-0-0-0 when leading after the first period as well.

Truitt says he gives a lot of credit to the Raider leadership group for the team’s success.

“I think it’s just the mentality of it all, even our guys on the bench were talking about shutting it down. It’s simple. It’s tight to our checks. That’s our leadership group, and that’s our team. It’s filtered down to these kids over the last few months here, and they’re really gravitating to it. That’s what you need. Championship teams are made for playing defense and playing tight check hockey when you need to, and they’re doing it. “

Max Hildebrand made 42 saves to earn the victory in net and first star honors in the hockey game. Ethan Buenaventura made 24 stops for the Hitmen in the loss.

“He’s such a competitor and he rises to the occasion.” Truitt said about Hildebrand. “He’s gotten better and better over the last two years since the day he got here. He’s improved all the time. We’re seeing the pinnacle of his hard work and whatnot. His mental game is strong. He was determined here tonight because, obviously as a team, we didn’t like what happened last night. He certainly rose to the occasion tonight.”

The Raiders return home to face the Hitmen on Friday night at the Art Hauser Centre. Puck drops at 7 p.m.

Stanick shines as Raiders down Broncos in shootout


For the first time in nearly two calendar years, the Prince Albert Raiders came away with a shootout victory downing the Swift Current Broncos 4-3 on Friday night.

“I liked our energy and I liked our focus.” Raider head coach Jeff Truitt said in a post-game interview. “ We talked about the Brandon game the other day (and) how we didn’t come out with a lot of energy. We came out with a ton of energy here in the first period. We were on pucks and doing what we usually do. We were hounding pucks and we had puck possession. Shots were getting through and we were working. That was the biggest thing. Our focus was there.”

Tisdale product Connor Hvidston would open the scoring with his ninth goal of the season just 1:05 into the opening frame.

Hvidston would throw a puck at the net that would go off a Raider stick and past Chase Coward to give the home side a 1-0 lead. Josh Fluker and Owen Pickering assisted on the play.

Prince Albert would have their fair share of chances throughout the frame as they would outshoot Swift Current 17-7 in the first period. 

Jacob Hoffrogge and Krzysztof Macias would both take shots that would beat Bronco netminder Joey Rocha, but not the red iron of the goal post to keep the game 1-0 after 20 minutes.

The Raiders would tie the game at the 4:41 mark of the second period thanks to the captain.

Eric Johnston would get sprung on a breakaway and he would make no mistake for his third goal of the season. Sloan Stanick and Aiden Oiring provided the helpers.

Terrell Goldsmith would give the Raiders a lead with his second goal of the campaign at the 8:22 mark.

The Arizona Coyotes prospect would hammer a point shot that would be stopped by Rocha, but the rebound would go off the leg of a Swift Current defender and in. The goal was unassisted.

At the 20:00 mark of the second period, Terrell Goldsmith would be given a two minute minor penalty that would carry over to the third period.

On the ensuing power play, Swift Current would strike to take the lead as Brady Birnie would strike for his 10th of the season just 1:45 into the final frame. Rylan Gould and Ryan McCleary assisted on the play.

Tyson Laventure would give the Broncos the lead at the 9:49 as the former Raider would strike for his 11th of the season. Connor Gabriel provided the lone helper.

Trailing by one goal late in the third, the Raiders would pull Chase Coward in favor of the extra attacker searching for the equalizer. Prince Albert would even the score at 3-3 with just 25 seconds to go.

A point shot from Justice Christensen led to madness in front of Joey Rocha and Sloan Stanick would tuck the loose puck into the back of the net for ninth goal of the season. Krzysztof Macias also recorded an assist on the play.

“It was enormous. We led and then we were tied and then we were behind and we needed that. You rely on your older guys to do it. Sometimes the outside game doesn’t work in these situations. A lot of goals are scored in tight and that’s he scored the goal.  That’s what you need your guys to do is work on the inside, get rewarded for it.” 

3-on-3 overtime would solve nothing as the two sides would head into a three round shootout.

In the shootout, the first two shooters from each side would not be successful. Krzysztof Macias and Ryder Ritchie would be stopped for Prince Albert, while Tyson Laventure and Connor Hvidston would be denied for Swift.

The third shooter for the Raiders was Sloan Stanick and he would make no mistake snapping a shot past Rocha to give Prince Albert the advantage.

Chase Coward would then make a save on Josh Filmon securing the victory for the Raiders. It’s the first time the Raiders have won in a shootout since Dec. 11, 2021, a period of 720 days. Ozzy Wiesblatt and Landon Kosior scored in that shootout.

Truitt says the Raiders made some changes to their shootout lineup and got some key saves to earn the extra point.

“We haven’t had a lot of success with it. We changed things up a little bit (and) put Macias out first and Ryder (Ritchie) and Stan (Sloan Stanick). We had a number of other guys we were going to go with if needed. It was a great shot by Stanick and a good job by Chase (Coward) as well. A big save when we needed it to get that extra point”

Chase Coward made 31 saves to earn the victory for the Raiders. 

“He was efficient.” Truitt said about Coward. “There weren’t a lot of times when we made him make the spectacular save, he made enough good saves. Our guys did a good enough job that he didn’t have to make the spectacular ones, but he was efficient, smooth and his movements controlled the puck. I liked his focus. He looked like he was dialed in and that’s what you need from your goaltending.”

The Raiders return to action when they take on the Medicine Hat Tigers at Co-op Place. It is the first matchup between Prince Albert and Medicine Hat this season. Puck drops at 8 p.m. Sask time.

Dan Near named as new WHL commissioner

For the first time in nearly a quarter century, the Western Hockey League will have a new commissioner as Dan Near has been named as the successor to Ron Robison.

Near will become the 10th commissioner in WHL history, as Robison has held the role since 2000. Near will begin work with the WHL on Jan. 1, 2024, and will assume full responsibilities of the WHL Commissioner’s office from Robison on Feb. 15, 2024.

In his opening remarks during a press conference in Calgary on Thursday, Near says he is excited to start as the WHL’s new commissioner.

“I couldn’t be more proud to be joining in the best development league in the world. When I think that Connor Bedard was playing in the Western League just six months ago, when I think about the fact that nearly 20% of this year’s NHL opening night rosters came from the Western Hockey League, or the fact that the 2024 NHL Central Scouting List has 63 of our players on that list, more than any other development league, it’s fair to say the product on the ice is in a pretty good state.”

Prior to being named as the next Commissioner of the WHL, Near has served as the Global Head of adidas Hockey since 2016 where he managed the global hockey business for the brand. He also previously worked at the head office of the NHL for 10 years specializing in marketing, retail development and consumer product licensing.

“We couldn’t be prouder of Dan on his appointment as the new commissioner of the Western Hockey League (WHL),” said NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly in a press release. “During his time at the NHL, he played an integral role in our marketing success, and he continued those efforts during his leadership position with adidas. In addition to Dan’s passion for the game, he’s inclusive, an effective communicator as well as a key strategist – all important qualities that should serve him and the WHL extremely well as the new commissioner.”

Current WHL Commissioner Ron Robison has been touring various buildings around the league during his final months prior to retirement.

Near says he also plans to visit several markets in the WHL once he steps into the commissioner’s office.

“I think the best way for me to understand the dynamics that exist, the opportunities for us is to understand the diversity in different dimensions of the different markets in which we operate. I plan to be out there meeting folks and not just the owners and the executives and the governors. I want to meet the fans. I want to meet the operators and understand all the things that make this (league) tick.”

Near adds that the current education program the WHL has in place is something he wants to continue to build upon.

“A bunch of things stand out, but unquestionably, the education program. It’s something I think the league has to be tremendously proud of and is unquestionably something that makes this league what it is. You can’t just have good hockey. There has to be other parts of it. And I know it’s something that everyone associated with the league is proud of, but it’s in particular something that really stands out to me.”

Mahon returns to PA for first time as visiting broadcaster


For two seasons Rob Mahon served as the play-by-play voice of the Prince Albert Raiders on 900 CKBI, but this past Sunday night marked the first time he called a game at the Art Hauser Centre as the visiting broadcaster.

In the offseason, Mahon accepted a position to become the director of broadcasting and media relations with the Brandon Wheat Kings. His broadcasts air on Q Country 91.5 in Brandon.

Mahon says it was extremely special to return to Prince Albert and call a game from the Morley Jaeger broadcast booth once again.

“It was incredible. It was great to be back. I made two years of unbelievable memories in this building that have shaped me as a broadcaster and a person. To be able to come back here, see some familiar faces, meet some people that I built really good relationships with, and sit at the wrong end of the booth for once, it was pretty special.”

In his new role with the Wheat Kings, Mahon says he has gotten to see a lot more behind the curtain of what goes into the day-to-day operations of a WHL team.

“I’ve been used to going through it as a news reporter/broadcaster my first six years in the business and now being only on the hockey side, you get to really see behind the curtain in ways that you never would otherwise. You get a whole different appreciation for what goes into the production of a game day, what goes into it, for example, a player is traded. There’s an awful lot behind the scenes that even as someone who’s very close to the game, you might not necessarily see.”

At the time of publishing, the standings in the Eastern Conference are very tight. Only six points separate the Moose Jaw Warriors, who sit third in the conference with 29 points and the Red Deer Rebels who hold the final playoff spot with 23 points.

Mahon says he has enjoyed seeing the parity in the league after the conference had one dominant team for his first two seasons broadcasting the WHL.

“Every game feels like it’s going to come right down to the wire because every point matters so much in the standings, every game has this extra intensity to it. My first two years in the league, it was pretty clear right from the word ‘go’ that Winnipeg was going to be top dog and everybody else was just in the race as far as the Eastern Conference was concerned. Edmonton obviously turned out amazing in my first year, but this is the first year that I’m genuinely hard pressed to think of who the best team in the Eastern Conference is.”

Although the Raiders fell in Sunday’s game to the Wheat Kings by a final score of 3-1, Mahon says he thinks the future in Prince Albert looks to be very bright.

“There’s a rising bit of skill with the Raiders that wasn’t there quite as much my first year. My first year, if that Raiders team was going to score goals, it was going to be hard work. You were going to have to go to the paint and bang away and offense was a little tricky to come by. This year, you’ve got guys who can pick corners. You’ve got guys who can snipe off the rush, run a cycle, make those fancy moves, get fans out of their seats, and show up on the highlight reel. A lot of that skill is young, which bodes really well for the future.”

Prior to his time in Prince Albert, Mahon had served as the play-by-play voice of the Estevan Bears in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL).

Pair of Wiens goals help Wheat Kings sink Raiders


For the second consecutive night, the Prince Albert Raiders fell on home ice. The Raiders suffered a 3-1 setback at the hands of the Brandon Wheat Kings.

Raider head coach Jeff Truitt says Prince Albert didn’t play with the determination needed for two points.

“We didn’t play hard enough. Our guys have to understand that winning comes at a price. It means, you know, tempo. It means competing hard and winning board battles and shutting teams down and doing all the little things. The game within the game says that it’s going to hurt sometimes. And our guys have to accept that and we’ve got to be able to do it, but we didn’t do it tonight. 

The visiting Wheat Kings would take a two goal lead after forty minutes.

Jayden Wiens would open the scoring with his seventh goal of the season at the 3:03 mark of the second period. Nolan Flamand and Charlie Elick provided the helpers on the play.

Wiens would double the lead for Brandon with his second goal of the game coming on the power play at the 16:36 mark. Flamand and Caleb Hadland assisted on the play. 

After a defensive zone turnover by Brandon, the Raiders would break into the score column in the third period.

Niall Crocker would bring the Raiders within one with his eighth goal of the season at the 6:50 mark. Hayden Pakkala and Sloan Stanick assisted on the play.

It wouldn’t take long for Brandon to respond as Dominik Petr would find twine just over a minute later for his ninth of the season to restore the two goal Wheat King advantage. Matteo Michels and Kayden Sahdra-Kang assisted on the play.

Ethan Eskit made 25 saves in the victory for Brandon. Chase Coward turned aside 28 shots for Prince Albert.

The game was Brandon’s fourth in the last five days, all of which were played on the road. Truitt says the Wheat Kings came out strong from puck drop, and he was disappointed Prince Albert didn’t match them.

“This is a team that’s played four in five with travel. They came out as a desperate club. They wanted to end off the road trip the right way. We were playing last night, but we’re here. You’ve got to put your body on the line sometimes to compete hard. It was disappointing that we didn’t execute that part of the game.“

The Raiders kick off a three-in-three road trip in Swift Current on Friday night. Pucks drop is at 7 p.m.

Raiders retire Hodgson’s number 16, fall to Warriors


After three weeks away from home, the Prince Albert Raiders returned to the Art Hauser Centre, but couldn’t secure a win, falling 6-3 to the Moose Jaw Warriors.

Raider head coach Jeff Truitt says the team didn’t go enough to get bodies in front of Warrior netminder Jackson Unger.

“I thought we were light, we didn’t pay a price in front of their net. Didn’t get many second opportunities because we were on the outside. You get stick checked and you don’t get second opportunities. You got to bully yourself in there. You’ve got to establish a presence in front of their net. I don’t think we did enough of that. Turnovers were a big factor. There’s no doubt. And then defensively, you’ve got to be able to be heavier.”

The visiting Warriors would jump on the Raiders early in the first period. Ethan Semeniuk would open the scoring just 1:32 into the contest with his 4th goal of the season. Kalem Parker picked up the lone assist

Lynden Lakovic would knock down a Raider pass and skate the length of the ice and convert on a shot for his 9th goal of the season at the 16:31 mark.. The goal was unassisted.

Martin Rysavy would add his own unassisted goal in the final minute of the first period for his 7th goal of the campaign to give Moose Jaw a 3-0 lead after 20 minutes of play.

Shots favored the Raiders 17-9 in the first period.

The Raiders would break into the score column at the 4:15 mark of the second period. Jacob Hoffrogge would strike for his third career WHL goal and first as a Prince Albert Raider. Brayden Dube and Sloan Stanick provided the helpers.

Cole Peardon would pull the Raiders within one with his fourth goal of the season putting a rebound past Warrior netminder Jackson Unger at the 4:53 mark of the third period. Hayden Pakkala and Terrell Goldsmith received assists on the play.

Atley Calvert’s 13th goal of the season restored the two goal advantage for the Warriors at the 8:45 mark of the third period. Semeniuk and Rysavy assisted on the play.

Kyzysztof Macias would cut the deficit back to one for Prince Albert with his 12th goal of the season at the 10:12 mark with an unassisted mark.

Martin Rysavy would counter for Moose Jaw at the 16:29 mark. Jagger Firkus had the lone assist.

Rysavy would add an empty netter to complete the hat trick

Jackson Unger made 52 saves for the Warriors in the victory. Max Hildebrand stopped 25 shots for Prince Albert.

Honoring a Franchise Icon

It was a momentous occasion at the Art Hauser Centre as the Raiders retired number 16 in honor of franchise great Dan Hodgson, who captained the Raiders to the Memorial Cup in 1985.

“He’s a tremendous person.” Truitt said about Hodgson. “He’s a tremendous leader. He talked a lot here tonight about other people. He didn’t bring it on himself. He thanked a lot of his coaching staff. He talked about friends and family, teammates in particular and that’s just what a true leader does.”

The Raiders return to action on Sunday evening when they take on the Brandon Wheat Kings. Puck drops at 6 p.m.

‘It’s special for me’: Raider GM Hunt on Hodgson number retirement


It’s been nearly 40 years since Curtis Hunt and Dan Hodgson were teammates on the Prince Albert Raiders during the 1984-1985 season.

Fast forward to 2023 and the duo will be standing on the carpet together when Dan Hodgson’s number 16 is retired by the Prince Albert Raiders on Saturday night.

In an interview, Hunt says Hodgson did a lot for the franchise when the Raiders first made the transition from the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL) to the Western Hockey League (WHL).

“I think without question, Dan Hodgson arguably was the best junior hockey player to come out of here. He didn’t play in the NHL as long as some other players, but he certainly had a heck of a career in Europe. But in terms of impact on a club, from the basement to the absolute penthouse, the world juniors, almost three points a game on average and what he did for the organization in terms of putting it on the map.”

Hunt also got the opportunity to play alongside Hodgson in the pro ranks, as the two played together on the AHL’s Fredericton Express during the 1987-88 season.

Hunt says Hodgson was always a great teammate, in both the junior and professional ranks.

“I got to play with Dan here and then for Vancouver’s farm team. I saw him in two phases, as a teenager. There wasn’t division in our room for an elite player. I remember that here in Prince Albert and then playing together at the next level. You become better friends now that you are both men and you are away from junior. He always greeted you with a warm smile and that it didn’t matter if I didn’t see Dan for a week or a decade. It goes back to junior hockey, what we don’t appreciate at the time, is how great a time in your life it really is.”

Number 16 will be the third number ever retired by the Prince Albert Raiders, joining Dave Manson’s number 4 and Mike Modano’s number 9.

Hunt, who currently serves as the general manager for the Raiders, played with all three players with retired numbers during his playing career in Prince Albert. Hunt was also in attendance for Manson’s number retirement back in February 2016.

“It’s special for me,” Hunt says. “One, the fact I got to play with Dan in junior and the fact we won together. The fact that even at our age, we can honour him. I’m pretty excited to be the general manager at this point. My own personal journey started here in Prince Albert. To come back and induct a teammate, just like with Dave Manson. To be on the carpet with the guys you played with and fought with against opponents. We went to war with them in terms of hockey. The blood, the sweat, the tears, those kinds of things. It’s pretty special.”

The Raiders have plenty of pre-game festivities planned for the evening, including the team wearing special jerseys featuring Hodgson’s number 16 during warmups.

Hunt encourages fans to show up early and to be in their seats prior to the pre-game ceremonies.

“I think people should come down a little early if they want to say hi to Dan in the Ches (Leach Lounge). He will also be in the Ches after the game. We’ve got a nice presentation and throughout the night, a lot of tributes from the ’85 cup championship team, but as well as friends, teammates and family all over the city. It should be a fun night.”

Puck drop between the Raiders and Moose Jaw Warriors is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Saturday night.

Mintos erase early deficit to top Moose Jaw


It was not the start the Prince Albert Mintos envisioned, but they were able to come out with the victory, downing the Moose Jaw AAA Warriors 7-4 at the Art Hauser Centre on Friday night.

Minto head coach Tim Leonard says the start wasn’t ideal, but the Mintos went to work.

“It was not the start we wanted, that’s for sure, but they got a couple breaks. Holty (Brady Holtvogt) had a couple there he probably would like back, but it wasn’t his fault. We just made the goalie change to change the game, and it did. I thought the second period was really good and the third period we took it over. There’s no quitting that dressing room, they work hard and they earned it again today. ”

THe first two goals would go to the Warriors, with Jonah Pinel and Jake Brentz scoring in quick succession.

The Mintos would respond as Taite Donkin cut the Moose Jaw in half about halfway through the first period at the 9:26 mark.

Pinel would respond less than a minute later to restore the two goal advantage for Moose Jaw at 3-1.

Following the third goal, the Mintos would make a goaltending change replacing Brady Holtvogt with Josh Henry.

Leonard says Henry did an exceptional job coming in relief.

“That’s a tough task for a kid, especially at 16, to go in a 3-1 game. But he went in and made some key saves for us, big ones at certain times in the game and hats off to him.” 

The lone goal of the second period would go the way for the Mintos as Kelan Simmonds would find twine for his third goal of the season at the 7:30 mark. Van Taylor and Will Whitter assisted on the play.

The Minto offense would explode in the third period, scoring five goals from Will Whitter, Carter Cole, Owen Nelson, Lincoln Rogers and an empty netter from Kale Margolis.

The highlight of the period was the first career U18 AAA goal for Lincoln Roger with 3:49 remaining.

Leonard was very proud of the effort the Mintos showed in the win.

“That’s our culture, that’s what we want to be is that work ethic. We want teams to know that if they’re going to come play us, they’re going to have to work hard. We had some bad bounces there, but we didn’t quit, we didn’t pout, we didn’t feel sorry for ourselves. We just got back to work and got some success out of it.”

The Mintos return to action on Saturday afternoon when they take on the Moose Jaw AAA Warriors. Puck drops at 1:30 p.m.

Bears split weekend set in Weyburn


The Prince Albert Northern Bears had a successful road trip to Weyburn last weekend, earning a split in the two-game series in a pair of one goal games.

Head coach Steve Young says he thought the Bears could have won both games after not playing since Oct. 29

“We hadn’t played in a while once again and I thought the girls came out with a lot of jump. I thought we had an opportunity to win Saturday night, but we put it back together again for Sunday and ended up winning Sunday.”

In the first game on Saturday, Prince Albert would fall 2-1.

The Bears would take an early lead thanks to captain Julia Cey in the first period.

The lead would hold until Julia Durr would tie the game for Weyburn at the 13:59 mark of the third period.

Kiah Shields would give Weyburn the lead with just under 11 minutes left in the third period.

Hailey Sibbald made 27 saves to earn the win for Weyburn while Annika Neufeldt made 36 stops for Prince Albert.

In Sunday’s game, the Bears would trail after 20 minutes as Julia Durr would score the lone goal of the first period for Weyburn with 6:20 to go in the opening frame.

Mikiya Anderson got Prince Albert on the board at the 15:38 mark of the second period with her first goal of the season. Julia Cey had the lone assist.

In the third period, Anderson would give the Bears the lead just ten seconds in. Cey had the lone assist.

Prince Albert would pick up a key insurance marker with 3:54 left as Ella Clarke picked up her third goal of the season. Anderson and Cey provided the helpers.

Nikita Krayetski had 29 saves to earn her first career U18 AAA win.

Young says both Krayetski and Neufeldt played excellent for the Bears during the weekend.

“I thought they were both very focused in their games. I thought the pucks that came to them, they controlled rebounds, they controlled the pucks, which in turn controls the play. I thought they were both ready to play. We need that from our goaltending and all the way out, defensive forwards as well.”

Prince Albert returns to action on Saturday night when they travel to take on the Swift Current Wildcats. Puck drops at 7:30 p.m.

Raiders to retire Hodgson’s number 16 Saturday


It will be a night for the ages at the Art Hauser Centre on Saturday when the Prince Albert Raiders retire Dan Hodgson’s number 16.

Hodgson played three seasons for the Raiders and served as the captain of the Memorial Cup championship team during the 1984-85 season. Including statistics from playoffs and the Memorial Cup, Hodgson appeared in 225 games as a Raider potting 204 goals and 357 assists.

Terry Simpson was the head coach of the Prince Albert Raiders from 1972-1986. When asked about Hodgson, Simpson says Hodgson possessed an incredible hockey IQ which made him an elite player in the WHL.

“What first comes to mind is his offensive ability. He played for three years and scored a lot of points. What stands out to me is that he was a very intelligent player and I hardly ever saw him make a bad pass in the three years he was here.”

After his time with the Raiders, Hodgson moved onto a long professional hockey career that included time in the NHL with the Toronto Maple Leafs and Vancouver Canucks as well as many years overseas in Germany and Switzerland.

Hodgson says he is excited to come back to Prince Albert and reconnect with several former teammates, coaches and friends.

“I look forward to it. I’m excited about that because it takes an event like this or reunion or something, for everyone to get together again. Thinking about this and thinking about Prince Albert, it’s really jogging me down memory lane of my three years spent there, my great three years spent there.”

Looking back at his time with the Raiders, Hodgson says he learned some valuable lessons that he still applies to his life today. He credits Terry Simpson, who spent many seasons behind the bench for Prince Albert, as a major influence.

“Those are big years in a young man’s life. A big, huge part of that was Terry Simpson and being a part of the Raider organization. Terry had a big influence on me with the structure, with the discipline involved and how to conduct yourself on and off the ice. How to be a good person and how to bring everything you can each and every day. That’s on and off the ice. Terry had a super big impact on me, I can’t say that enough.”

“There was no gray area, it was very black and white which I really liked because I’m like that as a person anyway and I gravitated towards that because it all made sense to me and the proof is in the pudding, these types of character traits and behaviors make for good people, make for championship teams and I’m forever grateful for those years and what Simpso (Terry Simpson) and the Raiders left on me.”

Simpson, who was inducted into the Prince Albert Sports Hall of Fame in 2004, says Prince Albert provides a great community for junior hockey because of the support and interest of the fanbase.

“It’s a compliment for sure. That’s your job as a coach to have young men here that come into the program. You have a responsibility to develop them as hockey players and as people. I think in PA it was always so good because there’s such a (major) fan interest in the team. It really holds the players more accountable and around the community as well and that’s part of them growing up.”

Despite tasting Memorial Cup glory at the end of his Raider career, it wasn’t all smooth sailing for Hodgson and the Raiders in the 1980s. The Raiders posted a record of 16-55-1 in their first season in the WHL in the 1982-83 season after making the jump from the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL).

“He grew with the team.” Simpson said about Hodgson. “We were a fledging team in the Western League. We weren’t very good to start with, that’s one of the surprising things is he scored 56 goals. He grew as the team grew, the next year we were better. He grew into a leadership role over those three years.”

Hodgson’s number 16 will be third number ever retired by the Prince Albert Raiders, joining Dave Manson’s number 4 and Mike Modano’s number 9.

Hodgson says he is humbled that his numbers will be in the rafters alongside two other franchise greats.

“I’ll be quite honored for sure. I played with Manso (Dave Manson) in Prince Albert, and he was a big part of our championship team. Great guy, great teammate. Mike Modano, I never had the privilege to play with Mike. He came after, but his career and everything that he did in PA and his career in the NHL speaks for itself.”

The last Raider to ever wear the number 16 in a regular season game was Cole Peardon who wore it last season before changing to his current number 17.