March Year in Review

Herald file photo. Prince Albert’s 2021 Citizen of the Year Marie Mathers speaks during the Citizen of the Year Banquet on March 25, 2023.

TeleMiracle gets a big boost from former Prince Albert resident Pauline Pawlyshun during their annual fundraiser. Pawlyshun laves a gift of $800,000 to TeleMiracle after passing away in 2022 at the age of 102. The gift helps TeleMiracle raise more than $5.5 million. Pawlyshun and her husband, Mike, operated the old Empire Grocery in Prince Albert for 39 years. The couple also farmed in Spruce Home and spent their summers at their cabin on Wakaw Lake.

The Saskatchewan Rivers Public School Division announces former Superintendent Neil Finch will take over as education director when Robert Bratvold officially retires. The school division announces the decision on March 10, with Finch scheduled to begin his new role on Aug. 1.

Amy Lamb of Willowgrove Pharmacy, Colin Fraser of OK Tire and Auto Services, and Colette McDermott of Colette Portamedic Services are announced as nominees for the Business Leader of the Year Award during the Prince Albert Chamber of Commerce Legacy Brunch on March 13. Willowgrove Pharmacy is also nominated for Business of the Year along with Phantom Light Distillery, and River Park Funeral Home and Prince Albert Memorial Gardens.

Saskatchewan Rivers School Division welcomes its first electric school bus as part of an EV Bus Pilot Project. The bus officially arrives on March 14 and receives a few minor modifications so it can legally run on Saskatchewan roads. “There is a lot of talk about electric vehicles,” Sask. Rivers transportation manager Ryan Bruce says. “They are coming. They are getting more and more common, and the day is going to come when there is going to be some talk about why don’t we have electric school buses.”

Longtime Prince Albert volunteer Marie Mathers is recognized as Prince Albert’s 2021 Citizen of the Year during a ceremony at the Prince Albert Legion Hall on March 25. The ceremony marks the return of the Citizen of the Year banquet, which hasn’t been held since 2019 due to COVID concerns and public health orders.  Mathers said it was an emotional moment. “I had a bit of a cry there,” she says. “It’s just too much for me.”


Sturgeon Lake’s Meadow Kingfisher debuts as a voice actor on Treehouse’s pre-school cartoon series ‘Build Brothers Dream Factory’. The show premieres in Canada on March 26. The 12-year-old Kingfisher plays Mel, a young powwow dancer who loves to teach her friends about her culture.

Prince Albert Police Service Deputy Chief Farica Prince and professional dance partner Modeste McKenzie take top spot at the third annual Swinging with the Stars. The event also raises $160,000 for Hope’s Home in Prince Albert. Prince and McKenzie take first prize with a Red River jig. “If anybody thinks that jigging is easy, they are wrong,” Prince says. “They are super wrong.”

Knotty Pine Bistro defends their Big Brothers Big Sisters Poutine Week Championship after selling 229 poutines during the 10-day competition.  They also defended their Poutine Choice Award selection after being named the top poutine by fans two years in a row. “I couldn’t have done it without everyone’s support,” Knotty Pine owner Barb Lychak says. “It’s a phenomenal team effort (from) awesome staff.”

Lake Country Co-op announces plans to develop a new Ready to Move Home (RTM) and custom build location roughly 10 minutes north of Prince Albert. The Co-op plans to use the former Lake Boyz RV site on Hwy 2. The new location will cover six acres of land, and include a 5,000 sq foot show room.

RM of Prince Albert Reeve Eric Schmalz announces his intention to seek the Saskatchewan Party nomination in Saskatchewan Rivers, the riding held by former Sask. Party MLA Nadine Wilson.

Queen Mary School goes into lockdown on March 30 following reports of a weapons complaint in the area. Officers respond to the scene at 8:48 a.m. following calls that a person with a weapon was seen in the area. Police lift the lockdown shortly after 9 a.m. when they do not find a suspect matching the description.

More than 300 youth from 16 northern Saskatchewan cities arrive in Prince Albert for a two-day youth conference at Plaza 88. “Out Legacy Youth Gathering” allows youth to attend interactive workshops on education, justice, mental health, and addictions and gang awareness, while also hearing from guest speakers. “We always say the youth are our future resource,” PAGC Grand Chief Brian Hardlotte says. “(They are) future leaders and the workforce for the betterment of their communities and urban centres.”


Herald file photo.
Former Prince Albert Raiders 20-year-old captain Evan Herman salutes the crowd following his final home game with the Raiders on March 24, 2023.

Prince Albert’s Krystle Shewchuk is named Team Saskatchewan’s flag bearer for the 2023 Canada Games Closing Ceremonies in Prince Edward Iseland. Shewchuk earns the honour after winning bronze in the 5 km Para-Nordic Skit Ski on March 4. Shewchuk says she was shocked by the news. “I wasn’t expecting it, but it’s pretty awesome” she says. “I had no idea.” The 2023 games mark the fourth time Shewchuk has represented Saskatchewan. She also competed at the 2019 Winter Games, and the 2017 and 2022 Summer Games.

The Prince Albert Mintos are swept out of the SMAAAHL playoffs by the Regina Pat Canadians. Despite the loss, head coach Tim Leonard says there were plenty of positives this season. “To push Regina to what we did there, with the veteran team they have, I’m proud of the kids. I think they did a tremendous job this year.”

The Prince Albert Northern Bears fall 4-0 to the Notre Dame Hounds, ending their hopes of a SMFAAAHL title. The Hounds win the best-of-three series two games to one, but head coach Steve Young says the experience will prove invaluable when the club hosts the Esso Cup in April. “I think the experience was great for the girls,” Young says. “You always want to get in the playoffs and win a game in the playoffs.”

Carlton Comprehensive Public High School student Sahas Mittal celebrates winning two gold medals at the Saskatchewan Winter Games in Regina. Mittal, a Grade 11 student at Carlton, wins gold medals in the Men’s Super Final Rifle and Individual Air Rifle Open events. “With only two months of practice, going up against some athletes that had at least several years of practice, I was pretty nervous,” Mittal says. “Winning my first medal on the first day was pretty rewarding. Mittal’s two gold medals are one of six the Lakeland District wins at the games. The others come from weightlifter Kai McDonald, Ski Cross competitor Aubrie Annand, wrestler Noah Remy, and the Lakeland men’s curling team.

Prince Albert plays host to the best high school basketball teams in the province as Hoopla arrives in the Gateway to the North. St. Mary High School Carlton Comprehensive Public High School, and the Saskatchewan Polytechnic campus all host games. The Crusaders’ Sr. Girls volleyball team closes out Hoopla with a 72-48 victory over Holy Cross in the Sr. Girls Consolation Final. The Sr. Boys, meanwhile, fall just short of a medal, losing 83-76 to Riffel Catholic High School of Regina in the 5A Boys Bronze Medal Game.

The Prince Albert Raiders end their season on a high note with a 5-3 win over the Prince Albert Raiders, but come up short in their push for a playoff spot. The Raiders end the season with 59 points, 10 back of the Medicine Hat Tigers, who claim the eighth and final playoff spot. The win over Regina marks the final WHL game for Raider 20-year-olds Landon Kosior, Keaton Sorenson, and Evan Herman. “I’m proud of them,” Raiders coach Jeff Truitt says. “They deserve the accolades. They deserve the fans.”

Carlton Crusaders basketball player Maya Soles commits to the University of Manitoba Bisons for the upcoming Canadian university basketball season. Soles says she’s looking forward to competing at the next level. “I’m just excited about the pace of the game and how much faster it can be, and obviously learning and playing with people who are better than me and getting experience,” she says.